Popular Theaters in Zurich
From classical opera to contemporary stage shows, here are five theaters to discover in Zurich.
Zurich Opera House
Falkenstrasse 1, Zürich
Located in a Neo-Baroque building along Lake Zurich’s shore, the Zurich Opera House is one of the principal opera houses in Europe. It was built in 1891 and became the first opera house in all of Europe that utilized electric lighting.
The Zürich Opera House hosts more than 270 performances per season, with its exceptional opera, ballet, and diverse repertoire, including a range of contemporary works and classical performances from the likes of Mozart and Verdi. It has featured international opera stars such as Cecilia Bartoli, Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Anna Netrebko, Stephen Gould, and Klaus Florian Vogt. Apart from performances, the Opera House organizes the Opera Ball, a charity event with the most elegant and noble robes, with proceeds supporting the educational program of the Zurich Opera House for children and adolescents.
In 2014, it was awarded the Best Opera Company of the Year at the International Opera Awards.
Photo: @Opernhaus Zürich
Thurgauerstrasse 7, Zurich
Theater 11, formerly known as Stadthof 11, is a famous, modern event venue whose building has received several architectural prizes. The current theater was closed for reconstruction, but soon reopened in 2006 with the rock musical We Will Rock You.
Since its reopening, Theater 11 has been transformed into a multi-functional building for cultural events, conventions, and exhibitions. This theater is also host to classic plays and modern musicals for children and adults. The new musical theater has a capacity of 1,500 seats, and is located next to Zürich Exhibition, making it a new cultural magnet in North Zürich. One of the peculiarities of this theater is its generous aperitif area with its famous molecular cuisine. Currently, Theater 11 is hosting the award-winning musical Cats.
Photo: @Theater 11 Zürich
Neumarkt 5, Zurich
The Theater Neumarkt is one of the oldest theaters in Zürich. Founded in 1965, this theater is located in a Baroque palace in the heart of the charming Old Town. It has two stages on which some of the most avant-garde and contemporary works of Europe’s famous directors have performed.
This modern theater also offers experimental plays in which viewers can participate in the action. Some performances are performed on the principle of “pay as much as you can”, allowing culturally interested people who cannot otherwise afford a night in the theater. There is also a charming cafe-bar and a restaurant with a beautiful garden.
Schauspielhaus Pfauen, Rämistrasse 34, Zürich
Schauspielhaus Schiffbau – Schiffbaustrasse 6, Zürich
The Schauspielhaus Zürich is the main theater complex in Zürich and is one of the largest theaters in Switzerland. Built in the late nineteenth century as a “people’s theater”, this performing arts center has two locations. The first location is the Pfauen with a capacity of 750 seats and is located opposite to the Kunsthaus on Heimplatz in the center of Zürich.
The second location is the Schiffbau with a capacity between 400 and 600 seats and is located in the Escher Wyss district of West Zürich. The Schauspielhaus hosts almost 600 performances a year and puts on about 20 new productions each year. The theater performs classical and traditional plays, as well as alternative, avant-garde, and contemporary works. It has also been the venue for the premiere works of Max Frisch, Bertolt Brecht, Thomas Mann, Botho Strauss, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, and Elfriede Jelinek. In 2002 and 2003, the Schauspielhaus was recognized as the theater of the year.
Photo: @Schauspielhaus Zürich
Gessnerallee 8, Zurich
The Theater Gessnerallee is the center for independent theater and dance. Located not far from the Main Train Station, it was opened in a former horse stable hall in 1989. The Theater Gessnerallee serves as a production site and premiere theater venue for exciting local artists and groups. It is known to have a reputation as an international contemporary theater because of its love for experimentation and innovative forms of the performing arts.
The theater is an affordable venue for all genres of the performing arts such as dance, music, and various visual art acts, and is known to host international shows, concerts, themed events, and festivals such as the Jazznojazz Festival in autumn.