Theatre Censorship in Honecker’s Germany

From Volker Braun to Samuel Beckett

by Barrie Baker (Author)
©2007 Monographs 208 Pages


This book presents the full story of state-supervised theatre in East Germany during the Honecker era (1971-1989). Through use of disparate unpublished material and interviews with key survivors in Berlin, Potsdam, Dresden and Leipzig, new and often disturbing insight is gained into the drama production of the socialist republic and into the situation and behaviour of playwrights, directors and dramaturges. Censorship in many forms is brought to light, as well as the social and political pressures, revealing the true burden of coercion on the theatrical profession, including targeted operations by the secret police assisted by informers. A study of the fortunes of the play Die Übergangsgesellschaft by the prominent GDR dramatist and poet Volker Braun vividly illustrates the tension of negotiating these perils. Finally, against a background evaluation of the influences of tradition and modernity on the form and content of East German drama, and of the fluctuation of cultural policy, the author shows how the regime of Erich Honecker underwent a fundamental change of attitude from an original ban to a final bow for Samuel Beckett’s so-called ‘decadent’ play Waiting for Godot.


ISBN (Softcover)
Deutschland (DDR) Zensur Geschichte 1971-1989 State-supervision Interbiew Political censorship Informer Coercion Theater
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 208 pp.

Biographical notes

Barrie Baker (Author)

The Author: Barrie Baker studied in the UK at University College London and at Reading University, the hub for both the Centre for East German Studies and the Beckett International Foundation, and also in Germany at the universities of Cologne and Berlin (Humboldt). He has a long-standing association with the Academy of Arts in Berlin. His research interests include freedom and regulation of theatre and cabaret and the cultural conflicts of the Cold War.


Title: Theatre Censorship in Honecker’s Germany