Bewegtes land: Germany’s Unbelievable Outdoor Theater for Train Travelers

Today we welcome guest authors Agness and Cez from eTramping to tell us all about one of the most unusual theater performances that has ever taken place… and you can watch it from a train window. Take it away guys!

Imagine passing through incredible landscapes, relaxing on the train as you make your way from one to city to another. Suddenly, the train is surrounded by cars on both sides. “They want the money!” says someone from behind you. You’re not sure who, but you turn your head in shock anyway. Some of the people start shouting, others have huge grins on their faces.

Despite what is happening, no one is afraid. Despite the fact that it feels like your rail car is about to be boarded by thieves, everyone is whooping and cheering and having an all-around great time. That’s because you’ve just signed on to join one of the most dynamic and interesting shows out there. This is Bewegtes land – or in English, “moving land”.

Pressefoto_BewegtesLand_Credits Datenstrudel
Pressefoto_BewegtesLand_Credits Datenstrudel

What is Bewegtes Land?

Bewegtes Land is a dynamic spectacle that takes place alongside one of the most unusual theater locations: a moving train. Over 50 productions take place while the train is in transit. Not all of them are obvious. Some are almost hidden from sight and only those with the most acute of eyesight will be able to find them – like the two ladies in yellow jumpsuits, who can be found standing waist deep in a brook just below castle Saaleckgreen.

Where is it?

The Bewegtes Land performance takes place along the Jena to Naumburg railway line, which is about 30 km of railway in Germany. Naumburg is a town in the German district of Burgenlandkreis, which is home to over 33,000 people. It’s famous for the Naumburg Cathedral and the Rivers Saale and Unstrut.

Pressefoto_BewegtesLand_Credits Datenstrudel

How did it start?

This idea of outdoor theater isn’t a new one. When railways were first built in the US, similar shows took place as trains would stop in small towns. Wild West Shows and cowboy and Indian productions would take place as the passengers waited for the train to depart towards their next destination.

This time, however, the project is the brainchild of several students from the nearby Naumburg university. In total over 500 residents of the town took part in the production, making sure that it could come alive. All of the performances are carefully timed so that the train travelers can watch performance after performance as the train moves through them.

What is Involved?

Without ruining the production, here are just a few of the highlights from the show — including the strange, the bizarre, and the absolutely awesome (in our opinion).

Pressefoto_BewegtesLand_Credits Robert Gärtner

The Shark Fishermen

This is Bewegtes Land’s shark song. The train passes by what seems to be an ordinary pond. Two fishermen sit in their boat, fishing lines in hand. You stare out the window at them, genuinely wondering if they are actually part of the production, or if they’re just two guys going fishing. Suddenly, a shark head bobs up above the water and one of the fishermen falls out of his boat. What happens next? The train has already left them behind…

The Running Man

You look out the window, then rub your eyes. There’s a man. He’s running against the train. There’s also a crowd. They’re cheering him on. You’re witnessing the “running man” section of the journey, where someone dresses up as a runner and takes a shot at beating the train in a good old-fashioned jog-off.

You follow him intently for a few moments, but then he falls down a hole. You think it’s over, that the bit is done, but suddenly he arises from another hole a few meters away. The race is back on.

Pressefoto_BewegtesLand_Credits Datenstrudel

Running Bushes

The bushes are moving. You think they’re moving? No, they’re definitely moving. As the train passes a large field, you can see people running across it, hiding behind bushes. Why? We don’t know. You’ll have to find out.

Something a Little Different

If you’re looking for a different type of travelling experience next summer, Bewegtes Land has got to be at the top of your list. It’s entirely unique at the moment (we challenge you to find another train which plays host to over 50 theater productions), and is certainly very interesting.

Currently, there are no future productions scheduled. However, the website is calling for actors, interns and assistants, lending hope to the idea that the production will make the comeback. Plenty of the residents certainly want to get back into the groove. Now, all we need is to fill up the seats!

Thanks so much to Agness and Cez! You can follow their adventures on FacebookTwitter, and Pepo, and read more on their website.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Leah says:

    Great post Agness and Cez! I was on a hunt for an article about traveling to Germany, and came across your post. I especially liked how you provide a lot of detail but don’t give away too much about the performances. I hope it is revived soon!

    Actually, I just put together an infographic about “10 Must Do’s in Black Forest”. Let me know if you’d like to check it out. If you have any ideas about Black Forest in particular, I’d like to know! -Leah

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