Why actress and puppet theater player Manuela Linshalm feels that Alsergrund is her true home – and which corners she particularly likes.
“I feel at home here in a way that I don’t feel at all at home, in the apartment,” says Michaela Linshalm. The actress and puppeteer lives in the 11th district and appreciates her apartment very much: “The quiet, the proximity to the countryside, to the airport and the main train station, that’s worth a lot in my job if you travel a lot”, for example in Switzerland, in Germany or South Tyrol. But home, if you want to choose the term, is the city more in Alsergund, around the Schuberttheater in Währinger Straße 46 .”
Flair from times and places
The Gründerzeit buildings, the nearby Arne-Karlsson-Park with the mighty plane trees, the Caffè Milano in the same building, the district office diagonally opposite where her parents married 51 years ago – all of this creates the flair, the sense of belonging. “I grew up in the 3rd district and after interludes in the 23rd and 15th districts I happily ended up in Simmering,” says the artist.
Since 2007, the puppet theater, managed by Simon Meusburger and Lisa Zingerle, has been located in the rooms of a former cinema from the 1920s, which was converted into a porn cinema with its own film studio in the 1960s. “Until a few years ago, older men would come by looking for the Schubertkino,” says Linshalm. “The Schubert Theater was misunderstood as a live show,” she laughs. In the small theater you can see puppets from various seasons and performances that come from Linshalm, colleagues and Nikolaus Habjan, “who gave me the idea of making this a career in the first place.” mentioned Caffè Milano in the same building. “Here we celebrate, discuss, enjoy the coffee,” she says. Some colleagues would also prefer the vegan restaurant “Broselei” on Strudlhofgasse around the corner, where they get cakes and other food.
The park has become even more familiar to her since her first self-written piece “Die Welt ist ein Würstelstand” (2019) – inspired by this one on the corner of Währinger Straße/Spitalgasse. “An additional connection is created with every important event in a place,” she explains.
Once a slum
Today, with numerous institutes and dormitories, the Grätzel has long served as a place for the poor, orphans and the sick – and subsequently also for medicine and research. “In Arne-Karsson-Park, for example, there was already the infirmary St. Johann an der Als in the Middle Ages, a citizens’ supply house from 1860 to 1928,” says Linshalm, who dealt with the story as part of her play. The Strudlhofstiege (and alley) is also named after the painter Peter Strudel’s courtyard, built in 1690, which was first used as a painting school, later as a plague hospital, as a quarantine station for contagious diseases and as the “United Foundling and Nursing Home”.
Today, among other things, the Würtembergpalais is located here. Since 1910, the famous Art Nouveau staircase with a fountain has extended the street into the eleven meters lower part of the district, where a branch of the Danube flowed in earlier times. “The stairs are simply an attraction, I’ve certainly photographed them at every time of day and year,” says Linshalm. Here she likes to take a break or to go to Bauernfeldplatz “to eat well, meet friends, or simply enjoy being there.”
To the place, to the person
about that Infirmary St. Johann an der Als (Arne-Karlsson-Park) developed in middle Ages a first settlement, later the 9th District, incorporated in 1850, became known for wine, laundries and medicine. Apartments cost an average of 7864 (used) to 8503 (new) euros/m2.
Manuela Linshalm works as an actress and puppeteer, for example at the Hin und Weg theater festival in Litschau from August 12th to 21st.