A celebration of the diversity of the performing arts: With the 5th Federal Theater Award, Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture and Media, honors medium-sized and smaller theater companies - and thus the artistic range of the German theater landscape. This year's award winners stand out for their outstanding artistic diversity, exemplary operating structures, special achievements in the further aesthetic development of the performing arts, or innovative strategies for audience expansion.
Ballhaus Naunynstraße in Berlin was awarded the main prize of 200,000 euros by the jury. Three awards, each endowed with 100,000 euros, were given to Theaterhaus Jena in the category of municipal theaters and state theaters, Chamäleon Theater Berlin in the category of private theaters and guest theaters, and LOFFT-DAS THEATER in Leipzig in the category of independent production houses. The award ceremony will take place on the evening of October 11, 2023 at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.
"The theater in Berlin-Kreuzberg stands for artistic perspectives of color and offers numerous people an important space for reflection on postcolonial structures in everyday life and art. A house like a signal for the diversification of the German theater business: Here, post-migrant voices not only became audible for the first time, but the concept of post-migrant theater as such was invented and coined - the path of a Practice What You Preach in the development of program, audience and staff structures, which the current artistic director Wagner Pereira de Carvalho and his team have been consistently developing for 10 years now in the direction of crossectional diversity not only on, but also behind and in front of the stage. Ballhaus Naunynstraße thus creates a unique framework for the self-determined production of black, queer and artists of color. Ballhaus Naunynstraße has a lasting effect on the development of artistic signatures: Numerous artists have realized their first productions here, and over the years have realized a large number of high-quality works at the Ballhaus, often attracting national and international attention with their art." – Jury statement
"The Theaterhaus Jena in Thüringen is convincing both structurally and artistically-aesthetically. The productions of the past seasons seek direct proximity to the urban society, the history of the city and region, and are close to the spirit of the times in the best sense. To this end, the theater regularly opens itself up to other places and social groups: Whether classical cooperations with the philharmonic orchestra, overcoming social barriers with the correctional facility, or participatory productions, as in a lay voice choir project by Jena mothers on the topic of motherhood.
While others are still discussing the possibilities of transparent sponsorship, collective management and grassroots democratic control, the Theaterhaus Jena has been practicing a model that is unique in Germany for more than 30 years: Theaterhaus Jena is a gGmbH, which is not only owned exclusively by current and former employees* of the house, but also, not least under the direction of the international collective Wunderbaum - and since the 22/23 season by Lizzy Timmers and Maarten van Otterdijk and the model of an ensemblerat theater - lives up to its statutory mission of consistent artistic and structural operational research. " - Jury statement
"The spearhead of a dynamic development of the performing arts, which overcomes existing boundaries between genres, but also forms of operation: Like no other house, Theater Chamäleon stands in the middle of Berlin for the further development of circus via Noveau Cirque to a contemporary circus that unfolds its artistic and audience potential in such a way that old questions about U. or E. culture, about sub- or high culture, about fixed or free sublimate into physically perceptible aesthetic energy. The theater's handling of its resident artists during the pandemic was particularly exemplary: despite 18 months of closure, unplannable conditions, and no financial security, the Chameleon turned this time into a new start in terms of content and an artistic incubator for itself, including social security for the international companies, new co-productions and residency programs, as well as an increase in accessibility and audience encounters." – Jury statement
"Not only in its 25th anniversary year are many eyes focused on this OFF theater in Leipzig, Saxony, Central Germany: The LOFFT stands for aesthetic innovation and artistic inventiveness, for practiced cosmopolitanism and inclusion, but also for a team that not only emphasizes agile work, but also its own professional networking and cultural-political positioning, so much so that the LOFFT is one of the formative and exemplary nodes on the mental map of the independent performing arts. Of particular note among the diverse artistic program is the in-house FORWARD DANCE COMPANY, founded in recent years, in which a mixed-abled ensemble of six dancers works together with changing choreographers. Local promotion of young talent, audience expansion with a special focus on so-called marginalized groups, and guest performances by internationally renowned artists testify to a great awareness of the questions and challenges of our present." – Jury statement
The overall jury will decide on the award of the main prize across all categories. For the individual prizes in the categories, the jury is composed as follows:
Nuran David Calis
Dr. Gunnar Decker
Cornelius „Corny“ Littmann
Nina de la Chevallerie
The symposium will discuss the transformative potential of cooperative forms of work in the performing arts on a national and international level. What effects can medium- and long-term collaborations have for the establishment of sustainability, eye level and multiperspectivity - and what challenges do they bring with them? More information about the guests, the program and registration is here.
The Federal Theater Prize is awarded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. The project executing organization is the Zentrum Bundesrepublik Deutschland des Internationalen Theaterinstituts e.V. (ITI) in cooperation with Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V.
Monika Grütters, State Minister for Culture from 2013 to 2021, awarded the Federal Theatre Prize for the first time in 2015, since then it has been realised every two years in cooperation with the ITI – German Centre. A total of 42 theatres were honoured in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021. Artistic and cultural-political issues that especially concern the work of municipal, state and touring theatres, as well as independent venues in smaller and medium-sized cities, are discussed as part of a symposium held to accompany the award ceremony.
In 2020, in cooperation with Theater der Zeit, a publication was released that pays tribute to the work of the previous award-winning theatres, while at the same time highlighting the challenges they face on a daily basis.
In the spring and summer of 2022, the traveling exhibition "Dialogue and Confrontation, Transformation and Strengthening - theatre work beyond the metropolitan cities" toured in nine of the eleven award-winning theatres from 2021. Further information can be found here.