Kaserne Basel is one of the most important venues for the independent contemporary theatre, dance, performance and popular music scene in Switzerland. Moreover, it is a key partner of the local, national and international theatre and dance scene and, as a co-producer, continuously promotes the development of independent theatre and dance companies, as well as young artists from Basel, Switzerland and around the world. Kaserne Basel is also well known for its concerts featuring internationally and nationally renowned musicians. The programme, which focuses on live events, is characterised by its interesting blend of current, up-and-coming, innovative and well-established bands. Kaserne Basel boasts exceptional event spaces in the form of the Reithalle and the two Rossställe, which can accommodate up to 1700 guests and be used for a multitude of purposes. Together with the bustling KaBar, which transforms into the vibrant ZischBar every Tuesday, serving as a focal point for Basel's LGBTQIA+ community, Kaserne Basel has become a hugely popular place to meet within a highly interesting site.
Overview Program Seasons 2008-2018
Overview Program Seasons 2018-2023
Architect J.J. Stehlin builds the barracks at the site of the Klingental Abbey.
The Swiss military vacates the barracks. Stadt Basel becomes the new owner.
The local council invites tenders for the provision of a utilisation concept for the site. Cultural enthusiasts and local residents propose the project «ent-stoh-lo», a cultural and neighbourhood centre promoting social and cultural activities. The project is approved.
Foundation of «Interessengemeinschaft Kasernenareal» (IKA) in order to coordinate activities.
15 people work on the concept for the «Kulturwerkstatt Kaserne», which is to be housed in the stables and in the indoor riding ring (Reithalle).
Official foundation of the association «Kulturwerkstatt Kaserne» and start of artistic administration.
The Kulturwerkstatt receives subsidies from the Canton Basel-Stadt.
Opening of Rössli-Beiz.
The Reithalle is used for performances.
Re-organisation of the operational structure: Eric Bart is the first exclusive artistic director, succeeding the previous operational group. Middle of the year sees the start of extensive refurbishment and renovation work at Kaserne Basel.
Restaurant Kaserne opens in May. Kaserne Basel relocates to Gundeldinger Feld while the Reithalle is refurbished and renovated, and calls «Halle 7» its home for a whole season.
The refurbished and renovated Reithalle, which now has a basement, is re-opened in spectacular fashion.
Kaserne Basel produces a play of international acclaim: Samuel Beckett’s «Happy Days» directed by Peter Brook.
The Cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land agree to increase the subsidies given to Kaserne Basel, limited to one year.
Restructuring of operational activities, thus forming the basis for an economically sound business plan.
The Board of Directors implements the new management structures on 1 January. Kaserne Basel is now run by two people: Urs Schaub (artistic director) and Pascal Biedermann (managing director). The new representatives are elected to the Executive Committee in the autumn.
In November, the Supreme Council supports the continued development of Kaserne Basel and approves the necessary subsidies for the years 2005 – 2007.
Kaserne Basel celebrates its 25th anniversary in November. The historians Katrin Küchler and Barbara Rettenmund review 25 years of culture at Kaserne Basel in their book «Herzblut, Hand und Hirn – 25 Jahre Kultur und Kaserne» (Christoph Merian Verlag).
The sound insulation in the venues is improved. This enables events in the Reithalle without sound problems. The Board of Directors at Kaserne Basel also pass the new «Programme and Business Rules and Regulations».
Based on the new rules and regulations, Kaserne Basel develops into a centre for popular music, theatre and dance. Carena Schlewitt becomes the artistic director and Thomas Keller the managing director of Kaserne Basel. The new performance mandate of Kaserne Basel cannot be realised with the previous subsidies.
Underpinned by the new performance mandate, a team of consultants from NonProCons conducts an operational analysis. It recommends an increase in subsidies due to the structural deficits of Kaserne Basel. The number of events and visitors continues to increase in spite of the difficult financial situation.
The Cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land agree to increase the subsidies given to Kaserne Basel. A new Board of Directors is elected and new representatives are elected to the Executive Committee. August witnesses the first open-air event “Viva con Agua & Kaserne Basel Festival” (from 2013: Open Air Basel) at the Kaserne site. In September, Kaserne Basel celebrates its 30th anniversary with a 3-day event. Moreover, Kaserne Basel launches its own interesting and informative programme to realise projects with schools, universities and other institutions, as well as audience groups.
