In addition to classic walks, city tours and museum tours, I also like to slip into the role of famous Viennese personalities.

These tours cannot be booked regularly!

300th anniversary of
Maria Theresia, 2017

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Maria Theresia 300. Geburtstag © Wehr & Wehr
Maria Theresia 300. Geburtstag © Wehr & Wehr
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© Wehr & Wehr
© Wehr & Wehr
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On the occasion of the 300th birthday of the most famous »Empress« from the Habsburg family, I slipped into the role of »Mother of the Nation« for a special, exclusive 30-minute Segway tour on May 13, 2017.

Make-up and hairstyling were done quite unpretentiously by »us« without the help of maids, »Her Majesty« only needed help with getting dressed in the Segway shop.

While my servants trained the guests on the devices, »we« could briefly enjoy the sun and then drove ahead of the foot soldiers to our Schönbrunn summer palace with the Silver Arrow (the Vienna subway). Because an empress doesn’t ride a Segway! There »we« received the subjects, posed as always for the onlookers and then »we« chatted with the illustrious guests about this and that and much more – such as about »our« petticoats.

Further contributors: 
Andrea Pintsuk and Quendrim Balaj, Segway Parkring
Wolfgang Horak, tour guide
Costume: Lambert Hofer Kostümverleih
With the kind support of WK Wien, Fachgruppe Freizeit- und Sportbetriebe
Courtesy of Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebs GmbH
Photos: Wehr & Wehr Grafikdesign

Speaking Statues

Vienna’s »Speaking Statues« invited onlookers, tourists and Viennese to a dialogue between 2017 and 2019. The specialist group of leisure and sports companies of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce organized these free two-hour monument tours in cooperation with spaceandplace and austriaguides. A different Grätzl was played every year.

Monuments and statues shape the Viennese cityscape and are popular (selfie) hotspots for many tourists. In addition, the Viennese have also grown fond of »their« stone witnesses. »We want to see our city from a new, unfamiliar perspective and find out what we can learn from it,« says Eugene Quinn from spaceandplace, who developed the program. For this, some statues were »brought to life« by austriaguides and chatted with the guests – very often giving away secrets.

2017: Around the Imperial Palace

Speaking Statues 2017 © Wehr & Wehr
© Wehr & Wehr
Speaking Statues 2017 © Wehr & Wehr
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There are countless monuments around the Hofburg. You can’t make up your mind with this abundance!

Try again! Because there aren’t that many female statues on this area. Just two, to be precise: Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) and »Empress« Maria Theresa. After I never really »warmed« to Sisi in all these years, and I had already played Maria Theresa that year, it was clear to me which role I would slip into: that of the Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Bohemia and Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Gallicia, Lodomeria, Duchess of Burgundy, Steyer, Carinthia and Crain, Grand Duchess of Transylvania etc. etc.

Further contributors:
Alfred Kremsbrugger as Abraham a Santa Clara
Michael Weihs as Emperor Franz Joseph I. of Austria-Hungary
Elisabeth Wolf as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Catherine Bitai as Emperor Franz I. Stephan
Matthias Hink as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Jascha Novak as Franz Grillparzer
Susanna Oberforcher as Empress Elisabeth of Austria
Wolfgang Horak as Archduke Karl of Austria-Teschen
Concept: Eugene Quinn/spaceandplace
Funding: WK Wien, Fachgruppe Freizeit- und Sportbetriebe
Costumes: Lambert Hofer Kostümverleih
Photos: Wehr & Wehr Grafikdesign

2018: Around City Park

Speaking Statues 2018 © Raphael Sperl/tricky.pics
Speaking Statues 2018 © Raphael Sperl/tricky.pics
Speaking Statues 2018 © Raphael Sperl/tricky.pics
Speaking Statues 2018 © Raphael Sperl/tricky.pics
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It may be surprising – but there is only one single statue of a woman in the city park, namely of the Danube Mermaid – and she is depicted very naked, shows a lot of skin and wears hardly any fabric.

