Berlin’s world-class theatre scene, known for its audacity and innovation, is facing a tempestuous season as the cash-strapped German capital debates how much high culture it can bankroll. The surprise announcement that the veteran artistic director of east Berlin’s legendary Volksbuehne (People’s Stage), Frank Castorf, would be bowing out in 2017 after a quarter century at the helm sent a jolt through the once-divided city. Berlin authorities, who heavily subsidise the avant-garde theatre and Castorf’s daring, politically charged productions, declined to keep the strong-willed iconoclast much beyond the end of his current contract in 2016. Talks are underway to find a director of the theatre, which was founded in 1914 to entertain the city’s working class. The name that keeps surfacing is Chris Dercon, the current director of London’s Tate Modern, an option not popular with everyone

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