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republic – the home of SZENE Salzburg

“republic” on Anton-Neumayr-Platz is THE gathering spot for Salzburg’s urban scene. At the republic café, during the day you can enjoy cappuccino and trendy cakes, while come evening it’s time for some all-out partying and clubbing. In the Big Hall – once the City Cinema – Szene Salzburg offers an exciting, variety-packed cultural program appealing to all generations.

Sometimes we do get to see the Big Hall at the republic in its full naked glory, the fusion of a brick structure and modern high-tech technology. This used to be the site of the city cinema – far plusher back in “the day” – but with a bit of imagination, you can still imagine the big screen at the front of the auditorium. Since SZENE Salzburg moved in here around 30 years ago, however, events here have taken a far more lively and innovative twist.

Urban Counter-Culture

As operator of the republic, SZENE Salzburg has turned this house on Anton-Neumayr-Platz into a platform for contemporary artistry. With their own international festival known as “Sommerszene”, every year in June they bring to Salzburg outstanding acts from the worlds of dance, performance and theater. The event was born in the 1980s as an urban alternative and counter-culture response to the Salzburg Festival, which, in the heyday of free expression, was far too bourgeois and conservative for many. Since those early days, Salzburg’s “Sommerszene” has become one of the most acclaimed festivals of its kind in Europe – always good for unexpected surprises. Every now and again, the Szene also builds some extra “street cred” by taking shows outdoors, sometimes performing on public squares, sometimes even on the city mountains. And beware: Just because you are a member of the public, doesn’t mean you won’t inadvertently get drawn into the performance as well!

Yet another injection of energy comes courtesy of the biennial PNEU Festival (at the end of January in even-numbered years). “Pneu”, though practically impossible for any English-speaker to pronounce without provoking hilarity, actually stands for “Performing New Europe”, presenting a young dance- and performance scene promoted by an EU-funded network known as “apap – advanced performing arts project”. As a lead partner, SZENE Salzburg hosts the festival, with seven centers of dance and art from Belgium, Norway, Italy, Poland, France, Croatia and Germany also represented.

From Satire to Party

It’s really no wonder that guest organizers also like to lease out the building including the attached Foyer Bar, which in turn guarantees the republic a full events calendar. One Friday a month, their foyer is transformed into the club scene from the 80s and 90s, with iconic party hits perfect for dancing the night away. There’s a Salsa Night every Tuesday and live music with brunch on Sunday. In the main hall, on the other hand, stars of the German-speaking cabaret scene are also prone to grab the mic on occasion: Regulars include famous names such as Josef Hader, Stermann & Grissemann and Willy Astor. International musicians like to add the republic to their tour schedule, too, including Pippo Pollina and Gregor Meyle, Max Raabe and his full Palace Orchestra, and the Wiener Comedian Harmonists.