The Gast und Kulturhaus Der Teufelhof Basel opened in 1989. The former owners, Monica and Dominique Thommy-Kneschaurek have thus fulfilled a lifetime dream.
The Teufelhof Basel occupies two interconnected historic houses in Basel Old Town and offers two hotels, two restaurants (one of which has been awarded a Michelin star), a theatre, a wine shop, a café, a bar and the archaeological cellar. Culture is also found throughout the establishment. It is worth noting of the Teufelhof that its creators did not come directly from the hospitality industry.
Having decided that theatre should not be understood as a cultural island, but as an element that participates actively in the life of the city, Dominique Thommy and his partner Albert leVice built the first mobile small theatre in 1967: ‘Das schiefe Theater’ was a special construction on wheels, which unfolded into an enclosed, sound-insulated theatre hall, accommodated an audience of 120 and had a fully equipped stage. ‘Das schiefe Theater’ appeared in places where theatre was not expected at that time: in the midst of everyday life in city centres. Monica and Dominique Thommy-Kneschaurek met during this intense period. ‘Das schiefe Theater’ had its premiere in Basel in October 1968. In the following seven years, they went all over Europe with leVice and his wife and played to more than 90,000 audience members in more than 1,100 performances. After the intensive period of travelling with ‘Das schiefe Theater’, the couple wanted to settle down.
The question for them was how to run a theatre at a permanent site and design a programme that depended neither on subsidies nor on superficial crowd-pleasers. They found the solution by coming up with the idea of self-subsidising the theatre by operating it alongside a café and restaurant business. They started out by running the Kaffee zum Teufel in Basel only to then create something bigger and grander 14 years later – the Kultur und Gasthaus der Teufelhof.
They pursued their goal with loving obstinacy, despite objections that lasted over six years and were resolved in their favour in front of a federal court. And so the Teufelhof became what it is today.
The main objective at the Kultur und Gasthaus der Teufelhof Basel is to pique curiosity and to be a broker between personalities and their quality products as well as the guests. Both in the area of gastronomy and also in that of theatre and the visual arts. The theatre visitor should be made aware of the dining culture and the visual arts, the gourmets made curious about the theatre work as well as the art rooms and exhibitions, while admirers of art installations were taught to appreciate the arts of cooking and stage.
What’s more, the dining and hotel operations continue to finance the art. This makes the Teufelhof unique. On 1 January 2009, the Teufelhof passed into new ownership. The Thommys sold the hotel to two former employees, Nathalie Reinhardt and Raphael Wyniger. Today they rund the Teufelhof, bring in new ideas and concepts without forgetting the tradition.