Since 1956. For theatre, concerts, parties, comedyThere are quite a few places in Cologne that have a colourful history — one that includes recent years as well. These are places that have played a major role in our city’s image for decades, adapting to change like a chameleon in good times and bad. The Gloria Theatre is still a permanent fixture in Cologne today. It’s centrally located on Apostelnstraße in the city centre. This is where film premieres flickered across the screen in the 1950s. Later on, this was the scene of legendary foam parties as well as shoots for famous films. Today renowned bands occasionally stage clandestine performances here. To attend one of these concerts, you have to be lucky — because these tickets are sold out incredibly fast. And that’s no surprise!
Many features in the interior of the Gloria are reminders of its history as a premier cinema: the ticket booth, the original ceiling with its glass bricks, and the kidney-shaped tables in the café. They add to this venue’s visual appeal, which its operators still lovingly cultivate today.
Capacity for 900 guests – the ideal prerequisite for intimate flairToday the Gloria serves as a stage for concerts , comedy acts and live music, as well as parties and literary events. The Gloria, with its walls lined in red plush, is characterized by its intimate atmosphere: it only has enough room for about 900 guests. The many famous artists who cherish this atmosphere include Pink, Carolin Kebekus, Coldplay, Atze Schröder, Muse, Missfits, Oasis, Simply Red, Kasalla, Mario Barth, the Toten Hosen, the Springmäuse, and Hella von Sinnen.
Gloria Café: refreshments and a cosy atmosphere at the GloriaThe Gloria Café, whose picture windows face Apostelnstraße, is decorated in the 1950s style. Whether you come early for a performance or just drop in during the day, the Gloria Café is the perfect spot to start a pleasant evening or take a cosy daytime break. Here you can also buy tickets and gift certificates.
The history of the Gloria: pralines instead of a film ticketBack then, the theatre’s basic colours were black, yellow and white. There was indirect lighting, a gently arched suspended ceiling, and walls hung with loose plastic film. The Gloria knew how to create an impressive look. That’s because in the 1950s going to the pictures was still a social event — and Cologne was experiencing the biggest cinema boom in its history. At that time, the city had about 80 cinemas. The Gloria joined this group as a premier cinema in 1956. Its opening night, which featured Verlobung am Wolfgangsee (An Engagement on Lake Wolfgang), was attended by the film’s leading actors.
This glamorous period of the film theatres ended with the entry of television into people’s living rooms — and the cinemas began to die out. Like many other cinemas, the Gloria could keep its head above water only by showing erotic films. Here’s an intriguing detail: back then it was officially illegal to charge an entrance fee for such films. But the Gloria came up with a glorious workaround: it required its filmgoers to buy pralines at the box office.
A centre of the gay and lesbian community and the comedy sceneThe Gloria ended its cinema phase in the early 1990s. As a venue with a rich history, it relaunched itself as a centre of the gay and lesbian community. It became a top venue for parties, and over the years it eventually developed into the epicentre of the German comedy scene. Hella von Sinnen launched her career here with her show “I brake for men too”, the Pink Session of Cologne’s carnival was held here for many years, and the award-winning show “WDR Ladies’ Night” is also recorded here.
The Gloria programme: concerts, theatre, partiesToday the Gloria is one of Cologne’s most successful stages, with an extremely diverse cultural programme featuring renowned performers and events ranging from readings to comedy shows, carnival sessions, concerts and parties. It’s also a venue for festivals such as lit.COLOGNE, c/o Pop and 1LIVE podcasts. According to its present-day operators, the diversity of the programme and the cosy intimate atmosphere are the reasons behind the Gloria’s long existence.
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