Promising Outlook for the English Theatre

Promising Outlook for the English Theatre

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Promising Outlook for the English Theatre

City of Frankfurt, English Theatre, Commerzbank and CapitaLand agree / English Theatre shall return to its current location after building refurbishment

Facade of the English Theatre
Facade of the English Theatre © The English Theatre

"The City of Frankfurt has successfully done its homework. We have succeeded in giving the English Theatre a long-term perspective at its current location, the Gallileo," said Lord Mayor Mike Josef and Head of the Department of Culture Ina Hartwig on 10 January. The City of Frankfurt, the English Theatre (ETF), Commerzbank and CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust and CapitaLand Investment (CapitaLand) have reached an amicable solution. "We would like to thank everyone involved for the serious and fair discussions," said Josef and Hartwig. "In particular, we would like to thank the management board of Commerzbank."

Under the terms of the agreement, the ETF will first vacate its venue in the Gallileo high-rise building on the Gallusanlage by the end of January 2024 due to the upcoming renovation work, and will move to other venues in Frankfurt until the end of 2025. It will then return to the Gallileo. This was jointly announced by the City of Frankfurt, Commerzbank and CapitaLand. A corresponding "Memorandum of Understanding" has already been signed with the owner CapitaLand, according to the Head of the Department of Culture.

Funding for the theatre during this transitional period has been secured. Commerzbank, which had sublet the theater space in the Gallileo space to the ETF, will provide the theatre with 1.75 million euros for this purpose. The agreement also settles the action of eviction, which hab been brought before the Frankfurt Regional Court by Commerzbank.

"Irrespective of this, Commerzbank will continue its already great support for Frankfurt's culture," said Hartwig. A corresponding agreement has been reached to support the cultural sector with 150,000 euros per year for the next ten years.

Parallel, another agreement was reached between the City of Frankfurt and the owner of the Gallileo, the real estate company CapitaLand. Under the terms of the agreement, the City of Frankfurt will lease the theatre space in the basement of the tower for the English Theatre. The contracts, which will run until at least the end of 2030, are currently being negotiated and are expected to be signed in the coming weeks.

The City of Frankfurt has thus taken direct responsibility for the venue in order to preserve the English Theatre. Until now, the theater was a subtenant of Commerzbank, which had recently only rented the building itself and will hand it over to the real estate company at the end of January.

"The fact that it is possible to keep the English Theater at this venue is an important success for Frankfurt's culture", said Lord Mayor Josef. "The ETF is not only popular with us Frankfurters, it also contributes to Frankfurt's international appeal. The importance of the ETF was a the centre of all discussions."

"After successful negotiations, we have found a common path for the English Theatre so that this important cultural institution can be preserved," said Hartwig. "This solution is a win-win situation for all parties and gives the theatre, its audiences and its staff good prospects for the future. I am very pleased and relieved that a solution has been found for the theatre. With its high-quality productions and popular children's and youth programmes, the ETF is of central importance to the cultural and educational landscape of our city. It is impossible to imagine our cultural map without the largest English-speaking theatre in continental Europe".

"The English Theatre is an important pillar of Frankfurt's cultural scene," said Jörg Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz, Member of the Board of Managing Directors of Commerzbank. "We are therefore delighted that a way has been found to give the theatre a perspective."

"We are pleased that a solution has been found that meets the needs of all stakeholders," added Andrew Lim, Group Chief Operating Officer of CapitaLand Investment. "The revival of the Gallileo is an important contribution to Frankfurt's status as a major financial services centre and we are delighted that an important cultural institution such as the ETF will continue to be an integral part of this culturally rich and diverse city."

"The agreements mark the end of a difficult period of uncertainty for the ETF," said Rainer Riess of the ETF Board. "We would like to thank the Lord Mayor and the Head of the Department of Culture, as well as Commerzbank, for their support in ensuring a sustainable future for the English Theatre in its established home." Artistic Director Daniel Nicolai adds: "We are incredibly grateful for the tremendous support of Frankfurt‘s society and local politicians of all parties which has carried us through this challenging time. And, of course, I must express my deepest gratitude to the ETF staff for the unwavering courage and commitment they have shown day after day, evening after evening, against all odds. Without them, the ETF would no longer exist today ".

For the duration of the renovation of the Gallileo, which is expected to take a year and a half, the ETF will move to other venues such as the former „Fritz-Rémond-Theater“ in the Zoogesellschaftshaus. A cooperation with the „Künstler*innenhaus Mousonturm“, which is planning a theatre workshop for young audiences over the next two years, is in preparation. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.