No, I didn’t depict this figure after all. But since there are only three (!!) fully sculptural monuments for women in all of Vienna, two of which were already depicted in the previous year and the third woman monument is far away in the Türkenschanzpark (Auguste Fickert), we had to pull a lady out of the hat for me. Therefore I was supposed to appear without a monument. As whoever.

However, we did not have to think hard, as the famous Austrian landscape painter Emil Jakob Schindler, to whom a monument is dedicated in the city park, had an even more famous daughter, Alma Schindler, better known as Alma Mahler-Werfel. Et voilà – my figure to represent was determined. Alma was able to appear together with her beloved papa! And one thing was immediately clear: I needed a very large hat!

Further contributors:
Robert Sedlacek as Ludwig van Beethoven
Susanna Oberforcher as »Autumn«
Achim Ferrandina as Emil Jakob Schindler
Elisabeth Wolf as Johann Strauss Son
Catherine Bitai as Hans Makart
Matthias Hink as Franz Schubert
Jascha Novak as Dr. Karl Lueger
Wolfgang Horak as Field marshall Josef Wenzel Radetzky of Radetz
Concept: Eugene Quinn/spaceandplace
Funding: WK Wien, Fachgruppe Freizeit- und Sportbetriebe
Costumes: Lambert Hofer Kostümverleih
Photos: Raphael Sperl/tricky.pics

More photos here.

2019: Around Karlsplatz

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And again I was faced with the same problem as the year before: there is no women’s monument anywhere on Karlsplatz!

But once again, it didn’t take us long to make multiple connections to a famous Viennese woman: Hedy Lamarr! Because she got married to her first husband in the St. Charles Church on Karlsplatz and, together with the musician George Antheil, developed the frequency hopping method, the basis of today’s Bluetooth technology. So she was also very tech-savvy. If she had wanted to, she would have studied physics at the Technical University of Vienna on Karlsplatz.

However, she decided on a diametrical career: Hollywood star, popular cover girl, trendsetter, fashion icon and most beautiful woman in the world. She was courted by Hollywood, idolized by the public and coveted by men – until at some point she saw herself as a goddess.

Further contributors:
Alfred Kremsbrugger as Alexander Girardi
Margit Kaya as Helene Odilon
Franz Schnedl as Siegfried Marcus
Maria Roniger as Clara Schumann
Matthias Hink as Johannes Brahms
Susanna Oberforcher as »Angel«
Jascha Novak as Sowjet Soldier
Conzept: Eugene Quinn/spaceandplace
Funding: WK Wien, Fachgruppe Freizeit- und Sportbetriebe
Costume: Lambert Hofer Kostümverleih
Photos: Wehr & Wehr Grafikdesign

History walks, 2020

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© Wolfgang Pecka
© Martha Schmiedl
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In 2020 everything was different. The original speaking statue concept could not be implemented in the end because of the outbreak of the corona pandemic. The chosen area was no longer available in the planned way and this time the characters had to take individual walks with a limited number of participants – and unfortunately we could not appear all together on the same tour. That is why the project was renamed »History walks«.

Really everything was different! And it had to be implemented very quickly. Because you could never know how the situation and the measures would develop in the few weeks of lead time. So I fell back on an »old friend« and played again Alma Mahler-Werfel. For an hour and a half I was allowed to show interested people Alma’s Vienna on a walk.

And I was able to do a second walk. Not alone, but together with a great Viennese personality who, unfortunately, is only known to a few: Carolina Catharina Obertimpfler, later the first wife of the architect Adolf Loos, she became known under the name Lina Loos. This walk together with my contemporary and friend Lina Loos was the personal highlight of my »costume tours career« so far.

Further contributors:
Martina Autengruber as Constanze von Breuning
Susanna Oberforcher as Auguste Fickert
Marcelo Abraham as Ritter Adolf von Guttenberg
Peter Heuritsch as Plague Doctor
Elke Papp as Lina Loos
Matthias Hink as Franz Schubert
Jascha Novak as Egon Schiele
Martha Schmiedl, moderation
Funding: WK Wien, Fachgruppe Freizeit- und Sportbetriebe
Costume: Lambert Hofer Kostümverleih
Photos: Wehr & Wehr GrafikdesignWolfgang PeckaMartha Schmiedl

Further photos here.