About us

Seeing what’s ahead

Berliner Festspiele stand for a cultural programme where the new becomes visible. All year round, they host a multitude of festivals, exhibitions and individual events in two houses – the Haus der Berliner Festspiele in Schaperstraße and the Gropius Bau near Potsdamer Platz – and other venues in the city. The combination and network of a festival house and an exhibition hall bears special potential for interdisciplinary project formats and the interaction of different forms of art. An annual programme includes the exhibitions at Gropius Bau, the festivals MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues, Theatertreffen, Musikfest Berlin and Jazzfest Berlin, the programme series Immersion and Circus as well as four National Contests for young people in the fields of theatre, dance, music and creative writing. In addition, there are education programmes, international guest performances, special events, venue rentals and conferences. Since Thomas Oberender was appointed director in 2012, Berliner Festspiele have been focusing on topics like immersion, the effects of the digital cultural transformation on artistic practice, performativity, alternative ways of artistic production and cross-genre approaches. Their formats provide both an overview and orientation, creating new connections between contemporary art, technological innovation and heterogeneous forms of work, discourse and experience.

Thomas Oberender
© Magdalena Lepka

Dr. Thomas Oberender

Dr. Thomas Oberender, who was born in Jena in 1966, was appointed managing director of the Berliner Festspiele in 2012. From 2006 to 2011, he was theatre director at the Salzburg Festival. In 2005-06, he was head dramaturg and co-director of the Schauspielhaus Zürich and, from 2000 to 2005, head dramaturge and member of the artistic direction at the Schauspielhaus Bochum under Matthias Hartmann.

From 1988 to 2000, Oberender lived in Berlin, where he earned a doctorate at Humboldt Universität in 1999. In 1997, he was a co-founder of the author’s Association Theater Neuen Typs (Theater of a New Kind), which is dedicated to the dissemination of theatre texts by German-speaking authors.

He has written and translated plays, essays, theatre and literature criticism, and has realized projects for Expo 2000, the Ruhrtriennale (2004 and 2005), and the European Cultural Capital project “RUHR 2010.”

He has published numerous books, including “Leben auf Probe. Wie die Bühne zur Welt wird” (Life is a Rehearsal: How the Stage Becomes a World; 2009), and “Das schöne Fräulein Unbekannt. Gespräche über Theater, Kunst und Lebenszeit” (The Lovely Miss Unknown: Discussions of Theater, Art, and Life; 2011), “Nebeneingang oder Haupteingang? – Gespräche über 50 Jahre Schreiben fürs Theater” (Side entrance or main entrance? – Conversations about 50 years of writing for the theatre; Suhrkamp, 2014, together with Peter Handke).

The Berliner Festspiele are supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media on the basis of a resolution of the German Parliament.

Der Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien