Hubert von Goisern
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LÉHAR FILMTHEATER

Miscellaneous: 2004

Rescue campaign for the Lehartheater

OÖN 20th April 2004 | Text: Edmund Brandner | Photo: Josef H. Handlechner
HvG, Heide and Mounir

Hubert von Goisern, Hannes Heide and Mohamed Mounir in front of the Lehartheater in 2003

Bad Ischl. Representatives of the Bad Ischl cultural scene and a well-known artist are raising the alarm: if something isn't done soon, the Lehártheater will deteriorate completely. The 177 year old building is already in a dismal state. The rotten flies are a graveyard for doves, seeping water makes the plaster on the ceiling flake off, the heating barely works, and the equipment is strongly in need of renovation.

But the money is missing for the renovation work. The four proprietors - the two chemists Georg and Heimo Hrovat, town cultural councillor Hannes Heide and the tax adviser Franz Krippel - acquired the building from the credit institute (CA) in 2002. "Out of love," Georg Hrovat explained to the OÖN. "We did not want the house to fall into the hands of bargain hunters, but instead retain its function."

The credit interests can be paid with the current income, says Hrovat. The renovation of the historically protected house is inconceivable, however, without public support.

5.5 million Euros needed

According to the owners' data, the investment needs about 5.5 million Euros. With that, among other things, the originally existing third tier under the roof could be repaired and the space available could be extended from 270 seats to 450.

The province has already promised fifty per cent support, and the monument office and the township of Bad Ischl would also contribute a part. Nevertheless, around 1.2 million Euros are still missing. "We are trying to get at EU promotions," Georg Hrovat explains. "But we don't have great hopes for that."

Meanwhile, famous artists like Hubert von Goisern, Josef Hader or admired actress Susi Nicoletti have joined the call from the four theatre owners. "There are no comparable theatres in the German-speaking area any more," cautioned local kingpin Hubert von Goisern.

Traditional theatre in Bad Ischl falls into disrepair

Ö1 Inforadio 20th April 2004

To call the house "in need of restoration" would be a serious understatement. Now new glory and new life should be returning to the Kaiser's former summer theatre: a celebrity committee around Hubert von Goisern, Susi Nicoletti and the actor Robert Meyer are standing up for the rescue of the Lehartheater.

A theatre jewel

The Lehartheater in Bad Ischl is a real theatre jewel, it reminds you a little of the theatre in Josefstadt when you walk into the auditorium. An intimate, auditorium, decorated with mouldings, three levels, plus the Kaiser's former box. You can imagine that first class theatre was once offered here. Today, the house is mainly used as a cinema, but also as a performance site for cabaret and concert events.

Hannes Heide, independent town cultural councillor of Bad Ischl, cannot really enjoy the beauty of the building. Some time ago, together with three other Ischl residents, he bought the Lehartheater in a kind of emergency rescue - now he is fighting with water stains and other adversities.

Glorious history

The Lehartheater can look back upon a long, glorious history: in its time of glory, the one-time summer theatre of the Kaiser did not attract acting and singing prominent figures from Vienna: Johann Nestroy stood on the stage here, just as did Isadora Duncan, Karl Kraus appeared in the Ischl theatre, as did Alexander Girardi, Richard Tauber and other greats from theatre history. Hubert von Goisern also often used the theatre for his concert gigs.

Hubert von Goisern is just one of many artists, who are supporting the preservation of the Lehartheater. Town cultural councillor Hannes Heide has drummed together a whole team of famous artists for his initiative for the rescue of the Lehartheater: Josef Hader and Georg Ringsgwandl are in the party, Susi Nicoletti, Michael Heltau, Robert Meyer and many more. If you go by Hannes Heide, the restored Lehartheater brings a new cultural glory to Ischl as a multifunctional cultural centre.

5.5 million Euros for restoration

Of course it costs money: the Viennese architect Manfred Wehdorn has compiled a study on the restoration of the Lehartheater. His estimation: the re-establishment of the Ischl theatre would cost 5.5 million Euros. A great lump of money.

Even if it will be expensive, the Ischl people seem to have firmly decided in any case, to fight for their Lehartheater. And the people in the Salzkammergut, you know they're a stubborn breed.