Founded by Berlin theater critic Siegfried Jacobsohn in 1905, the weekly publication Die Schaubühne was at first primarily a theater and culture magazine. After opening up to political issues as well, it was renamed Weltbühne in 1918 and is still considered a central forum of the Weimar Republic. From the very beginning, Jacobsohn aimed to include as many well-known authors from the German-speaking world as possible, with an emphasis on its important theaters and opera houses. Alongside Berlin or Hamburg, Vienna therefore formed a obvious point of reference; in addition, Jacobsohn's personal interest was devoted to many Austrian modernist authors such as Hermann Bahr, Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Peter Altenberg, and to Max Reinhardt's new style of staging, which he, in turn, had also developed as a Berlin theater-maker.
Die Schaubühne reported on innovations in literature, theater and art, for example in the form of multi-part series (Berliner Theater, Wiener Theater). Prominent critics such as Julius Bab and Willi Handl were among its most important contributors. The magazine was also relevant as a repository; excerpts from plays, poems and short prose texts presented the new literature. In addition, various sections provided information on a wide range of theater-related topics, from premieres and play commissions to listings of individual engagements, new construction projects, and illustrated directing plans. Also documented were the in many cases horrendous legal conditions at theaters.
An important feature of the journal was its curiosity about international events; European theater as a whole was to be brought into view. However, there were also reports on "foreign theaters", such as Indian pantomime or Malayan small theaters.
Jacobsohn explicitly advocated a non-commercial and reflective theater - as a place of education and knowledge. The various perspectives result in the great documentary value of Die Schaubühne and its great significance as a cultural-historical source, the analysis of which is extremely relevant for media and contemporary history and extends beyond the disciplines of theater, film, and literary studies.
The Austrian Editions and Corpora (ACE) already has digitized copies of the 26 (half-year) volumes (approx. 17,000 files) of the 1979-1980 reprint. The project includes annotation, indexing, linking to standards records, as well as technical setup (including searchability via SketchEngine, preparation of facsimiles) and open access publication.