Johan Simons was born in 1946 and grew up in the Dutch town of Heerjansdam. He initially trained as a dancer at Rotterdam Academy and as an actor at Maastricht Theatre Academy, before becoming director and performer at “Haagsche Comedie” in 1976. Together with Paul Koek, Johan Simons founded “Theatergroep Hollandia” in 1985. In 2005, Simons became artistic director of the Belgian “Publiekstheater”, which he renamed “NTGent” and which he gave a new creative impulses. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from Gent University. Simons has been working as a guest director at various German-language theatres, among them Schauspielhaus Zürich, Münchner Kammerspiele, Wiener Festwochen and Thalia Theater Hamburg. From 2010 to 2015, he was the artistic director of Münchner Kammerspiele, which was chosen as “theatre of the year” by the magazine “theater heute” in 2013. In 2014, he received the Berliner Theaterpreis and the German theatre award DER FAUST for the best direction in drama. In the same year, Queen Máxima awarded him the “Prince Bernhard Culture Funds Prize”, the most important prize for an artist in the Netherlands, for his considerable merits in the field of the theatre, both in the Netherlands and internationally. Johan Simons is currently the artistic director of the festival Ruhrtriennale, while simultaneously returning to NT Gent as artistic consultant. From 2018, he will be the artistic director of Schauspielhaus Bochum.
As of April 2017