10 remarkable productions

Riesenhaft in Mittelerde™

Based on “The Lord of the Rings”™ by J.R.R. Tolkien
An accessible installation by Theater HORA, Das Helmi Puppentheater and Schauspielhaus Zürich
Based on an initial idea by the HORA Ensemble and Stephan Stock

Schauspielhaus Zürich

World premiere: 22 April 2023

Riesenhaft in Mittelerde™ © Schauspielhaus Zürich

How can you tell the story of a 1250-page novel in two hours? “Riesenhaft in Mittelerde”™ takes the audience on a creative journey of discovering the world of “The Lord of the Rings”™ and gathers a splendid cast with diverse artistic trademarks.

Audience Talk
Thursday, 9.5.2024 after the performance
Impulse: Konstantin Langenick (Actor and dancer)
Jury member: Valeria Heintges
Moderated by Florian Malzacher

There are indications of sensitive and/or health-relevant content.

Mysterious creatures live among plants and talking trees: hobbits, elves, dwarves, magicians, humans and orcs. They all lead peaceful lives. But a powerful ring threatens their tranquillity and must be destroyed. A fellowship is formed and sets out to vanquish evil and leave the good behind. “Riesenhaft in Mittelerde”™ is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s three-volume novel “The Lord of the Rings”™, which was published in 1954/55. In this large-scale collaborative work, Theater HORA, Das Helmi Puppentheater and Schauspielhaus Zürich create a moving, creative and humorous spectacle that continues Tolkien’s world-famous story while simultaneously submitting it to scrutiny.

Statement of the Jury

A 1250-page novel on stage – and how! The production’s four directors constructed a lovingly equipped walk-in fantasy world in Schauspielhaus Zürich’s Schiffbau-Halle. At first, the audience is allowed to enter and explore; then Frodo’s adventures in Middle Earth unfold with plenty of commotion, music, plastic foam, films and gags. It is a spectacle, a huge merriment, an analysis of a monster film that has thousands of fans in spite of its racist and misogynist undertones. All of this is incorporated, but only in passing. All of the cast perform on an equitable footing, the actors from Schauspielhaus Zürich, the HORA-players, the puppets of Das Helmi, Der Cora Frost. And the co-artistic director accompanies them all on the piano. That’s class, that’s confidence; this is a celebration of the theatre and its wealth of devices, of methods, of faces, of approaches. And even its shortcomings, which are revealed but not exposed. An immersive spectacle where both Tolkien-experts and high culture-nerds will get their money’s worth and vanquish evil together.

Tojuror Valeria Heintges’ video statement in the Berliner Festspiele Media Library (in German)

ProgrammeBooklet (pdf, 4.2 MB)

Artistic Team

Nicolas Stemann, Stephan Stock, Florian Loycke, Der Cora Frost – Directors
Team of Directors, Ensembles HORA, Helmi, Schauspielhaus, Dramaturgy – Text
Noha Badir, Der Cora Frost, Thomas Kürstner, Florian Loycke, Nicolas Stemann, Lukas Vögler, Sebastian Vogel – Music
Johanna Bajohr, Konrad Hempel, Claudia Lehmann – Live Camera
Sophie Reble, Ensemble – Costume Design
Katrin Nottrodt – Stage Design

Felix Loycke, Florian Loycke, Ensemble – Doll Making
Gianni Blumer – Choreography
Institut für Experimentelle Angelegenheiten (Claudia Lehmann, Konrad Hempel) – Media Staging
Michel Güntert – Lighting Design
Bendix Fesefeldt, Team of Directors – Dramaturgy
Anna Fierz, Svenja KochTheatre Education


Noha Badir, Vincent Basse, Gianni Blumer, Andy Böni, Caitlin Friedly, Der Cora Frost, Nikolai Gralak, Tabita Johannes, Felix Loycke, Florian Loycke, Sasha Melroch, Brian Morrow, Maximilian Reichert, Fredi Senn, Nicolas Stemann, Stephan Stock, Fabienne Villiger, Lukas Vögler, Patrycia Ziółkowska

“Riesenhaft in Mittelerde”™ is a project that was created on the initiative of Theater HORA. It is carried by the institutions Theater HORA, Helmi and Schauspielhaus Zürich in a relationship of artistic equivalence. Furthermore, “Riesenhaft in Mittelerde”™ is an ensemble work, generated in large part through improvisations by the actors. The core of this work lies in the fact that a maximally diverse group of institutions, people and aesthetics found common ground to encounter each other. 

Supported by Migros Kulturporzent.
Theater HORA is supported by Stiftung Züriwerk, Förderverein Theater HORA, Ernst Göhner Stiftung and Stiftung SYMPHASIS.
Thanks to Restaurant Jurablick on Uetliberg.

“Riesenhaft in Mittelerde”™ based on “The Lord of the Rings”™ by J.R.R. Tolkien; Licensed by Middle-earth Enterprises LLC.
German translation by Wolfgang Krege. © The Tolkien Estate 1954, 1955, 1966. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1969, 1972, new translation 2012.
Performing rights brokered by schaefersphilippen™, Theater und Medien GbR, Cologne.

The performance in Berlin is supported by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.