With roughly 270 events and 60,000 guests every year the importance of Kaserne Basel as an international music and event destination continues to grow. Rossstall 2 is refurbished and re-designed at the start of the 2011/12 season. The ‘Friends of Kaserne Basel’ come together to accompany and promote the programme, while generating outside interest in Kaserne Basel.
After a 6-year break, the association Theaterfestival Basel is re-founded and the Theaterfestival Basel is successfully re-launched under the artistic direction of Carena Schlewitt. Kaserne Basel and Theater Roxy Birsfelden are responsible for the organisational side of the festival.
The Reithalle is the proud owner of a new grandstand at the start of the season in September.
In 2014, the Swiss Contemporary Dance Days will be held for the first time in Basel under the guidance of Kaserne Basel and reso – Tanznetzwerk Schweiz. The show will be witnessed by 160 specialists from 35 countries. To further enhance the technical resources, a new dimmer system will be installed at Kaserne Basel. As a vision of the future for the entire Kaserne site, the Basel-based architectural firm Focketyn del Rio studio was awarded an architectural commission at the end of 2013 to design the new Kaserne frontage building.
Initial cooperation with the EU project «2nd Cities – Performing Cities». The mediation project «Die Voyeure» has grown into a network: After its launch in Basel in 2012 (together with junges theater basel), the project has now been expanded to take in Bern and Zürich in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
We are carrying out some structural alterations to our venues between August and November – the Reithalle and the Rossställe are being made earthquake proof. Modernisation of the top floor has been put on ice for the time being. Our offices are being provisionally relocated to the front building for 18 months until construction is due to begin there in 2017. The building work will also force Kaserne Basel to go on tour in the autumn of 2017: in the Dreispitzhalle, at Hotel Euler, in the Markthalle, at the Unispital, in the Union concert hall and with a poster campaign around the city.
In September 2016, the Grand Council approves the conversion of the main barracks building. In November, the FDP, LDP, BDP, and SVP initiate a referendum. On December 14, the Basel parliament decides with 73 votes in favor and 11 against to increase the subsidies for the Kaserne Basel in a staggered manner: from 2017, it will receive CHF 100,000 more, and from 2018, a total of CHF 500,000 more. This gives the Kaserne Basel more stability and room for maneuver.
In February 2017, the Basel electorate voted in favor of the renovation and conversion of the Kaserne with a clear majority of 61.7 %. The main barracks building can be converted into a neighborhood, cultural and creative center at a cost of 45 million Swiss francs.
Sandro Lunin is announced as Carena Schlewitt's successor for Artistic Director from July 2018. Carena Schlewitt receives the Basel Culture Prize 2017 in October 2017.
The first season under new artistic direction starts with the two-week focus "Kaserne Globâle", which underlines the future intercontinental orientation: Collaborations and new creations by artists* on the North-South axis Berlin, Basel, Beirut, Ramallah, Cairo, Kisangani, Jo'burg and Cape Town focus on encounters.
The Kaserne rents a rehearsal stage in the basement of KLARA at Clarastrasse 13, which is well utilized from the beginning.
New collaborations and partnerships in the Basel region network the Kaserne even more strongly on a local level. For the first time, the Stammtisch Freie Szene takes place alternately at ROXY Birsfelden & Kaserne and establishes itself in a short time as a lively place for an exchange of the local scene. The Kaserne becomes host for intercontinental residencies. The Kaserne team forms working groups on the topics of awareness, inclusion and sustainability.
The Covid-19 pandemic will lead to a massive curtailment of activities starting in spring 2020. New collaborations will nevertheless find an audience via Live Stream, Zoom or other ways. In summer, the first events in presence are possible again, the Kaserne opens with the format Kaserne lokal with a round of short contributions from the local theater, dance and music scene. With the onset of winter comes the second lockdown and some events have to be canceled or postponed.
During the lockdown, the barracks will be used as a production space for local groups, and the premieres of the works will be postponed until later. In the fall, in addition to the premieres of the local groups, collaborations are again on the program.
The renovated head section of the barracks building will open its doors in stages from April as kHaus. More than ten organizations and cultural workers will move in, including the Kaserne Basel team. In the kHaus, the Kaserne has a new rehearsal stage and 3 residential studios that can be shared with other institutions. The new artistic director of Kaserne Basel is introduced in June: Tobias Brenk will take over from Sandro Lunin starting with the 2023/24 season.
With the intercontinental focus Kaserne Globâle - Possible Futures, Sandro Lunin and Hannah Pfurtscheller end their last season at the Kaserne.
