Johan Simons

Johan Simons

© Judith Buss

Award Ceremony

Theatre Prize Berlin by Preußische Seehandlung Foundation

Awarding to Johan Simons
Presented by the Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit

Past Dates

This year’s “Theatre Prize Berlin” will be awarded to the Dutch actor, director and artistic director Johan Simons. Before becoming Artistic Director at the Münchner Kammerspiele in 2010, he travelled across the Netherlands and Europe with his company Hollandia for 20 years, from 2001 as director of ZT Hollandia. Zealously, he always followed his goal to create theatre for those who “don’t usually go to the theatre”. He played in empty factories, in henhouses and in a football stadium. Today, he is among the most important European directors and has been presented at the Theatertreffen five times to date. From 2015 to 2017, he will be director of the Ruhrtriennale.

The jury’s reasoning states: “If there is one director who stands for a kind of theatre that overcomes all borders – borders of language, of countries, of genres – it is Johan Simons. (…) Simons, this heavy artist with his phenomenal, explosive laugh, started out as a dancer and he still is a dancer – one who walks at a different pace. His art is physical and always an act of frequently abstract translation – of a subject or a problem that originates in a different time or culture into ours. (…) He still dances across the limits of what we call Stadttheater, city theatre. He transformed the well-calculated Kammerspiele in Munich back into a real artists’ theatre with an acting company that speaks in many tongues, and, seemingly without effort, he brought together the irreconcilable: repertory theatre and project work, provoking discourse and local rootedness. In Munich, Johan Simons created the most open-minded example of a German ensemble theatre, a hybrid production model for the future. And at the same time, a place of unconditional and primal love for his performers, of aesthetic obstinacy, of erratic personalities. (…) ‘Not-being-at-home’ in our national habits gave him (…) the ability to render both his art and the system of its creation more adventurous and open to the world, in a good way. Thus, the Berlin Theatre Prize 2014 honours not only the villager, dancer and director, but also the unconventional ensemble thinker and renewer of the theatre, Johan Simons.”

The decision about the prize, which will be awarded by the Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung on 27 May of this year, was made by the jury. It consists of the Director of the Berliner Festspiele, Dr. Thomas Oberender, theatre critic Barbara Burckhardt and the Artistic Director of Potsdam’s Hans-Otto-Theater, Tobias Wellemeyer, as well as the director of the Theatertreffen, Yvonne Büdenhölzer in a consulting function. The “Theatre Prize Berlin”, which comes with prize money of 20,000 Euros, will be awarded by Berlins Governing Mayor and Chairman of the Board of the Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung, Klaus Wowereit, during the Theatertreffen.

Laudatory speeches: Sandra Hüller and Thomas Schmauser
Companions of Johan Simons will accompany the award ceremony: Kristof Van Boven, Benny Claessens, André Jung, Sachiko Hara, Stefan Schreiber, Jost-H. Hecker, Carl Oesterhelt, Reinhard Greiner and Mathias Götz.