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English-Speaking Theatre in Basel

Updated: Apr 4

Basel is a city devoted to the arts! It is no surprise then that there is a thriving theatre scene in both German and English. This article focuses on the English-speaking theatre groups, that provide some excellent opportunities to see some great shows and get involved in the Basel community.



Every Christmas, Basel puts on a 'panto' production with talented amateurs from the community. 'Panto,' short for pantomime is a British holiday tradition of satirical, musical theatre that encourages audience participation (and is great fun!). You can see a video example here. Basel's 'panto' group takes fairytales such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and this year, Peter Pan and spices them up with a bit of comedy and music. Auditions (including parts for youths) are coming up soon at the end of April and information about getting involved can be found here. All proceeds from this event go to charity.



Photo: The Semi-Circle Basel

The Semi-Circle Basel is an amateur theatre community in Basel for actors, directors, crew and more. They believe, "that being involved in the performing arts builds community – especially important in an increasingly disconnected world." They have various play readings, workshops and performances throughout the year and there are many opportunities to get involved (for youths as well), including becoming a member. Their next production, Agatha Christie's, And Then There Were None, is coming up in June.


The Gay Beggars Drama Group is an independent, English-speaking theatre group founded by the students of the Department of English at the University of Basel in the early 1940's. It was named after the first play they performed, The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay. They are an established Verein, producing an average of one play per year. You can become a member here, but you don't need to become a member if you want to get involved and they are always looking for actors, stage hands and costume designers to help out. Their next production is Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, which will be performed in June.


Photo: Boutique Theatre Basel

Boutique Theatre Basel is the place to go for improv in Basel. They offer numerous classes throughout the year and even have their own improv troupe (B.I.G. Basel Improv Group) that you can hire for special occasions. They also put on a variety of productions, the latest coming up in June is Candlelight Cabaret, which promises to be an evening of "laughter song and dance."


Betwixt and Between Theatre specializes in bilingual (German and English) productions. This theatre group is fairly new, founded in 2019 by Miriam Cohn and Scott Holland. They have in-house productions, as well as classes for adults and children, including week-long workshops for youths during some school holidays.


If you are interested in the more musical side of theatre in Basel, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society Basel has courses, workshops and public performances throughout the year. You don't have to be a singer to become a member, but you do need to appreciate the comedic, musical stylings of Gilbert and Sullivan.


Photo: Simply Theatre

Simply Theatre has numerous locations throughout Switzerland and offers courses in acting, musical theatre, improv and directing for children and youths on a weekly basis or during summer holidays. They have special 'taster classes' coming up in May or a 3-week trial period at the beginning of their term in August if you want to try before you commit.


I hope this article inspires you to become a little more theatrical. Make sure to check out the latest productions, and to all those who get involved, break a leg!



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