Since German is the national language in Austria, you might think stage or screen entertainment could prove a little tricky for English speakers. Not so.
- Many cinemas show English-language films
- The Burgtheater is the city’s showpiece theatre
- Some productions have English surtitles
- Find international theatrical productions at
- The English Theatre
- Open House Theatre
- See also:
(The Burg Kino is a prominent English-language cinema and known for regular showings of The Third Man)
As you’d expect given Vienna’s size, film fans can choose from numerous movie theatres: from giant multiplexes showing Hollywood blockbusters to small art cinemas.
Around ten of these might be described as international or English-language cinemas, regularly showing films in the original English (some only ever show English-language films).
The availability of movies in English benefits more than just the international community and tourists; young Viennese in particularly use these films to expand their language skills or to simply enjoy performances in the actors’ own voices (rather than dubbed into German).
Check daily newspapers for listings and look for “OV” next to a film (means the movie will be shown in its original language) or OmU (ditto with the addition of subtitles).
Vienna also hosts various film festivals throughout the year, including the prestigious Viennale. Many of these festivals feature English-language movies, documentaries, shorts, etc. or have subtitles in English.
With all the fuss about Vienna’s classical music, a longstanding reputation as a haven for theatergoers often slips past unnoticed. The problem for the visitor to Vienna, of course, is that nearly all theater productions are in German.
Exceptions exist, though.
The English Theatre
(The entrance; press photo © Vienna’s English Theatre)
Founded in 1963, Vienna’s English Theatre has the distinction of being the oldest of its kind in mainland Europe. Productions are in English, but French and Italian performances have featured in the past.
Some of the world’s greatest acting talents have appeared at the English Theatre, including Oscar-winners Judi Dench and Anthony Quinn, as well as the likes of Larry Hagman and Jean-Paul Belmondo.
Open House Theatre
Reflecting the cultural heritage of the city, Open House Theatre is an association that puts on theatrical and other productions in different venues but also acts as a platform and support for creative collaborations.
Performances have a strong international flavour and are usually in English. The remit varies from contemporary to classic, though one fixed tradition is an annual production of A Christmas Carol.
(The Burgtheater viewed from the Rathausplatz)
The most famous of the German-language theatres is the Burgtheater, opposite city hall, which has a long and illustrious history.
Though the actors only speak in German (as befits what is essentially the national theatre), the Burgtheater Prompt app delivers English surtitles to your smartphone for selected performances.