On 25th April 2009, Berlin celebrated an extravagant theatre premiere. In keeping with the motto “Die Nacht ist nicht allein zum Schlafen da, die Nacht ist da, dass was gescheh!“ (“Night-time isn’t just for sleeping, night-time is for things to happen!”), 50 large and small theatres all the way from Prenzlauer Berg and Karlshorst to Charlottenburg to Lichtenberg presented roughly 200 productions on one single night. For a total of four years in a row (until 2012), audiences were invited to piece together their own once-in-a-lifetime evening of theatre.
Roughly 20,000 visitors joined in the fun each year, and everyone got their money’s worth, whether they were seasoned veterans, theatre newcomers, Berliners or out-of-towners. All genres were represented, including operas, operettas, concerts, musicals, chansons, “Schlager,” cabaret, literary readings, varietés, ballets, modern dance, dance improvisation, auteur theatre, popular theatre, plays for children and teenagers, puppet theatre and object theatre. The venues offered a number of exclusive programmes, unique short formats and many others extras, including premiere previews, open rehearsals, guided tours and discussions with actors and directors. Bus shuttles operating on fixed routes made it easy for participants to get from one theatre to the next through the nocturnal bustle of Berlin. At times, the rush of participants in busses and theatres was so great that high art of improvisation was needed off-stage as well.