Award Ceremony

Theatre Prize Berlin by Preußische Seehandlung Foundation

Awarding to Karin Henkel
Presented by the Governing Mayor Michael Müller

Karin Henkel

Karin Henkel

© T+T Fotografie / Toni Suter + Tanja Dorendorf

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Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung will award the 2018 Theatre Prize Berlin to Karin Henkel for her extraordinary services to the German-language theatre.

The jury’s statement says:

“Karin Henkel’s productions are unerring investigations of the fundamental conditions of social coexistence. Family constellations, especially based on the familial Ur-debacles of Greek tragedies, are her preferred field of research. By which means is power constituted? How is it passed on and what erodes it? What is the impact of familial disasters on the whole of society, particularly on gender-relationships? Henkel’s long-standing interest in the world-canon of dramatic literature (including authors like Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Kleist, Euripides) is not a matter of simple veneration but leads to a constant re-evaluation, to a piercing examination of what we like to describe as “social accomplishments” in the wake of the Enlightenment. Karin Henkel’s configurations of characters often feature doubtful men who don’t know where and why they lost their terrain – and strong women who doubt their own strength. There is little room for heroes and heroines in a world whose laws are as inscrutable as one’s own soul.

Henkel’s productions are expressive and relentless in their fundamental enquiry after the causes of interpersonal failure, and she refuses all clearly delineated concepts of genre. Just as her tragedies are at times saturated with a sarcastic wit, her comedies illustrate the tragic foundation of all humour – and her delicately intuitive way of working with her actors allows Karin Henkel to constantly fathom these boundaries anew.”

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 Rita Thiele
Head Dramaturg and Deputy Artistic Director at Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg