Die unendliche Geschichte
Die unendliche Geschichte
© Christina Baumann-Canaval

The neverending Story

Michael Ende

Adapted for the stage by John von Düffel / Music by Katrin Schweiger

Austrian premiere: 4 February 2023 / Salzburg State Theatre


“The Neverending Story”, written by Michael Ende, is a grand fantastic journey, a philosophical text and a drama set in an imaginary world. Michael Ende’s heirs have authorised a new stage version, the only validated adaptation and the first to combine both parts of the novel, translating the plot to the intrinsic magic of the theatre stage. The Salzburg State Theatre presents the Austrian premiere of this version.

In real life, Bastian Bux is a chubby child who seeks refuge from his bullying classmates in the antiquarian book store of Mr Coreander. There, he discovers a strange book that seems to magically attract him: “The Neverending Story”. The story takes him to Fantastica, an imaginary world threatened by the Nothing. He meets Atreyu, the Childlike Empress and all the fascinating creatures of the parallel world of Fantastica.

“Poetry is the creative ability of humans to experience and recognise themselves in the world and the world in themselves,” noted Michael Ende. For generations of readers, his novel was an experience of enlightenment about how they perceived the world. The stage adaptation presented at the Salzburg State Theatre offers an opportunity to discover – or rediscover – the protagonist’s quest for meaning and all the fantastic creatures he meets along the way.

Michael Ende (1929–1995) was one of the most successful German writers of his time. His heirs entrusted John von Düffel, one of the most-performed stage writers in German-speaking countries, with the task of transforming both parts of the novel into a stage version.

Carl Philip von Maldeghem, the Salzburg State Theatre’s resident composer Katrin Schweiger, stage and costume designer Christian Floeren and Richard Panzenböck together create a dramatic and musical world that sees fantasies emerge and fade on the theatre stage with all its magical possibilities.

Duration: 2 hours and 20 minutes with one pause