Today I was very much looking forward to a talk I’d been invited to at Friedrichstadt Palast.
I like everything about the Palast. The building is stunning and features the biggest theatre stage in Europe. It has hosted some of the biggest names in show business – Marlene Dietrich, Shirley Bassey, Joe Cocker, Phil Collins and Liza Minnelli to name but a few, and is visited by over 500,000 guests every year.
Its current grand show, The WYLD, is the world’s most elaborate show outside Las Vegas and features (rightly so) on The New York Times “Top 10 Must-See” places in Berlin. But it’s not all jazz hands and glitzy costumes – the Palast has principles.
Ambassadors of countries where people are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation are no longer invited to premieres. The Palast is also involved with The Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism, the Alliance Against Homophobia, and the Berlin Against Nazis network.
Oh, and the General Director, Berndt Schmidt, is a complete and utter hottie.
The topic for tonight’s talk was to be – Female decision-makers in dance and theatre: where are all the women? Seemingly, in Germany, less than a quarter of directorial positions in German theatres are held by women and less than one in seven of all German ballet companies are led by women. So what’s going on?
I had recently had a similar discussion with a group of students. They (mainly the women) told me that it just wasn’t possible to be a mother and a manager. You could be a mother and work, but a manager? No siree. Or madamee, I guess.
Frankly, I didn’t buy it. But then, I’m not a mother or a manager so what do I know? I was interested to hear what an international panel of experts had to say on the subject.
I showed up at around 17.45, fifteen minutes early (as usual). Oddly, the main doors were locked but there was a sign saying “Entry through the ticket office”. Those doors were locked too. Interesting…
I was about to go over to the ticket desk to ask what was happening, when I glanced down at the invitation in my hand.
We warmly invite you to our 2nd Palast-Talk being held on Tuesday, 2 June 2016.
2 June, 2016… hold on a second, isn’t it still May?
Oh no! I wasn’t only fifteen minutes early; I was TWO DAYS and fifteen minutes early! I must have looked at the invitation and mainly taken notice of the day, not the date. I wouldn’t mind but Germans are always getting Tuesday and Thursday mixed up so I really should have known better.
It’s hard to walk out of the ticket office of a theatre you’ve just tried to break into with your head held high but I think I pulled it off. Unfortunately, I have a class at the same time on Thursday so I won’t be able to go to the talk now.
At least I can feel secure in the knowledge that I got the year right. Right?