Theatre work between autonomy and social commitment
Lecture by the theatre director
Introduction: Manfred Lahnstein
Afterwards talk with Claudia Voigt, editor at the Spiegel magazine and dramaturg
“You could say we are a kind of social traders in emotions.” Present-day theatre is what Ulrich Khuon, one of the most successful German theatre directors produces, and he always convinces both spectators and critics. The current director of Thalia Theater, Hamburg and designated director of Deutsches Theater Berlin is inspired by the possibility to oppose market mechanisms, to ignore or undermine them and at the same time use them – “never lay back!”. As a fan of ensemble theatre, Khuon focuses on the local presence of theatre: “We are present, you can feel us, we interfere, we are mortal on stage. We represent transience. It is a kind of primal experience that will always be there.”
Ulrich Khuon was born in 1951 in Stuttgart. He studied German and theology and from 1977 worked as a literary critic with Badische Zeitung. His theatre work started in 1980 as chief dramatic adviser at Stadttheater Konstanz, where in 1988 he took over as director. In 1993 he went to Niedersächsisches Staatsschauspiel Hannover and was called as a professor to the local music college. At the beginning of the 2000/2001 season he became director of the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, where he established the biggest dramatist festival of the north, called the “Autorentheatertage”. At the beginning of the 2008/2009 season he will become director at Deutsches Theater Berlin.