In 1955 Carl Kaufmann had already completed his training as a tenor at the Music Academy in Karlsruhe and was taking a course in Theatre Studies. He later studied sport at the University of Karlsruhe. He financed his studies by appearing with Franz Alt (now an author and journalist) as an entertainer.  In those days Franz Alt was a magician, a member of the Magic Circle, whereas Kaufmann entertained his audience with accounts of his travels as an athlete and his singing.


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'Tens of thousands have attended our entertainment evenings and were bowled over by the world-class athlete, Carl Kaufmann. Thank you, dear Charly, for your lifelong friendship.'

Franz Alt



As a fully trained tenor, Carl Kaufmann originally wanted to take up a career in the arts. Indeed like many other sportsmen of his time he started to record hit songs ('One night in Taomina 'and 'Love joins the race') but he did not want to be seen as another cabaret-singer. He went through a difficult time with his manager from whom he separated after a 3-month visit to New York. As he did not want to spend long periods of time away from his family, he decided not to continue his career as a singer but become a teacher. As described in the 'career section' of this website, he founded the amateur theatre, The Owls 'Die Käuze', to maintain his links with the performing arts. Most of his time in the theatre was spent directing plays but occasionally he would tread the boards himself. He had set himself the task of introducing young-people to the theatre, emphasizing the shared enjoyment which derives from theatrical production. It became the focus of his life. He was a demanding theatre director who had an eye for detail. At times he displayed a fiery temperament but he was passionate about his work, puttng his heart and soul into the project.


'The time you have sacrificed for your rose has made the rose so important.'

Antoine de Saint Exupéry


Some reflections on the work of the theatre:

An extract from:

Käuze im Nebel (Owls in the mist)

- 12 weeks from the start of rehearsals to the premiere

September 2002: Meeting in the 'Owls Theatre '.  We're working on the Christmas show and everyone is hard at work. Traditionally we perform a children's show for Christmas.  The lavishness of the production is also part of this tradition. We're producing 'Jungle Book', albeit a completely new version of the musical.'

'Don't stand there looking like a tenor. What? Don't get on stage and sing with a Pavarotti-like expression. That does not look too clever in theatrical terms'

'During rehearsals we sit in the auditorium with our scripts.' You need to pronounce 'important' as 'important' and not as 'impor(t)ant'. You are the 'King of the Apes' not the 'Kin' of the Apes'. You should say Du (you), Che 'not 'Du-che .The Duche (ll Duche) was a completely different person. Don't just rattle off your lines- remember you have been abducted by apes and then escaped from them - this is an interesting story. Keep your voice up, don't put a full stop after every sentence. Comments to do with acting: 'Dominic, you are an ape! This is not a personal insult but a theatrical request and means:' Don't walk off stage in a straight line'

Everyone starts to laugh but the actors' concentration is restored immediately or almost immediately!

In the meantime some of the cast are being allocated roles. Three people are being allocated the same character so that if someone is ill there is an understudy and the actors do not have to be in every performance. After three quarters of an hour the cast go on stage and imagination is the order of the day as the scenery is non-existent and everyone is wearing their normal clothes......

The first rehearsal with the apes. There are about ten of these and most of them are also not older than ten. Two very young children are amongst them. I don't yet know the script but one of these children is quite plainly not going to turn into an ape. The apes sound more like ducks! A local outing is arranged for those playing the parts of apes and elephants - at the weekend they're off to the zoo. 'So that you can observe the movements of the animals......'

(Norbert Wingender)