History of Kaserne Basel


Architect J.J. Stehlin builds the barracks at the site of the Klingental Abbey.


The Swiss military vacates the barracks. Stadt Basel becomes the new owner.


The local council invites tenders for the provision of a utilisation concept for the site. Cultural enthusiasts and local residents propose the project «ent-stoh-lo», a cultural and neighbourhood centre promoting social and cultural activities. The project is approved.


Foundation of «Interessengemeinschaft Kasernenareal» (IKA) in order to coordinate activities.


15 people work on the concept for the «Kulturwerkstatt Kaserne», which is to be housed in the stables and in the indoor riding ring (Reithalle).


Official foundation of the association «Kulturwerkstatt Kaserne» and start of artistic administration.


The Kulturwerkstatt receives subsidies from the Canton Basel-Stadt.


Opening of Rössli-Beiz. 


The Reithalle is used for performances. 


Re-organisation of the operational structure: Eric Bart is the first exclusive artistic director, succeeding the previous operational group. Middle of the year sees the start of extensive refurbishment and renovation work at Kaserne Basel.


Restaurant Kaserne opens in May. Kaserne Basel relocates to Gundeldinger Feld while the Reithalle is refurbished and renovated, and calls «Halle 7» its home for a whole season.


The refurbished and renovated Reithalle, which now has a basement, is re-opened in spectacular fashion.


Kaserne Basel produces a play of international acclaim: Samuel Beckett’s «Happy Days» directed by Peter Brook.
The Cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land agree to increase the subsidies given to Kaserne Basel, limited to one year.


Restructuring of operational activities, thus forming the basis for an economically sound business plan.
The Board of Directors implements the new management structures on 1 January. Kaserne Basel is now run by two people: Urs Schaub (artistic director) and Pascal Biedermann (managing director). The new representatives are elected to the Executive Committee in the autumn.
In November, the Supreme Council supports the continued development of Kaserne Basel and approves the necessary subsidies for the years 2005 – 2007.


Kaserne Basel celebrates its 25th anniversary in November. The historians Katrin Küchler and Barbara Rettenmund review 25 years of culture at Kaserne Basel in their book «Herzblut, Hand und Hirn – 25 Jahre Kultur und Kaserne» (Christoph Merian Verlag).



The sound insulation in the venues is improved. This enables events in the Reithalle without sound problems. The Board of Directors at Kaserne Basel also pass the new «Programme and Business Rules and Regulations».


Based on the new rules and regulations, Kaserne Basel develops into a centre for popular music, theatre and dance. Carena Schlewitt becomes the artistic director and Thomas Keller the managing director of Kaserne Basel. The new performance mandate of Kaserne Basel cannot be realised with the previous subsidies.


Underpinned by the new performance mandate, a team of consultants from NonProCons conducts an operational analysis. It recommends an increase in subsidies due to the structural deficits of Kaserne Basel. The number of events and visitors continues to increase in spite of the difficult financial situation.


The Cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land agree to increase the subsidies given to Kaserne Basel. A new Board of Directors is elected and new representatives are elected to the Executive Committee. August witnesses the first open-air event “Viva con Agua & Kaserne Basel Festival” (from 2013: Open Air Basel) at the Kaserne site. In September, Kaserne Basel celebrates its 30th anniversary with a 3-day event. Moreover, Kaserne Basel launches its own interesting and informative programme to realise projects with schools, universities and other institutions, as well as audience groups.


With roughly 270 events and 60,000 guests every year the importance of Kaserne Basel as an international music and event destination continues to grow. Rossstall 2 is refurbished and re-designed at the start of the 2011/12 season. The ‘Friends of Kaserne Basel’ come together to accompany and promote the programme, while generating outside interest in Kaserne Basel.


After a 6-year break, the association Theaterfestival Basel is re-founded and the Theaterfestival Basel is successfully re-launched under the artistic direction of Carena Schlewitt. Kaserne Basel and Theater Roxy Birsfelden are responsible for the organisational side of the festival.
The Reithalle is the proud owner of a new grandstand at the start of the season in September.

In 2014, the Swiss Contemporary Dance Days will be held for the first time in Basel under the guidance of Kaserne Basel and reso – Tanznetzwerk Schweiz. The show will be witnessed by 160 specialists from 35 countries. To further enhance the technical resources, a new dimmer system will be installed at Kaserne Basel. As a vision of the future for the entire Kaserne site, the Basel-based architectural firm Focketyn del Rio studio was awarded an architectural commission at the end of 2013 to design the new Kaserne frontage building.

Initial cooperation with the EU project «2nd Cities – Performing Cities». The mediation project «Die Voyeure» has grown into a network: After its launch in Basel in 2012 (together with junges theater basel), the project has now been expanded to take in Bern and Zürich in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

We are carrying out some structural alterations to our venues between August and November – the Reithalle and the Rossställe are being made earthquake proof. Modernisation of the top floor has been put on ice for the time being. Our offices are being provisionally relocated to the front building for 18 months until construction is due to begin there in 2017. The building work will also force Kaserne Basel to go on tour in the autumn of 2017: in the Dreispitzhalle, at Hotel Euler, in the Markthalle, at the Unispital, in the Union concert hall and with a poster campaign around the city.