These two costumes come from the theatre productions of Das Los des Ossian Balvesen and Much Ado About Nothing that premiered at the Schauspielhaus Bochum in 1952 and 1957, respectively. “Great, realistic theatre” and “A celebration of Shakespeare in Bochum” were the glowing reviews that met these works by Georg Kaiser and William Shakespeare. The theatre director in Bochum was Hans Schalla from 1949 onwards. Staging dramas by Georg Kaiser was unusual for the early 1950s. Kaiser had not been performed on German stages since National Socialist students banned his works in the book burnings of May 10th, 1933. Schalla also put contemporary international dramatists such as Arthur Miller and Jean-Paul Sartre on the programme. With Shakespeare, he sought out rarely-performed works or else reinterpreted familiar ones. Schalla reinvigorated the repertoire. This caused quite a stir.
The significance of theatre to post-war society can hardly be grasped today. The people were faced with existential hardships, many theatre buildings lay in ruins. However, as early as 1945, municipal theatres across the state were once again providing entertainment at affordable prices. Ensembles produced light comedies and dramas with happy endings. It was of little importance that the improvised venues lacked heating or elaborate sets. The modest little jacket is a remnant of this early phase of North Rhine-Westphalian theatre life.