On 11 December 1964, the Kasemattentheater was founded under its original name “Centre Grand-Ducal d’Art Dramatique” a.s.b.l.. In Luxembourg of the sixties, where theatre had not spread that far yet, the founder Tun Deutsch had the vision of an avant-garde theatre that would not just attract the intellectual bourgeoisie but also a new kind of audience in a new venue. With the help of this organisation, the actor Tun Deutsch tried to promote acting as a career in Luxembourg to interest the youth of Luxembourg in theatre. In 1965 the idea formed to organise a theatre festival in summer within the fortress walls of the city of Luxembourg, called “Kasematten” or casemates. The first summer festival began in July 1965 in the Bock-casemates with La leçon and La jeune fille à marier. Soon the centre for dramatic arts in the Grand Duchy was named after the unusual site where its productions would take place: Kasemattentheater. In summer in the Bock-casemates, texts by Ionesco, Beckett, Brecht or Mrozek could be heard. Authors such as Sartre, Ionesco, Obaldia, Camus, Saunders, Mrozek, Walser, Kafka, Fo, Schiller, Ibsen, Brecht, Fassbinder, Cechov, Kreisler, Printer – to name a few – were part of the varied programme of the following years. In addition to that its literary cabaret programme also closed a gap in Luxembourg’s cultural life. From the attempt to organise a Tucholsky-evening in 1972 arose an institution that would enthral friends of literature and cabaret for years.
In October 1977, Tun Deutsch succumbed to heart failure at the age of 45. But the Kasemattentheater keeps on going after its founder has left it forever. Many of Luxembourg’s creators of theatre that he has supported on their journey (Frank Hoffmann, André Jung, Germain Wagner, Josiane Pfeiffer and more) now have substantial national and international careers and his creative spirit continues to live in the Luxembourgish theatre productions that saw the beginning of a new era thanks to Tun Deutsch. The early success of the Kasemattentheater set the theatre scene in motion, so that the people responsible for the ensemble continued Tun’s legacy without hesitation. After having played on different provisional stages for years, the Kasemattentheater could move into a permanent location in Luxembourg-Bonnevoie thanks to the support of the municipal authorities of the city of Luxembourg.
Since the season of 2007/2008 the Kasemattentheater has developed new dynamic structures under the artistic direction of Germain Wagner. The Kasemattentheater now focuses on modern productions and readings of literary texts more than ever, as well as national and international coproductions, exactly in the spirit of Tun Deutsch. For example, the season of 2009/2010 was in the theme of “Revolutions, Upheavals and Changes” – political and societal but also personal and private ones. The Kasemattentheater consciously tries to give young artists a creative free space. The season 2010/2011 was in the theme of “Identities” with productions by young directors such as Carole Lorang from Luxembourg or the young talent Moritz Schönecker from Germany.