“My dream is longer than the night” at the Mercedes-Benz Museum: Charming live radio play marking the birthday of Bertha Benz

April 2019

Clear the stage for the life of a great woman: in the live radio play “My dream is longer than the night”, Susanne Theil plays the part of Bertha Benz at the Mercedes-Benz Museum from 3 to 5 May 2019. There are no fewer than two anniversaries for the wife of the inventor of the car, Carl Benz, this year: she was born 170 years ago and died 75 years ago. She received numerous honours during her lifetime. The tickets are available for advance booking via the museum box office and via the museum website at mercedes-benz.com/museum.

Flashback: Mannheim, January 1886. There is a start-up spirit in the Benz household. The husband of Bertha Benz, inventor Carl Benz, has filed a patent for his three-wheel motorcar. He is ready for series production of the first car in the world. But the world is not ready yet. The vehicle meets with strong reservations and no orders are received. Consequently, in August 1888 his wife, Bertha, secretly makes her way with the improved patent motorcar on what was at that point the longest car ride in the world: about 200 kilometres from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back. With this legendary drive she demonstrates how reliable and simple the operation of the vehicle is and that it can cover a considerable distance. This lastingly changes the development and acceptance of the car, as the trip dispels the doubts of potential buyers and offers a significant contribution to the rise of the Benz company.

A radio play transferred to the stage

The “My dream is longer than the night” live radio play brings this exciting story to the stage as a combination of theatre, reading and radio play. It will be performed four times on the first weekend of May in the Casino on the top floor of the Mercedes-Benz Museum, with two evening and two family performances for children from 8 years of age:

  • 3 May 2019, 7:30 pm – evening performance, 105 min., plus intermission
  • 4 May 2019, 2:00 pm – family performance, 60 min., plus intermission
  • 4 May 2019, 7:30 pm – evening performance, 105 min., plus intermission
  • 5 May 2019, 11:00 am – family performance, 60 min., plus intermission

Doors open half an hour before the performance.

Interactive family performances

The two family performances are designed to be interactive. This allows children from the age of eight to be included in the story. They are able to assist the actors from their seats in the auditorium by producing background noises such as steam hissing and wind blowing. After each show, there is an opportunity to admire an authentic replica of the Benz Patent Motorcar in operation outside the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Individual rides as a passenger can be arranged. The first car in the world is also a part of the evening performances on 3 and 4 May at 7:30 pm: during the intermission, guests at the live radio play will be able to visit the area called Mythos 1 in the permanent exhibition and see the Patent Motorcar and Gottlieb Daimler’s Motor Carriage.

Tickets for the live radio play cost 14 euros for adults (7 euros for discounted tickets) – for children up to 14 years of age entrance is free of charge. All tickets for the live audio play also entitle the holder to visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum on the same day, which remains open until 7:30 pm. The tickets are available for advance booking via the museum box office and via the museum website at www.mercedes-benz.com/museum.

The piece has been staged by Stuttgart-based author and director Günter Maurer. Before its guest performance in the Mercedes-Benz Museum the live radio play has already enjoyed success at the Studio Theater Stuttgart. Based on the novel by Angela Elis “My dream is longer than the night: how Bertha Benz led her husband to world fame”, the production follows the fascinating biographies of the Benz couple. The acting trio of Susanne Theil (Bertha Benz), Martin Bonvicini (Carl Benz) and Boris Rosenberger (various roles) tells the story of the difficulties the two had finding recognition, overcoming social norms and holding onto their dreams.

Bertha Benz

The mobility pioneer is born 170 years ago on 3 May 1849 in Pforzheim as Bertha Ringer. At the age of 23, she marries Carl Benz and soon becomes a crucial supporter of his professional activities. The legendary long-distance drive in August 1888 brings Bertha Benz global fame even in her own lifetime. Two days after her 95th birthday, she dies on 5 May 1944 – 75 years ago. The mobility pioneer also received many honours, also posthumously. For example, in 2016 she was inducted into the “Automotive Hall of Fame”.

On International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019, on Mercedes-Benz YouTube the company presented the inspiring short film “Bertha Benz: the journey that changed everything”. Within just a few days it became one of the most popular online videos of the brand to date and has been viewed more than 4.3 million times so far. 


The Mercedes-Benz Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9 am to 6 pm. The ticket desk always closes at 5 pm. Registration, reservations and latest information: Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm by phone on +49 (0)711 173 0000, by email to classic@daimler.com or online at: www.mercedes-benz.com/museum

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