The Berliner Ensemble was founded by Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel in 1949, following the much acclaimed production of Brecht's play Mother Courage. After Brecht's return from exile the company first worked at Wolfgang Langhoff's Deutsches Theater (Schumannstrasse). In 1954, it moved to its own home at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. Here Brecht directed his plays The Caucasian Chalk Circle and, together with Erich Engel, The Life of Galileo. After Brecht's death in 1956, Helene Weigel continued as the company's artistic manager. Productions included The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Coriolanus and The Mother. Ruth Berghaus became artistic director in the 1970s. Manfred Wekwerth replaced her as artistic director in 1977. In 1992, under the new artistic management of Matthias Langhoff, Fritz Marquardt, Heiner Maller, Peter Palitzsch, and Peter Zadek, the Berliner Ensemble changed from a state-owned theater into a private, limited company subsidized by the city government. Maller died in December 1995, and Claus Peymann was appointed as director / manager, and re-opened the theatre in January 2000 following extensive renovation work.
Reference: University of Birmingham, Special Collections Department, Online Archive Catalogue (http://calm.bham.ac.uk/DServeA/). Accessed May 2002.