The seven Theatertreffen jury members stand in a white room and look into the camera.

The jury of the 2023 Theatertreffen © Berliner Festspiele, photo: Stefan Wieland

The Jury for the 2023 Theatertreffen

The Theatertreffen-jury chooses the 10 remarkable productions invited to Theatertreffen and consists of seven theatre critics. These jurors are usually serving three years in succession. The jury is appointed jointly by the director of the Theatertreffen, the director of the Berliner Festspiele and the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

Eva Behrendt

Eva Behrendt was born in Waiblingen in 1973 and studied history, German philology and theatre studies in Mainz, Dijon and Berlin. She has been a member of Theater heute’s editorial staff since 2001 and writes as a freelance critic for taz, Die Zeit, Merkur and others. She also teaches as a guest lecturer at the Institute of Theatre Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. She was and is a member of several juries (Berliner Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa, Theatertreffen, Theaterpreis Berlin, Hauptstadtkulturfonds, Politik im freien Theater, Impulse etc.) and has most recently been a member of the selection committee of Mülheimer Theatertage.

Janis El-Bira

Janis El-Bira was born in Braunschweig in 1986, studied philosophy and history in Berlin and has been working as a critic, author and moderator with a focus on theatre. Since 2016, he has been a freelance editor and moderator of the radio programme “Rang 1 – Das Theatermagazin” on Deutschlandfunk Kultur and in 2019, he joined the editorial team of He has also written texts and articles for Berliner Zeitung, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and SWR2. From 2016 to 2019, he was project leader of Theatertreffen-Blog, a project for the promotion of emerging journalists. He has been a jury member for Mülheim Dramatists’ Award, Fonds Darstellende Künste and the festival Politik im Freien Theater.

Valeria Heintges

Valeria Heintges was born in Düsseldorf in 1968 and has been living in Zurich since 2010. She studied German philology as well as history and philosophy in Münster/Westfalen and Freiburg/Breisgau and worked as an arts editor with a focus on theatre in Dresden and St. Gallen. From 2016 to 2018, she was a jury member at Solothurner Literaturtage. She has been working freelance since 2017 and writes for media including, Theater heute, NZZ am Sonntag and publications of the CH Media Group.

Sabine Leucht

Sabine Leucht was born in Neckarbischofsheim in 1966 and studied Journalism and Theatre Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. She has been a freelance arts journalist there and, since 1998, in Munich, where she writes about theatre and increasingly also about dance, especially for Süddeutsche Zeitung, taz,, Theater der Zeit and Müncher Feuilleton. She has been a member of several juries, most recently for KinderStücke Mülheim (award jury 2016), the cultural department of the city of Munich (Advancement Award Theatre 2014–2018, expert jury for theatre for children and young people since 2019) and since 2017 for the Bavarian State Association for Contemporary Dance (BLZT).

Petra Paterno

Petra Paterno was born in Oberpullendorf/Burgenland in 1971. She studied Theatre Studies in Vienna, Paris and New York, has worked as a theatre critic for various media since 1997 and has been a member of the arts editorial staff of Wiener Zeitung since 2003, with a focus on theatre coverage. She has been a member of various juries for several years, including the jury for the NESTROY-award, as well as a member of advisory boards for Performing Arts.

Katrin Ullmann

Katrin Ullmann was born in Heidelberg in 1971. She studied German Philology and Art History in Hamburg. Since 1998, she has worked as a freelance journalist and critic for media such as Theater heute, Tagesspiegel, taz, tanz, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and Die Zeit. She has been a member of the jury for Hamburg’s Kulturbehörde (cultural authority) from 2011 to 2015 and once again since 2021 as well as a jury member of NPN (Nationales Performance Netz) since 2018.

Sascha Westphal

Born in Dortmund in 1971. He studied Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. He has been working as a freelance cultural journalist and critic since 1994, for media including, Theater der Zeit and the magazine kultur.west. He has been a member of the latter’s editorial team since 2018. In 2014 and 2019, he was a member of the jury of critics for the NRW-Theatertreffen.

New in the Jury for the 2024 Theatertreffen

Sabine Leucht and Petra Paterno are finishing their work for the Theatertreffen-jury after three years in 2023. Theresa Luise Gindlstrasser and Martin Thomas Pesl are taking over their positions.

Therefore, the jury of the Theatertreffen 2024 consists of the following members: Eva Behrendt, Janis El-Bira, Theresa Luise Gindlstrasser, Valeria Heintges, Martin Thomas Pesl, Katrin Ullmann und Sascha Westphal.