German company of shadow theatre located in Munich, active from 1907 to 1912. Founded by the literary figure Alexander von Bernus (1880-1965), the Schwabinger Schattenspiele (Shadow Theatre of Schwabing) made its appearance for the first time in Munich in 1907.

Alexander von Bernus understood his project as a radical, aesthetic experiment, which broke away from the naturalistic conventions practised in the theatre at that time, transforming the aesthetics of Art Nouveau into a theatre of lyrical expression. In his shadow theatre, he sought to make visible the “entmaterialisierte Welt der wachen Träume” (the dematerialized world of waking dreams) as an expression of the Neo-Romantic art of poetry. In addition to performances of the Romantic repertoire of the theatre of shadows were stagings of new works of poetry that were close to the “magic language” of the Symbolist poet Stefan George.

The Schwabinger Schattenspiele closed their doors in 1912 with the beginning of the Expressionist era.

(See Germany.)


  • Kluncker, Karlhans. “Die Schwabinger Schattenspiele”. Literatur und Theater im Wilhelminischen Zeitalter [Literature and Theatre in the Wilhelmine Era]. Eds. Hans Peter Bayerdörfer, Karl Otto Conrady, and Helmut Schanze. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1978.