The new management establishes the Kaserne LAB starting this summer: 5 local artists* will be given the opportunity to use and self-manage the Kaserne's rehearsal stages for a whole year. In the same breath, intercontinental, Ticino and French-speaking Swiss artists in residence will be invited to establish new working relationships together with the Kaserne LAB. With CooProg, the Kaserne is co-initiating an international data platform that aims to stimulate a transparent exchange between theaters for intercontinental touring - the goal is to save CO2 emissions. Likewise, the two-year sustainability project is completed with reflector, which supported the Kaserne to implement concrete sustainability measures. And thanks to the completed diversity process Shaping Culture Diversely, the barracks is introducing employee panels: Job interviews are now conducted jointly with a panel of employees from different departments and the management.
Become a member of the Kaserne Basel association!
Kulturwerkstatt Kaserne is governed by an association in accordance with the Swiss Civil Code (section 60 ff. ZGB) and with Basel as its place of registration. The purpose of the association is to manage a cultural centre in line with contractual agreements with local authorities in the Canton Basel-Stadt. The association is a non-profit organisation and is politically and religiously independent.
Your benefits as a member of the association
- You will be regularly informed about the program
- You will be invited once a year to an event for members of the association with an aperitif
- You will be invited to the general meeting (and have a vote) and a subsequent event
Membership may be granted to natural and legal persons if they support the purpose of the association. The decision to grant membership is taken by the Board of Directors.
The minimum annual membership fee is CHF 60.–. The concessionary fee for schoolchildren, students and people with lower incomes (AHV/IV) is CHF 20.–. The annual membership fee for legal persons is CHF 100.–. The fee can be changed by an ordinary resolution of the general meeting without changes to the bye-laws. However, it must not exceed CHF 100.– for natural and CHF 150.– for legal persons.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors has at least 5 members, who are elected for 2 years, and a staff representative, who is elected by the members of staff. The cultural departments of the Cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land delegate one representative in the Board of Directors. This delegate does not have a right to vote. All members of the Board of Directors are limited to a maximum of 6 years in office.
Current members of the Board of Directors
Françoise König (President)
Fleur Weibel (Vice President)
Katrin Grögel (Delegate of the canton BS)
Corinne Wegmüller (Delegate of the canton BL)
David Mühlemann (Staff representative)
The Kaserne Basel receives subsidies from the Department of Culture of the Canton of Basel-Stadt. The state contributions of the Canton of Basel-Stadt include the compensation for cultural center services by the Canton of Basel-Landschaft. The program, the artists and the individual events of the Kaserne Basel continue to be supported by a broad network of foundations, partners and private sponsors, which are listed at each event.
Basel Based & National Partners
Arsenic Lausanne, ADC Genf, Art Basel, Auawirleben, BScene, Culturescapes, Dampfzentrale Bern, Far° Nyon, Internationales Basler Figurentheaterfestival, Belluard Fribourg, FHNW, Offbeat Jazzfestival Basel, junges theater basel, Kuppel Basel, Open Air Basel, reso, RFV Basel, Rote Fabrik Zürich, Schlachthaus Bern, STEPS, Südpol Luzern, Universität Basel, Volkshochschule beider Basel, Theaterfestival Basel, Gessnerallee Zürich, Treibstoff Basel, wildwuchs, Zürcher Theaterspektakel, Plattfon Records, Club Bad Bonn
Bozar Brüssel, La Filature Mulhouse, Connexion Kin Brüssel, FIBA Festival International de Buenos Aires, FFT Düsseldorf, HAU Berlin, Kaai Theater Brüssel, Kampnagel Hamburg, Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, Hammana Artist House Beirut, estspielhaus Hellerau, Impulse, Le Manège Reims, Festival de Marseille, Münchner Kammerspiele, Kampnagel Hamburg, Le Maillon Strasbourg, Mousonturm Frankfurt, NT Gent, Sophiensaele Berlin, Spielart München, tanzhaus nrw, Theater Freiburg, Theaterformen Hannover, Theater Spektakel Zürich, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Wiener Festwochen, Festspielhaus Hellerau
Hotels: Hotel Basilisk, Hotel Balade, Hotel Krafft, Hotel Dorint
Technik: Smartec, Audiorent, Stagelight, Fichtner, Merlo
Radio X ist offizielle*r Medienpartner*in der Kaserne Basel.
If you have experienced a situation at Kaserne Basel in which you did not feel comfortable, or if you perceived that another person experienced assaultive behaviour, you can contact the Awareness team. We will treat your message confidentially. We are also open to comments on our awareness concept. We are in the process of structural change and welcome input and discussion.