Klaus Störtebeker is “God’s Friend”

In the year 1393 Denmark was at war with the north German state of “Mecklenburg”. Mecklenburg’s King had been captured and both countries were fighting for control of Sweden. Stockholm was under siege by the Danes, and Mecklenburg was more than happy to accept help from anyone willing to join them.

This part of Scandinavian history provides the backdrop to this years play at the Störtebeker Festspiele on the Island of Rügen.

The story picks up from where it left off last year, except that several figures have been removed or replaced due to their corrupt involvement in the building of the church in Wismar which remains on the right-hand side of the stage.

Goedeke Michels (Andreas Euler) and Klaus Störtebeker (Bastian Semm) arrive as the Danes are attacking Stockholm

Goedeke Michels (Andreas Euler) and Klaus Störtebeker (Bastian Semm) arrive as the Danes are attacking Stockholm

The left-hand side represents Stockholm, with the opening scene seeing one of many attacks by Queen Margrethe of Denmark against the garrison. She may not be successful, but it gives the audience a taste of the pyrotechnics and stunts to come! [Read more…]

Störtebeker Festspiele 2013 – A new cycle with a new face

The Störtebeker Festspiele start their 2013 season this Saturday, and with the main figure Klaus Störtebeker losing his head at the end of last year’s production, this year sees a new actor – Bastian Semm – take over the role.

Taking on such a major role is surely not an easy task considering that it has only been played by two other actors in the past 20 years that the Festspiele have been going for, especially when one of them (Norbert Braun) is on the stage beside you playing Klaus Störtebeker’s father.  But Bastian is determined to make his mark and play his Klaus Störtebeker whilst keeping the elements that makes the character what it is.

Bastian Semm as Klaus Störtebeker

Bastian Semm as Klaus Störtebeker

But not just Klaus Störtebeker is being played by someone new, his friend Goedeke Michels also has a new appearance in the shape of Andreas Euler, again a role that the same actor had played for the past 10 years. [Read more…]

Störtebeker Festspiele 2012 – Off with his head!

Last year I visited the Störtebeker Festspiele – the open-air theatre in Ralswiek on the island of Rügen – for the first time, encountering the end of a three-part story.

Since then it has been an open secret among Störtebeker fans that this year the play will complete a “cycle” of stories and see the main figure beheaded for pirate activities, although anyone not in on the “secret” may have guessed given that the title of the play this year is “Störtebekers Tod” (Störtebeker’s Death).

The stage at sunset

The stage in Ralswiek at sunset

In fact, it is his death in Hamburg that the real Klaus Störtebeker is probably most well-known for.  It is said that he asked for the lives of his men to be spared.  The Mayor of Hamburg promised him not to execute the men who he was able to walk past after his beheading, and according to legend he made it past either 7 or 11 of them.

Klaus Störtebeker (Sascha Gluth)

Klaus Störtebeker (Sascha Gluth)

But before the Festspiele get to that part of the story, they start off just after the end of the last story where Störtebeker had discovered the gold of the Knights Templar.  The gold has now been hidden and in part used to buy land.  The land is known as “Freies Friesland” (Free Frisia).  But the freedom does not last long [Read more…]

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