Theatre Prize Berlin by Preußische Seehandlung Foundation
Awarding to Herbert Fritsch
Presented by the Governing Mayor Michael Müller
Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung will award the 2017 Theatre Prize Berlin to Herbert Fritsch for his extraordinary services to the German-language theatre.
The jury’s statement says:
“At the centre of his artful staging are both the space, which he designs himself, and the bodies of his actors – in all their exaggerations ranging from funny to grotesque, in their relationship with the set, but also in their physical particularities and formalisations, highlighted by Victoria Behr’s costumes and make-up. What Fritsch and his fantastic ensembles manage to coax out of these bodies has for more to do with choreography and physics (and, of course, the defiance of the latter) than with narration and psychology. In this, the artist places himself firmly in the tradition of nonsense-celebrating avant-garde artists and language materialists whom he rediscovered as authors for the stage. Together with theatre composer Ingo Günther, he takes their playthings and transforms them into music (…). For both Fritsch’s actors and audiences, the recognition of how closely anarchy and perfection, noncompliance and relevance, failure and hope are bound up with each other – and that one can never be had without the other – comes as a paradox and a rare blessing.”
The decision regarding this award was made by a jury consisting of Barbara Frey, artistic director of Schauspielhaus Zürich, Wilfried Schulz, artistic director of Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus and theatre critic Eva Behrendt, with Thomas Oberender, Berliner Festspiele’s artistic director, attending with an advisory vote.
The Theatre Prize Berlin is endowed with a sum of 20,000 Euro and will be awarded at a matinee event during the Berlin Theatertreffen by Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin and Chairman of Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung. The event will be hosted by friends of the recipient.
Laudatory speech Frank Castorf