Johann August Mouson founded the soap and perfume factory that carried his name on December 5th 1798. Cosmetic products such as shaving soap, rice powder, lavender water and toothpaste were manufactured here and successfully marketed well into the 1960s. The Mouson company’s most successful product was developed after the First World War: Mouson Cream – the cream that goes deep.
The Mousonturm itself was built according to a design by the architects Gärtner and Wollmann in 1924/1925 as an extension on the Mouson factory grounds. At a height of 33 meters and seven floors, it was Frankfurt's first high-rise. After the company relocated its production in 1972, the Mouson grounds became a plaything for changing investment interests. All factory buildings were torn down by 1976, except for the Mousonturm. The fact that the expressionist clinker brick building with its pointed and triangular ornaments is still standing is due not least of all to heritage conservation.
In 1977, Dieter Buroch and the Omnibus artists’ group drew attention to the possibility of using the building for cultural events during a nine-day festival. The public and the press were both enthusiastic, and the politicians also began to consider the “culture factory” project. However, it took an entire decade before the idea was finally realized. The fact that the idea of a 'culture factory' was ultimately able to assert itself was also due to the persistence of the city’s Cultural Affairs Officer of the time, Hilmar Hoffmann; he was the political mentor and father of the project.
On December 29th 1988, the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm was opened as a performance and production venue for national and international independent artists from the fields of dance, theater, performance, music, cabaret, literature and visual arts under the artistic directorship of Dieter Buroch. After 23 years of service, in which he made an immense impact on cultural life in Frankfurt and gave the city impulses for the future, Buroch retired from his position in December 2011.
In January 2012, Niels Ewerbeck became the Mousonturm’s new artistic and managing director. He had been working as a dramaturge, artistic and managing director at production centers for the independent scene in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Zurich since 1994. In order to meet the complex requirements of current stage art, over the last eight months Ewerbeck had the building renovated and the theater enlarged and modernized from the ground up. Niels Ewerbeck died on the 2nd October 2012.
On request by Prof. Dr. Felix Semmelroth, Department Head for Culture and Mousonturm GmbH Chairman of the Supervisory Board, the interim executive manager position was taken over by Martina Leitner until a new Mousonturm artistic and managing director could be found. The dramaturges Martine Dennewald and Marcus Droß served as artistic directors for the same period.
Since August 1st 2013, Matthias Pees is the new Mousonturm artistic and managing director. He developed the program for the anniversary season, Mousonturm’s 25th, with Martine Dennewald und Marcus Droß.
About Matthias Pees
Pees initially worked as a freelance journalist and theater critic before becoming part of the artistic directing team at the Volksbühne Berlin under Frank Castorf as house-dramaturge from 1995 until 2000 and from 2000 until 2003 as dramaturge of the artistic director at the schauspielhannover under Wilfried Schulz. In 2003 and 2004, he was programme dramaturge and curator for the Ruhr Festival Recklinghausen under Frank Castorf. In 2004, he moved to São Paulo, Brazil, where he was executive director of the production office interior Producoes Artísticas Internacionais for international cultural exchange with which he created and realized projects in the fields of theater, dance, opera and visual arts until 2010. From 2008 until 2012, he was artistic advisor to the Vienna Festival for Latin America and curated theater festivals at the Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin. From 2010 until 2013, Matthias Pees was leading dramaturge of the Vienna Festival under Luc Bondy and Stefanie Carp, as well as curator of the forumfestwochen.