Two Dresden institutions, the »Staatsoperette« (operetta theatre) and Theater Junge Generation (TJG, young generation theatre), have a new venue on the site of the former »Kraftwerk Mitte« power station in western downtown. The aim behind the dual facility is the efﬁcient use of resources by both theatres. With a multi-generational theatre and other cultural facilities such as a music academy and a conservatory, not to mention co-working spaces on the site, a vibrant, heterogeneous cultural quarter has emerged.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the west of the Zwinger and the Royal Palace, the Kraftwerk Mitte power station on Wettiner Platz was a monumental industrial complex for over 100 years. In 1994 energy generation came to an end, and in 2006 the impressive boiler house of the industrial ruin was demolished. In 2012, with a wafer-thin majority, Dresden City Council passed a resolution to develop the site, including the remaining heritage structures, into a new venue for the two established institutions the Staatsoperette and Theater Junge Generation (TJG). In the architectural competition, the winning design was submitted by the Hamburg firm PFP Planungs GmbH.
An alleyway on the site – on which there are also other cultural facilities – provides access to the listed power house dating from 1890. The structure serves as the foyer for all four stages in the new theatre complex. From outside the change is clearly visible: The newbuild is docked onto the power house and enveloped by Corten steel, perforated in places, that is reminiscent of the previous industrial use. The two towers of the large stages are clad in clinker, while the third tower with the rehearsal rooms boasts a glass façade.
The foyer in the power house stages the striking relics of its former use. There is a stand-alone table-like second level for matinees and receptions in the space. On the sides of the power house there are the two small TJG stages, the puppet stage and the studio stage (Black Box), each with seating for 125. The two large stages for the Theater Junge Generation (350 seats) and the Staatsoperette (700 seats) and their extensive back stage areas are located in the new structure.
The management and administrative department of the two theatres are housed in a neighbouring town house. The workshops, in turn, with a painting room, metalworking shop, carpenter’s workshop and assembly, were relocated to a new building in the Cotta district of Dresden.