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ERASMUS OF BASEL

A HUMANIST THEATRE SERIES

BASEL SPIELT MIT: Eine Schauspielproduktion mit Basler_innen und Ensemblemitgliedern. Altersempfehlung: Ab 12 Jahren

In 2016 the Reformation city of Basel honours Erasmus of Rotterdam. In 2017 the Protestant world will celebrate Luther’s nailing of the theses to the church door in Wittenberg. Theater Basel marks both of these anniversaries by launching a theatre series investigating Erasmus and his world. Who was this man who, on the threshold between the Middle Ages and the modern era, wrote such satirical, theologically critical and pacifist texts as ‘In Praise of Folly’, ‘On Free Will’ and ‘The Complaint of Peace’ while also commissioning the first critical edition of the New Testament with Greek text from Basel’s leading book printer Johann Froben, which paved the way for the Reformation?  A humanist and theologian, a freethinking scholar, an impartial diplomat, an individualist or an “eel” as Luther called him in public during their dispute over free will?  Erasmus regarded himself as cosmopolitan: “I wish to be a citizen of the world, to belong to all, or better still to be a non-citizen everywhere.”

Erasmus was born illegitimately as Geert Geerts in Rotterdam around 1466. He studied in Paris and lived in England, Italy and in Leuven, Freiburg and Basel, where he died on 12th July 1536 at Bäumleingasse 18 and was buried in Münster. The spiritual climate of the city which was created around 1500 by the unique combination of a university and the printing of books influenced his productive activities and made him one of the leading exponents of humanism.

Director Daniela Kranz, who realized last season’s theatre series ‘Inspector Hunkeler: A case for Basel’ around the city, starts her investigations together with the Basel-based writer Christian Hansen and interested residents of Basel and ensemble members. In the course of four episodes the series will portray real and imagined scenes from the lives of Erasmus and his contemporaries.  Once again the city becomes the stage and once again each episode begins with the word: “Previously...”   

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