Berlin-based celebrities from English-language countries read from their favorite authors’ works.
Berlin has always attracted the courageous, travellers and people with a penchant for the modern-day city. Since the 1920s when, for example, the English writer Christopher Isherwood lived in the German capital for five years and wrote The Berlin Stories that inspired the musical Cabaret, Berlin has been a center for artists and intellectuals across the globe. The Fall of the Wall and the resulting second internationalzsation of Berlin has enhanced the city’s appeal, and today Berlin is home to a large number of international artists, scientists and business people.
In 2010, as part of the 20th anniversary season, we launched a series of readings where celebrities from English-speaking countries living and working in Berlin read from their favorite authors’ works.
- The series opened on October 31, 2010 with two of English Theatre Berlin´s oldest friends, US entertainer GAYLE TUFTS who had started her Berlin career at ETB in 1991 when it was still called Friends of Italian Opera, and CYNTHIA BARCOMI, star baker from Seattle who runs a very successful chain of coffee shops in Berlin. They both read work from various US writers.
- On November 29, 2010 US writer HOLLY-JANE RAHLENS was joined on the Sofa by fellow US actor LESLIE MALTON. Holly-Jane read from the works of Nora Ephron while Leslie took on the great stories of English writer P.G. Wodehouse.
- On March 7, 2011 IRISH AMBASSADOR DAN MULHALL (accompanied by harpist Brid Ni Chatháin) presented a highlight of the SOFA series by giving a guided tour through Irish literature from Jonathan Swift to Seamus Heaney – including a couple of old Irish songs! Dan Mulhall continued his guided tour on June 17, 2013 with yet another reading.
- On April 3. 2011 London TIMES Berlin correspondent ROGER BOYES and English poet JOHN HARTLEY WILLIAMS – who has lived in Berlin since the mid-1970s ! – scaled the sofa. Roger read from the works of Martin Amis while John chose segments from Malcolm Lowry´s masterpiece Under the Volcano.
- On May 9, 2011 US AMBASSADOR PHILIP D. MURPHY and fellow US choreographer and novelist JACALYN CARLEY took over the BERLIN SOFA. Ambassador Murphy read from The Girls of Summer (The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and How It Changed the World) and more about what he calls ‘ the beautiful game’, Jacalyn Carley read from a few of the United State‘s finest word-players including ee cummings, Gertrude Stein and the very wonderful Dr Seuss.
- On September 5, 2011 BRITISH AMBASSADOR SIMON McDONALD and British wine journalist STUART PIGOTT participated in the series. The Ambassador read from J. K. Rowling, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Judith Kerr, W. H. Auden and William Shakespeare while Stuart Pigott presented the works of Vera Brittain.
- On October 29, 2012 AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR PETER TESCH and Australian author CAMPBELL JEFFERYS read from various authors on`The Making of Australia´.
- NEW ZEALAND AMBASSADOR PETER RIDER and novelist PAULA MORRIS scaled the BERLIN SOFA on April 8, 2013, reading from various New Zealand writers.
- On February 11th, 2014 historians of science LORRAINE DASTON and THEODORE PORTER read from various authors such as Darwin, Dickens or Mark Twain captivated by the world-changing potential of science and technology.
Text in deutsch
Berlin war immer schon eine attraktive Stadt für Wagemutige, für Reisende und für Menschen mit einem Faible für die moderne Großstadt, und seit der englische Schriftsteller Christopher Isherwood, der die Vorlage für das Berlin-Musical „Cabaret“ lieferte, im Jahre 1929 die deutsche Hauptstadt für sich endeckte (und dort bis 1933 lebte), hat Berlin seine magische Anziehungskraft für Künstler und Intellektuelle nie mehr verloren. Der Fall der Mauer 1989 und damit einhergehend eine erneute Internationalisierung Berlins als kulturelle Metropole Mitteleuropas hat diese Attraktivität nur noch intensiviert, und inzwischen leben und arbeiten eine ganze Reihe namhafter Persönlichkeiten aus vielen Kulturen in Berlin.