As this issue goes to press, the GDR has just been united with its western neighbour in circumstances which, just a year previously, would have seemed almost as improbable as when Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel returned after the war to create the Berliner Ensemble. Käthe Rülicke-Weiler joined their dramaturgical team in 1951, and witnessed from the inside the attempt to build Brecht's ideal of a socialist theatre. Here, she talks with Matthias Braun about the personal, social, and political background to the Ensemble – which, although under the artistic direction of Brecht himself, was managed by Weigel, who was thus in the position of preventing herself from becoming a conventional ‘star’ performer. As well as dealing with the nature of Weigel's acting – and of her administrative skills – the interview assesses the contributions of Brecht's other co-workers, his own techniques as a director, and the factors (including touring under difficult post-war conditions) which led to the Ensemble's recognition as a major international company. This interview was first published in 1985 in Theater der Zeit, by whose kind permission it is here translated.