The Anthroposophical Theatre of Rudolf and Marie Steiner

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)


Although Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) never used the term “religion” to define his occult worldview, Anthroposophy, his four Anthroposophical mystery dramas were written to achieve a religious purpose: they represented Steiner’s descriptions of a supersensory world peopled with spiritual beings. Steiner taught that human beings can develop the power of clairvoyance and perceive this supersensible realm.1 For Steiner, theatre was an intermediary that, as Faivre puts it, serves to reveal the mundus imaginalis, “render the invisible visible,” and enlarge the initiate’s “prosaic vision.”2


Physical Body Human Soul Spiritual Development Spirit World Speech Formation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Rudolf Steiner, The True Nature of the Second Coming (1904; reprint, London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971), 48.Google Scholar
  2. See also Rudolf Steiner, Theosophy: An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destination of Man (New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1971);Google Scholar
  3. Rudolf Steiner, An Outline of Occult Science (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1972).Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    Antoine Faivre, Access to Western Esotericism (Albany: State University of New York, 1994), 13.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    Rudolf Steiner, quoted in Rex Raabe, Arne Klingborg, and Ake Fant, Eloquent Concrete (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), 31.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Frantisek Deak, Symbolist Theater: Formation of an Avant-Garde (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 171–177.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Maria Carlson, “No Religion Higher Than the Truth”: A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia, 1875–1922 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 177.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Michael Chekhov, On the Technique of Acting (New York: Harper Perennial, 1991), 74–77.;Google Scholar
  9. see also Franc Chamberlain, Michael Chekhov (London: Routledge, 2004).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 12.
    Cees Leijenhorst, “Steiner, Rudolf,” in Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 1085.Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    Johannes Hemleben, Rudolf Steiner: A Documentary Biography (East Grinstead, Sussex: Henry Goulden, 1975).Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    Rudolf Steiner, Goethe’s Conception of the World (New York: Haskell House, 1973), 189.Google Scholar
  13. 17.
    Rob Creese, “Anthroposophical Performance,” Drama Review, Occult and Bizarre 22. 2 (June 1978): 46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 20.
    Annie Besant to Wilhelm Hübbe-Schleiden, June 7, 1907, quoted in Rudolf Steiner, Rosicrucianism Renewed: The Unity of Art Science and Religion, edited by Joan deRis Allen (Great Barrington, MA: Steinerbooks, 2007), 24.Google Scholar
  15. 22.
    Rudolf Steiner, “Virgin Sophia and the Holy Spirit,” in The Essential Steiner: Basic Writings of Rudolf Steiner, edited by Robert A. McDermott (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1984), 283.Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    Roland Edighoffer, “Rosicrucianism I: First Half of the 17th Century,” in Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 1009.Google Scholar
  17. 27.
    Rudolf Steiner, Die Pforte der Einweihung, in Mysteriendramen, vol. 1 (1910; reprint, Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1998), 9.Google Scholar
  18. 31.
    Rudolf Steiner, An Autobiography (1923–1925; reprint, New York: Steinerbooks, 1977), 29.Google Scholar
  19. 33.
    Rudolf Steiner, Theosophy: An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destination of Man (New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1971), 79.Google Scholar
  20. 49.
    Ninian Smart, The World’s Religions: Old Traditions and Modern Transformations (1989; reprint, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 215–216.Google Scholar
  21. 50.
    Rudolf Steiner, The Influences of Lucifer and Ahriman: Human Responsibility for the Earth, trans. D. S. Osmond, revised translation edition (Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1993), 17–26.Google Scholar
  22. 53.
    Georg Hartmann, The Goetheanum Glass-windows, 2nd ed. (Dornach: Philosophisch-Anthroposophischer Verlag, 1993), 27.Google Scholar
  23. 58.
    Rudolf Steiner, The True Nature of the Second Coming, trans. D. S. Osmond and Charles Davy, 2nd ed. (1961; reprint, London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971), 32.Google Scholar
  24. 68.
    Rudolf Steiner, The Arts and Their Mission (New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1964), 81.Google Scholar
  25. 88.
    Rudolf Steiner, The Threefold Social Order (1966; reprint, New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1972). Originally published in 1919 as Die Kernpunkte der socialen Fragen.Google Scholar
  26. 106.
    Rudolf Steiner, “The Character of Goethe’s Spirit as Shown in the Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily,” trans. Adam Bittleston, in The Time is at Hand! The Rosicrucian Nature of Goethe’s Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily and the Mystery Dramas of Rudolf Steiner (Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1995), 103, 160–161.Google Scholar
  27. 109.
    Rudolf Steiner, The Guardian of the Threshold, in Four Mystery Plays, trans. H. Collison, S. M. K. Gandell, and R. T. Gladstone, vol. 2 (New York, Knickerbocker Press, 1920), 6.Google Scholar
  28. 110.
    Waltraud Bartscht, Goethe’s “Das Marchen”: Translation and Analysis (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1972), 38.Google Scholar
  29. 113.
    Rudolf Steiner, Entwürfe zu dem Rosenkreuzermysterium: Die Pforte der Einweihung (Domach: Steiner Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1954), 11–12.Google Scholar
  30. 123.
    Rex Raab, Arne Klingborn, and Ake Fant, Eloquent Concrete (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  31. 136.
    Rudolf Steiner, A Lecture on Eurythmy (1967; reprint, London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1977), 10.Google Scholar
  32. 140.
    Hans Pusch, A New Kind of Actor (New York: Mercury Press, 1998), 9.Google Scholar
  33. 143.
    John Bowker, “Religion,” in The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), xv–xvi.Google Scholar
  34. 149.
    Richard Rosenheim, The Eternal Drama: A Comprehensive Treatise on the Syngetic History of Humanity, Dramatics, and Theatre (New York: Philosophical Library, 1952), 269.Google Scholar
  35. 151.
    Steiner, Über die Mysteriendramen: Die Pforte der Einweihung und Die Prufung der Seele (Dornach: Verlag der Rudolf Steiner-Nachverwaltung, 1964), 21.Google Scholar
  36. 153.
    Edouard Schuré, The Genesis of Tragedy and the Sacred Drama of Eleusis (New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1936), 251.Google Scholar
  37. 154.
    Gerould and Kosicka, “Drama of the Unseen—Turn-of-the-Century Paradigms for Occult Drama,” in The Occult in Language and Literature (New York: New York Literary Forum, 1980), 14.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Edmund B. Lingan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations