The rest is noise

Berlin in the ‘20s & ‘30s

Berlin in the ‘20s & ‘30s

Cabaret, paranoia and Fascism

During the 14 years of the Weimar Republic, Germany lurched from chaos to fragile democracy and towards the catastrophe that was to come. In contrast to the prosperity of Paris, the Berlin of the 1920s was ravaged by financial turmoil and political disorder.

The Weimar Republic, forged in the aftermath of the First World War and the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II, was full of coups and counterrevolutions, playing host to Communists, Social Democrats and nationalists. After the catastrophic hyperinflation that saw Germans pushing wheelbarrows full of million-Mark notes through the streets, a period of stabilisation also saw the ominous rise of the Nazi party and their terrifying stormtroopers.

For a brief moment, however, Berlin was a city of possibility and excitement. The all-night city danced to the biting satire and seductive decadence of the cabaret theatres where art, fashion, classical music, jazz and musical theatre all rubbed shoulders. However as the darkest chapter of the 20th century drew near, many of the city’s artistic innovators would soon be forced to leave.

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Weekend events from 10am – 6pm

Cabaret. Inflation. Glamour. Fascism. Reparations. Satire. Decadence.
Weimar Germany was a wounded nation struggling to reassert itself. Explore the many different facets of Berlin: Germany’s centre of political and artistic dramas in our two-day programme of talks, films and performances.

View the Full Weekend Listings for a detailed timetable


Noise Bites give you an intense, whistle-stop tour through the need-to-know topics from this weekend. These could include:

Glamorous, enigmatic, iconic: it can only be Marlene Dietrich
Hyperinflation in Weimar Germany meant that it was cheaper to stick banknotes to your your walls than buy wallpaper - where did the Mark go wrong?
The Hitler Youth - the foundation of Hitler's Thousand-Year Reich?


Join top speakers for in-depth discussions of the fundamental questions of early 20th century. An example of topics that we'll be discussing throughout the weekend include:

Get your Surrealism mixed up with your Serialism? Professor Johnathan Cross gives us the definitive guide to the Serialism method of composition.

Alex Ross, author of The Rest Is Noise, looks at the contradictions of this amazing time in Berlin's history.

Composer Dominic Muldowney delves into the complicated relationships between Brecht and his composers.

Hitler wanted to rule the hearts and minds of Germans. Yvonne Sherratt explores his relationship with philosophers.


...Kurt Weill! Curious about the music but scared off by the terminology? Then grab a coffee and come together to this fun, informal and practical session led by John Brown.


Don't know where to start? Let our industry experts bring music to life in these beginner's guides. This weekend the session is led by Southbank Centre's Head of Classical Music Gillian Moore.


Activities and events all over the site allowing you to get to get the full flavour of this exciting time of change.



*concerts are not included in the Day or Weekend Passes

A weekend pass offers you the best way to plunge head-first into 20th-century Berlin - a world of cabaret, inflation, glamour, fascism, reparations, satire and decadence


Image gallery


See all Images from Berlin in the 20s & '30s on Flickr



The Guardian

Liza Minnelli - review

'She was able to sing with an enthusiasm that was at times exhausting just to watch.'

The Rest is Noise festival: Berlin, Kurt Weill and The Threepenny Opera - video preview

Critic Alex Ross, Southbank Centre's head of classical music Gillian Moore, London Philharmonic Orchestra's principal conductor Vladimir Jurowski and singer Meow Meow talk about the work



The Open University

If you have been inspired by one of the many events taking place at The Southbank centre for The Rest is Noise festival, you can take your interest further with the Open University.

The Rest Is Noise at The Open University


Concerts and events

The Threepenny Opera - Saturday 2 March 2013. Provocative, political message with wonderful cabaret tunes.  Featuring London Philharmonic Orchestra, Ted Huffman and Vladimir Jurowski. 


Berlin Cabaret - Friday 1 March 2013. The decadence and biting satire of Berlin cabaret. 

Songspiel - Saturday 2 March 2013. Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's first collaboration. 

Seven Deadly Sins - Sunday 3 March 2013. Music from three composers who were forced to emigrate to America from Nazi Germany. 

Liza MinnelliFriday 1 March 2013.  Liza Minnelli brings her greatest hits to London for one night. 

Orff's SchulwerkFriday 1 March 2013. Famous for his cantata 'Carmina Burana'.

All The King's MenFriday 1 March 2013.One of the UK's freshest all-male a cappella groups bursts onto the Friday Tonic stage. 

Berlin in the '20s and '30s Saturday Day PassSaturday 2 March 2013.

Berlin in the '20s and '30s Sunday Day PassSunday 3 March.

 Berlin in the '20s and '30s Weekend PassSaturday 2 March 2013 - Sunday 3 March 2013. 

For more information, visit the Southbank Centre ticketing website