Memmingen’s cultural landscape is extremely diverse and is supported to the same degree by voluntary organisers as well as by municipal sponsorship. As well as being a source of artistic treasures, the Swabian Regional Theatre, the town’s museums, galleries and exhibitions, concert series and festivals, the programmes of events of churches, associations and independent cultural organisations all open up a varied cultural spectrum that has something to offer for every art lover and culture enthusiast.
Diversity is the key in Memmingen’s cultural circle. A variety of amateur groups, who play music together, put on drama productions or find their balance in the fine arts can be seen alongside the professional range of nationally and internationally renowned artists who are attracted to the town throughout the year. By means of much publicised concert series, excellent organ recitals in the large churches give church music the same standing as classical music and jazz have achieved. The spoken word finds its place not only on the stages of the Swabian Regional Theatre, but also on one of the traditional cabaret stages as well as at public readings in the town’s libraries, bookshops and halls.
The people of Memmingen consider their artists to be worth an award. The “Memmingen Cultural Award” has been regularly awarded since 1977. It is a reward for artistic dedication in and for Memmingen. Its list of names is proof of the wide spectrum of cultural life in Memmingen – ranging from theatre to music to fine arts.
In Memmingen people go to the theatre – and there is a tradition surrounding this. In 1803 the people of Memmingen founded their own municipal theatre, which is now the Swabian Regional Theatre, in the former arsenal. The Swabian Regional Theatre offers a varied and rich-in-contrast programme with a repertoire that ranges from antiquity to the present day, from classics to rock operas.
During the development work carried out on the Elsbethen area, the town of Memmingen invested twelve million euros into upgrading the municipal theatre. Since its opening on 10.10.10, the Swabian Regional Theatre has had a new studio stage on the second floor, new rehearsal rooms, new workshops, new warehouse premises, new offices for administration, a theatre courtyard for open-air events and a new restaurant with an outdoor seating area in Elsbethenhof.
On account of the immense commitment shown and its contagious innovative spirit, the Swabian Regional Theatre has earned itself a reputation that extends far beyond the region.
Since the end of the 1970s, cabaret has also had a firm base in Memmingen. The “alternative cabaret Memmingen e.V.” association operates the Parterretheater im Künerhaus and offers an ambitious programme from cabaret to comedy, from music to literature.
The Kleinkunstbühne Straubing - since 2012 called Kleinkunstbühne Memmingen - is also presenting at different locations in the city a programme with cabaret, comedy, theatre, concerts and literature.
The "Kulturwerkstatt Memmingen e.V." association offers workshops and cultural programme in a little theatre at the Schweizerberg.
Music enthusiasts will find that the town offers a wide-range of interesting concert series. For over five years it has been the “Memmingen Concert Series e.V.” that has delighted classical music fans with the Memmingen concert series. Memmingen is also famous for its church music. The concert programmes of the protestant parish of St. Martin and the events offered by the sponsorship group which supports organ and church music in St. Josef’s Church mean that there are two top-class series of events with renowned soloists and ensembles. The summer organ cult tour in St. Martin also opens up the opportunity of combining history and music. Jazz enthusiasts rate the “Jazz Art Memmingen e.V.” programme highly. For years, the association has succeeded in attracting big names in contemporary jazz which has created a special concert atmosphere outside of the metropolises. Major concerts with stars from the rock, pop and musical scene are guests at Memmingen’s civic hall and at the ice rink. Memmingen’s Kaminwerk Cultural Centre appeals to young and old audiences with its multimedia and multicultural events.
Ateliers and galleries, artists’ associations and exhibitions contribute to Memmingen keeping its long tradition of artists and sculptors alive even in the modern age. Throughout the year, the most diverse art projects of local and non-local artists are presented in the “MeWo Alte Post Art Gallery”, in the Antoniersaal, in the Kreuzherrnsaal, in Parishaus but also in more surprising locations too.
The annual “Memmingen Mile” communal cultural festival invites non-local artists as well as local big names to a summer festival. The town’s urban squares and courtyards, its halls and churches are turned into stages for theatrical productions, music, art and comedy at the end of June / beginning of July. There is also space for experimental events alongside classical productions. A welcome addition to the artistic and cultural enjoyment factor is that the festival is a way for visitors to meet and socialise.
Every two years, the Parterretheater in Künerhaus PiK and the Memmingen Podium initiative organises the very successful “Memmingen Cabaret Festival”. For about three weeks, the big names on the cabaret scene meet in Memmingen. The “Memmingen Mouth” prize is awarded at the end.