The theatre had made the offer at a September press conference but the chance to combine two favourite German pasttimes of saving money and stepping out naked proved irresistable to the country’s army of nudists.
In a statement, organisers said they were worried that nudist FKK groups had planned to hijack the performances “for their own self-promotion, which has nothing to do with theatre, music or the meaning of the work.”
Though the premier is not until October 31, the theatre sensed a disproportionate interest from nudist groups.
Director Christian von Götz said he wanted the musical to provoke the audience, as had the play on which it is based, Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler’s Reigen.
Schnitzler’s play, an unflinching look at sexual mores, scandalised Europe when it was performed in the early 20th century.
“At first we found the idea (of a nude audience) original. It was like an artistic mirror to our piece,” von Götz said.
But after consideration, they feared it would end up being a “theatre scandal of a whole different kind”, he said.
Naked will run until November 27 in Bremen.
Schnitzler’s original play was banned even before its first performance in Berlin in 1912 due to public outrage.
The ban was lifted in 1921 but Schnitzler himself prohibited further performances after his death in 1931. This ban stood until 1982.