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The Theatre Hotel

Austria's biggest school charity is organised by tourism students - Konstantin Wecker crowns 2018 with a charity concert

Theaterhotel Wien Banquet Preparations  
School kids living hospitality: Preparations for the
big night in February 2018 are in full swing.
/ photo: schedl theaterhotel 2015

 

Vienna (December 8, 2017). The history of this Theatre Hotel is unique. Artists made the beginning, but it was the school students at HLTW13 Bergheidengasse in Vienna who turned it into the biggest school charity in Austria – which today even has an impact in Asia. Next time too, at the eleventh event on Saturday, 17 February 2018, school students will cook for and serve around 1,000 guests. For years, around 200 young people have, for one evening only, turned the Austria Trend Hotel Savoyen in Vienna into a unique backdrop for music, man and mankind. The highpoint 2018: a concert with the famous singer songwriter Konstantin Wecker. hospitalityInside.com is supporting the Theatre Hotel with a media partnership. Because unusual activities require unusual reporting.

The abbreviation HLTW 13 stands for Höhere Bundeslehranstalt für Tourismus und Wirtschaft, Wien 13 (www.hltw13.at), in English: the Federal Institute for Advanced Tourism and Business Studies, Vienna 13. It provides training in hospitality and catering management, marketing management in tourism, leisure and tourism management and after five years of study culminates in the Austrian High School Diploma (Matura). This allows the student to progress to further training in tourism. As of 1996, it has also included a hotel academy which provides specialist training in catering management. Germany and Switzerland do not have a comparable school.

As one of the newest and largest social and service industry-focused schools in Austria, it aims to make responsible, flexible, team-focused and socially competent personalities of the young people attending. To this end, teaching and learning is supplemented by various after-school social projects – like the Theatre Hotel.

  Kuchernig Hoffmann Helmut vor Foto Karl Markovics
  Professor Helmut Kuchernig-Hoffmann in front of Karl
Markovics' photo. The actor continues Otto Tausig's rich
heritage. He truly loved the Theatre Hotel.

"We produce young Europeans who are capable of acting internationally with competence in languages and inter-cultural understanding”, Prof Helmut Kuchernig-Hoffman describes proudly. The Head of Department for Hotel and Catering Management is a founding member of the Theatre Hotel and its emotional motor.

The Theatre Hotel was launched in 2008 as the politically and socially active actor Otto Tausig delivered a much applauded couplet by Johann Nestroy to a densely packed audience in the breakfast room of the Hotel Stadthalle Vienna. This gave Helmut Kuchernig-Hoffmann the idea of bringing together culture and cuisine. Since then, school students have regularly visited theatre productions, cabaret programmes, readings and concerts and go behind the scenes – and not only in Vienna. HLTW 13 has for years brought more than 120 pupils to Berlin to attend the world's largest tourism trade fair, the ITB, before then going on to visit Berlin's cultural attractions. Inspired by these trips, the young people have made the Theatre Hotel a fixed element on Vienna's cultural calendar.

Over EUR 240,000 in donations to tackle child poverty

Over the past ten years, various small events and activities have established themselves around the Theatre Hotel – all benefit events. Thanks to the various sponsors who support the Theatre Hotel, and ever higher visitor numbers, in 2016, revenue of around EUR 300,000 was generated. Of this, around EUR 240,000 was passed on as donations to social projects.

In recent years, the money has been spent on building villages in India (VOR/Village Organization Reconstruction), for quarry children's projects in Bangalore/India, for the purchase of musical instruments for the Caritas orchestra Superar and for winter aid for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Theaterhotel Wien Bankett  
The big night: art and culture against poverty. The school's donations 
support children in India and other countries.

 

Austria Trend Hotels & Resorts have made its Hotel Savoyen available as Theatre Hotel since 2010. Six months before beginning of the event, the school students take on responsibility for organisation: From management to housekeeping, everything is the responsibility of the school children. With maximum possible independence, menus are designed and cooked, banquet plans are drawn up, the sale of tickets organised and communication promoted on all channels. All of this happens in daily after-school team meetings and in innumerable voluntary extra-hours spent at home in front of the PC...

Highlight 2018: Concert with Konstantin Wecker

On 17 February, the school students will give it their best. The event consists of two parts. In the morning, the Theatre Hotel has invited more than 500 guests to a Kultur.Lunch. This means an early start for a Viennese breakfast, a great stage programme with more than 20 musicians and a fine lunch to round things off. As morning guests leave, the Theatre Hotel team must then prepare everything for the evening event.

The evening gala "A Tribute to Otto Tausig" – dedicated to the actor who passed away in 2011 – gets closer by the minute. At 5 p.m., guests are invited for an aperitif and dinner. More than 500 guests will attend the banquet. Shortly after 7 p.m., the 3-hour concert with Konstantin Wecker will begin. The 550 tickets were sold out in no time. And everyone is extremely excited! "These school students are the most passionate you can imagine – they really give it their all", the professor says proudly.

  Ufuk Arslan
  Konstantin Wecker's charity concert will be the highlight
for all.
/ photo: Ufuk Arslan

The German singer-songwriter will go on to present his novel "The Sound of Unplayed Notes" – with music and silence. A literary and musical delight as crowning presentation from the Theatre Hotel.

Lots of responsibility
on just a few shoulders

In the background to the event, around 200 school students between the ages of 14 and 19 have worked for months. 20 "super student apprentices" who are just 12 or 13 years old and who have generally applied for the mega event during the February open-day, also work on the final event. Jennifer Goeller reports. Many parents come with their children to the open-day to take a look at the school – and register their child's interest.

Jennifer Goeller is responsible for communication in the 13-man team – all school students in their final year with focus on hotel and catering management. "One week before the event, everybody is on edge", she reports smiling, knowing very much what to expect from her predecessors... The management team organises the complete event, looks for and contacts old and new sponsors, creates the menu, does the shopping, prepares the kitchen, designs the PR (via website, magazine, social media), writes all eMails...

Professor Kuchernig-Hoffmann provides his input on ideas and advises on appointment planning. His two colleagues from the banquet and kitchen department help the young people to find the right dimensions for the event. "We don’t have the practical experience for this", Jennifer Goeller says, "but basically, we’re responsible for everything ourselves".

Theaterhotel Wien Schueler kochen  
Cooking for art: The school students organise the Theatre Hotel
in full responsibility - in their leisure time.
/ photos (3): HLTW 13   

 

Recognition by OEHV
and companies

The Austrian Hoteliers Association (OEHV) last year named the Theatre Hotel an honorary member, but many other Austrian companies show their respect for the initiative and for the school with sponsoring. This also includes, from the hospitality industry, the Verkehrsbuero Group and Austria Trend Hotels (details on the website www.dastheaterhotel.at).

"The Theatre Hotel each year brings together social commitments with the education and training of young people", Martin Pfeifer says, Director of the Austria Trend Hotel Savoyen: "We are proud that the event has taken place in our hotel since 2010 and are very pleased to be able to support this extraordinary project".

Now, Professor Kuchernig-Hoffmann would like to draw the attention of companies outside Austria to his motivated school students looking to train and complete apprenticeships with major chains and individual hotels. Anyone wishing to support the professor and his passionate pupils, please contact helmut.kuchernig@chello.at. / map

 

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