For more than 100 years, the “Tellspiele” (William Tell Open-Air Theatre) in Interlaken have been telling the captivating stories of our Swiss hero William Tell and the origins of Switzerland. These unique open-air plays take place in a breathtaking natural setting and offer a spectacle with a large number of actors and real animals.
The origins of the Tell plays date back to 1912, when Schiller’s “William Tell” was performed for the first time as an open-air play in Matten near Interlaken. Since then, this cultural event in the Bernese Oberland has developed into a true Swiss cultural treasure. Hardly any other literary work has had such a lasting impact on Swiss popular culture as William Tell, and hardly any other theater stage conveys the history of Switzerland as authentically and captivatingly as the Tellspiele Interlaken.
In the current production “Tell Mut Macht Mythos” by Tiziana Sarro and Klemens Brysch, the legendary events surrounding the shooting of the apple, the Rütli Oath and the Hohle Gasse are told in an innovative new way. The plot of the Schiller drama is complemented by a young school class, which creates a link between the present day and the historical events. This gives the play an additional dose of humor and at the same time a deeper emotional level.
The Tellspiele Interlaken thus not only offer an impressive theatrical experience, but also a lively connection to the rich history of Switzerland and its legendary heroic figure, William Tell.
William Tell Theatre Interlaken on the open-air stage
The Tell plays are the largest open-air theater in Switzerland, in which over 140 actors – including leading and popular actors – from the amateur acting community form a unique “Tell play family”. The spectacle is supported not only by people, but also by horses, cows and goats, which transform the picturesque natural stage in the “Rugenwald zu Matten” into an impressive and exciting setting.
During each performance, a farmer leads his festively decorated cows in the famous Alpine procession to the Tell play area, and a herd of goats completes the idyllic picture. Up to 18 horses are involved in the performance and create a captivating dynamic on the extensive natural stage, which further enriches the play.
The production of the Tell play largely retains Schiller’s original text in order to present an authentic play that leaves a lasting impression. At the same time, the performance will take a critical look at today’s society and the play will connect closely with people – both the participants and the audience. In this way, the timeless story of William Tell will be told in a modern context, allowing the audience to connect more deeply with the subject matter.
Set against a breathtaking natural backdrop and with a lively cast of amateur actors and animal performers, the Tell plays promise an unforgettable and captivating theatrical experience that brings the story and legend of William Tell to life in a unique way.
Video of the rustic Oberland (Tellspiele Interlaken)
Amateur actors have been staging the legend of William Tell in Matten near Interlaken for over a hundred years.
Video Tellspiele Interlaken – DVD trailer anniversary production 100 years of Tellspiele
Trailer for the DVD Tellspiele Interlaken.