After the galapremiere to the stucco "der zerbrochene krug" (the broken jug) in july the world of the faust-festival seems to be still in order. Mayor wolfgang beiergroblein finds nothing but praise at this point ("our festivals are simply great") – and tourism boss kerstin low also joins in the hymn of praise. But barely three months later, the tables have turned completely. A new concept is presented, the name is changed to rosenberg festival – and the contract with the director daniel leistner, who helped to bring the faust festival to life 20 years ago, is not extended.
Leistner is accused of not being open to new ideas. While the current director sees the future of the faust festival as a folk theater, the city of kronach is aiming for a more professional direction. In the end, only two city councillors see the future of the faust festival in the hands of leistner. The overwhelming majority is against it, so the curtain falls on leistner at the faust festival.
There is rumbling behind the scenes
That it has been rumbling behind the scenes for a long time is not really a secret. Above all, the relationship between daniel leistner and tourism director kerstin low is said to have been more than strained – the two have too different views of each other. When, in march 2013, the city council decides on a new direction with the involvement of an advisory board of trustees due to declining attendance figures of 16,000 to 10,000 in the meantime, peace seems to return – but only after a few days. Although the number of visitors has increased somewhat – to 12,800 in some cases – there are still discussions behind the scenes about the faust festival. With the engagement of musical star uli scherbel as the new mephisto for the 2015 season, a major coup succeeds. And indeed more visitors want to see faust again.
Nevertheless, those responsible are not satisfied with the attendance of more than 12,000 visitors. Later it will be clear that the attendance figures are not the main reason for the separation from leistner. Rather, the ideas about the future of the festival are said to be far apart. And so it finally comes to the separation, which had already become apparent beforehand. If in all the years a balance with leistner over the respective season was no problem, in 2015 the city pushes a bar with the note that it wants to be present at a press interview. When this is canceled, speculations already start, which end with a city council meeting on the 28th. September will be over.
No more intendancy
The separation from leistner marks the beginning of a new direction that will no longer include an intendancy. Rather, there is now a commercial and an artistic leadership. While kerstin low is responsible for the commercial side of tourism, the artistic part is taken over by heidemarie wellmann, who has been on stage alongside daniel leistner for many years and has recently also been directing.
The city declares that it will make adjustments one step at a time and not throw everything completely out of kilter. A serious change is nevertheless made with regard to the name of the play. Thus the faust festival is virtually buried and replaced by the rosenberg festival. This decision is not without criticism. While some fear that they will have to start from scratch in terms of marketing, others see a chance for a complete relaunch, also in terms of branding.
As far as the conception is concerned, the previous family performances are to be extended. Accordingly, with the play "die kleine hexe" (the little witch) even a children's play planned. Alongside durrenmatt's "visit to the old lady is to be seen as a classic "of unruly taming to be played by shakespeare. While a guest director is to be engaged for the children's play, heidemarie wellmann is to direct the last two plays. The city of kronach wants to maintain the budget of around 300,000 euros as far as possible, but many observers consider this a sporting goal.
Kerstin low, however, would like to see kronach on the list of german festival venues and better networked in the freilicht scene. And daniel leistner? He continues to be successful with the shakespeare plays in ludwigsstadt.