'Shakespeare Am Rhein' - Costume & Set

Find out more about the creative visions for the Costume and Set Design of our Production of Shakespeare's 'Romeo & Juliet' - Coming Summer 2021 to the Kaiserpfalz Ruins in Kaiserswerth!


By Emily Rosenberg, Costume Designer

First sketch for Lady Capulet's Costume by Emily Rosenberg

This piece presents a social spectrum full of intensity, determination and long-standing identity pride. We have chosen costume styles with origins in different periods and cultures to tell this story. Colourful costumes stand out against the weathered stones of the ruins. The inhabitants look hardworking, appealing, angry, elegant and headstrong. The clothes they wear are armour, family crests and the trophies of the battlefield.

They choose thick, functional materials to protect themselves from the elements and from each other. Symbols of their personal and cultural pride are incorporated into the fabrics. Scars of violence are part of the pattern, and these signs of past challenges are worn with honor.

While the feuding families ruin their surroundings, the environment takes revenge: weapons slit open embroidered linen, blood and mud splash up from the ground, rainy nights are spent unconscious on rugged stones.

All in all, the painting will be beautiful, exciting, noble and complementary to the significance of the venue.


By Pia Oertel, Set Designer

The Kaiserpfalz in Kaiserswerth is both atmospherically and spatially the ideal venue for our production of Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET. A place that brings its own history into the events on stage, evokes memories and awakens associations, but also creates connections to this place that we think we know so well from our daily lives. There is no better place to perform a play that explores the relevance of hate and love over time than in a space where that time and history is everywhere. It is possible to visit the Kaiserpfalz and see the way time has passed and both historical hate and love have changed the physical space in which we perform. The performance will capture the continuing and transcendent existence of hate and love.

A fortress, built out of dissociation from others, a ruin that is the remnant of war and destruction. Just as the Capulets and the Montagues look at the ruins of their families at the end, so the viewer looks at the ruins of times past, past hatred, anger and destruction. It is a battlefield, beautiful and sad at the same time. It is still fascinating today as an imposing building that brings history closer to us.

It soon became clear to us that we must not hide this place in stage decorations, but rather that we wanted to use the imperial palace itself and supplement it with individual set pieces and props to support the production. This will give us the opportunity for quick, flowing changes of scenes and associative spaces. Embedded in the formative overall impression of the Kaiserpfalz, which is calm and powerful. A special role will be played by the medium of light, which will be used to support the beginning of the evening and will become increasingly important as dusk falls. We will focus scenes, create moods and play with the structures of the Imperial Palace.

The spectators still sitting within the monumental walls of the ruins will have the chance to experience the magic of the place in a very personal way due to the great closeness and thus enjoy a summer evening of a very special kind with our production of ROMEO AND JULIET.

Drawing by Pia Oertel of the Kaiserpfalz

Model of the Kaiserpfalz made by Pia Oertel, next to the Kaiserpfalz itself