The cultural and festival town of Bad Elster has a longstanding theatre tradition. Performances at the Albert Theatre at the Brunnenberg began as early as 1880. Due to a high number of inquiries from all over Europe, the summer festival 1911 was one of the first of its kind in Saxony, taking place in the Walkpark of the NaturTheater Bad Elster . This was built based on construction plans by the Royal Saxon landscaping inspector, Paul Schindel.
The “Albert Theatre,” which was also only build for the warmer seasons, was soon unable to meet the increasing demands, because the spa began attaining international flair early on. Thus primarily public authorities, officers or members of royal society regularly stayed at the Royal Saxon State Spa in order to live up to their social status or to ‘royally’ revive themselves. With this kind of an audience profile, the appropriate expectations needed to be considered. Thus the Royal Theatre Society, founded in Bad Elster in 1912, commissioned the Chemnitz-based architects Alfred Zapp and Erich Basarke with designing and constructing of a modern, representative theatre.
After two years of construction, the present-day King Albert Theatre was inaugurated by His Royal Highness King Frederic August III of Saxony on May 22, 1914. Since then, the venue is considered to be one of the most significant court theatres ever.
At its beginning, theatrical events were only held in the summer, from the middle of May until the end of August. Even at this early point, "chursächsische" cultural partners such as the Altenburg Court Theatre or the Gera Court Theatre made visits to Bad Elster. Next to the Royal Baths Orchestra, known today as the Chursächsische Philharmonic, other renowned ensembles and artists also were regular guests here during the first half of the 20th century, these included the Royal Court Theater Dresden (today the Semperopera and StaatsSpielhaus), the tenor Richard Tauber, as well as the conductor and composer Paul Lincke and Eduard Künneke. Dresden's Saxonian State Orchestra under Karl Böhm even took part at the Bad Elster music festivals during World War II, and was evacuated here after the bombing of Dresden.
Exactly 90 years after the inauguration, the King Albert Theatre featured “Tsar and Carpenter,” an opera by Albert Lortzing, on May 22, 2004. This performance celebrated the ceremonious reopening of the theatre through the Landesbühnen Sachsen and the Chursächsische Philharmonic under the direction of head conductor Florian Merz. Today, the theatre is home to the Chursächsische Philharmonic and is under the patronage of His Royal Highness Alexander, Prince of Saxony. Through the exceptional musical and spoken theatre repertoire as well as concerts, the venue has become a social meeting point for culture freaks in the three-border region of Saxony, Bavaria and Bohemia! In 2014, the King Albert Theatre, under the patronage of Stanislav Tillich, Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony, will celebrate its 100th anniversary.