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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin: Intendance extended and management expanded

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Dr. Berndt Schmidt remains artistic director and sole managing director of the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin. The supervisory board unanimously extended the term of his contract until 31 July 2029 at the suggestion of culture senator Dr. Klaus Lederer. At the same time, Schmidt is expanding the previously two-person management team to include Natascha Lecki, Director of Marketing, Sales & PR. In this function, she is appointed authorised signatory and acts as second deputy to the artistic director, alongside administrative director Guido Herrmann as first deputy.

Fig. above: Dr. Berndt Schmidt, Dr. Klaus Lederer, Natascha Lecki (v.l.n.r.) auf dem Dach des Palastes, Photo: Markus Nass

The extension of Dr Berndt Schmidt’s contracts as managing director, artistic director and show producer was confirmed today by Berlin’s Senator for Culture and chairman of the supervisory board of the state-owned theatre, Dr Klaus Lederer. Negotiations to remain with the Senate Department for Culture and Europe began in September, as the current management contract provided for a directional decision by December 2022. After the final negotiations were concluded by February, the approval of the supervisory board followed by written circulation.

More than 15 years ago, on 1 November 2007, Schmidt took over the management of the world’s largest theatre stage in a deep existential crisis and has since led the house on the road to artistic and economic success. In the record year 2019, the Palast recorded the best results ever in its over 100-year stage history. With 545,000 paying guests and ticket revenues of 27.2 million euros, the house set new records. When it first opened in 2007/08, the theatre made deep red losses and ticket sales of 12 million euros.

After almost 17 months of closure during the pandemic, the palace celebrated a brilliant comeback in August 2021 with the ARISE Grand Show. Despite initial Corona restrictions still in place until March 2022, the house again generated ticket revenues of around 25.2 million euros last year and writes a projected profit of over 2 million euros.

As part of his renewal negotiations, Schmidt was particularly keen to add Natascha Lecki to the management team. The Berlin-born Director of Marketing, Sales & PR has been at the house since 2018 and now supports the previously two-person management team consisting of Berndt Schmidt and Guido Herrmann, Administrative Director and Prokurist, as Prokurist (authorised signatory) and second deputy to the Intendant. The area for which Natascha Lecki is responsible is subject to enormous developments and disruptions, especially in the digital age, and is to be thought of and formulated first-hand in the progression of the corporate strategy in the future.

Dr. Klaus Lederer congratulates: “I am very pleased and happy that I was able to accompany Berndt Schmidt’s extension as artistic director of the Palast and the addition of Natascha Lecki to the management team and bring it to a good end. Over the years, Berndt Schmidt has become a good friend and advisor to me. He and his house have always been at the forefront when it came to doing something better. Be it in actions and measures that helped to achieve cultural participation for all, or in the clear positioning for a diverse and open society. He was and is the safe bank for the success of the Friedrichstadt-Palast. I am happy that he is now on board until 2029 – and the city can rejoice with him.”

Dr Berndt Schmidt: “I would like to thank Klaus Lederer for the honour of extending his term. As an end to his term of office is foreseeable in these weeks, I would like to sincerely thank him for his often almost superhuman commitment and the always trusting cooperation. Even in the face of the pandemic, this Senator of Culture has been a godsend in my eyes. The Palace is the happiest professional station of my life. I never thought I would be able to steer the fortunes of this renowned house for so long. I am as motivated as I was on the first day, because even though we have achieved a lot so far, the star of the Palace can shine even brighter internationally. I am supported in this by Natascha Lecki, whose expertise and passion for the Palast I greatly appreciate. Her vision is valuable, as is the fact that she brings a younger and female perspective to the top management.”

Natascha Lecki is looking forward to the new challenge: “The time of the pandemic clearly showed how important it is to be open to digitalisation and new market strategies. I am all the more grateful that Berndt Schmidt is not only open to these topics, but also actively promotes them. During my time as Director of Marketing, Sales & PR, we were able to set up many new projects with the aim of ensuring that the Palast will continue to be an important anchor point of Berlin’s art and cultural scene for the next 100 years. With the expansion of the management, I personally see a great opportunity to develop the Palast even further in the direction of an independent brand and thank you for the trust you have placed in me.”

WHERE?

Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin
Friedrichstraße 107
10117 Berlin-Mitte

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