‘The More Political We Are, the Better We Sell’: A Conversation about the Political Potential of Directing Classical Drama and the Nasty Traps of Today’s Cultural Industry

Thomas Ostermeier, Peter M. Boenisch


Thomas Ostermeier (b. 1968) is recognised internationally as the most important contemporary German theatre director. He is best known for his productions of Henrik Ibsen’s Nora (2002) and Hedda Gabler (2005) and of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (2008). He was awarded the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale in 2011 for his lifetime achievements. Since 2000, Ostermeier has been Artistic Director of the Schaubühne in Berlin, the ensemble famous for its political work by director Peter Stein in the 1970s and 1980s. From 1996 to 1999, before he took over the Schaubühne, Ostermeier ran the Baracke, a small experimental space at Berlin’s Deutsches Theater.

Peter M. Boenisch (b. 1971) is a German theatre researcher who has worked in the UK since 2003. He is Professor of European Theatre at the University of Kent, and was a co-founder of the European Theatre Research Network (ETRN), with Paul Allain and Patrice Pavis. His book Directing Scenes and Senses: The Thinking of Regie is forthcoming with Manchester University Press (Spring 2015). Together with Ostermeier, he is currently working on a book titled The Theatre of Thomas Ostermeier, to be published by Routledge in 2016, from which this interview is taken. Their conversation took place at the Schaubühne Berlin in May 2014.

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