Chamaleon Variete Theater
Rosenthaler Strasse 40-41,
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Chamaleon Variete Theater (Official)
Architects: Fredrich Zwiebel
Previous Names: Imperial-Tonfilm-Theater, Fortuna Kino, Imperial Theater Weininger, Imperial Kino
Located in the historic (and now renovated) Hackeschen Hoffen (A collection of buildings and very narrow alleys, which became a Jewish ghetto in the 1930’s). This particular building was originally built in 1906 as a banquet hall of a restaurant.
It was converted into the Imperial-Tonfilm-Theater in 1932 by architect Fredrich Zwiebel and seating was provided for 590 on a single floor. The building is down a very narrow alley and into a small courtyard, the actual auditorium is up-stairs on the first floor of the building.
It was re-named Fortuna Kino in 1935 and from 1937-1941 became the Imperial Theater Wieninger. The building, as did the whole area, survived the war-time bombing. It operated as the Imperial Lichtspiel Kino until closure came in 1961. The buildings and area by then were very run-down and basically a slum. Located in East Berlin, nothing was done to renovate them, and they just sat empty and decaying.
After the re-unification of Berlin, the area and the buildings in the Hackeschen Hoff were restored. It is now a ‘hip’ place to be and the new use for this building has become the very well patronised Chamaleon Variete Theater. It’s programme harks back to the ‘good old days’ of Berlin cabaret shows of the 1920’s, but with a modern approach.
In around 2003, the Hackesche Hofe Filmtheater opened on the fourth floor of the building, above the Chamaleon Variete Theater. They share the same entrance. The Hackesche Hofe Filmtheater has its own page on Cinema Treasures.
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