About us

Vienna's English Theatre since 1963

  • New Beginnings

    Founded in 1963 Vienna’s English Theatre is the oldest and most established English-language theatre in continental Europe. The founders, Austrian Director Franz Schafranek and American actress Ruth Brinkmann, originally intended it as a summer theatre for tourists. After it won immediate acceptance by the Viennese public, it was extended to offer a year-round programme.


  • A New Home

    In the beginning most productions were directed by Franz Schafranek while his wife Ruth Brinkmann demonstrated her acting talent and versatility in numerous roles. By 1974 the theatre had established itself as a valued cultural institution, and gained the support of the City of Vienna in finding a permanent home in the Josefsgasse.


  • National and International Recognition

    The Schafraneks’ rare theatrical sensibility and high standard of professionalism, brought them international as well as local recognition. In 1976 they presented the World premiere of Tennessee Williams’ The Red Devil Battery Sign under the playwright’s direction with Ruth Brinkmann in the leading female role.

    Other World and European premieres brought distinction to the theatre and enhanced the city’s image as a centre of innovative theatre. A highlight was the 1991 World premiere of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winning Three Tall Women, directed by the author, which he dedicated to the memory of Franz Schafranek after his sudden death earlier that year.


  • International Stars

    Through its international recognition, the theatre has attracted a distinguished roster of well-known stage and screen personalities to the Josefsgasse, among them Joan Fontaine, Anthony Quinn, Horst Buchholz, Linda Gray, Larry Hagman, Princess Grace of Monaco and many more.


  • The Show Must Go On

    When Ruth Brinkmann lost her 6 year long battle against cancer, Julia Schafranek assumed the mantle and responsibilities of Artistic Executive Director of Vienna’s English Theatre in 1997 where she continues to follow the objective of vital and captivating theatre established by her parents.


  • New Approaches

    Julia Schafranek developed, based on the English model, a concept for a theatre school for kids and teens (starting from 3 years) and founded SHOWTIME, Vienna’s English Theatre’s School of Performing Arts. It’s still a great success.


  • A New Generation

    In September 2018 VETA (Vienna’s English Theatre Academy) opened as the only English-language theatre school in Austria. The close connection with the theatre house and highly professional teachers, provides students with theoretical and practical experience for their professional future.



Become a member of our new Foundation, enjoy the many benefits on offer and help us meet future challenges in staging high quality productions!

In these difficult times for the performing arts, your support is highly valued. Your membership in our Foundation or any donations will contribute to keep our theatre alive and thriving.

The Theatre