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For the second time, the Federal Theater Prize was awarded by the former Minister of State for Culture, Prof. Monika Grütters, to small and medium-sized theaters.

A total of 230 guests attended the prize ceremony on July 06, 2017 at the Theater der Altmark (TdA) in Stendal. The festive event was moderated by Thomas Bille (mdr). The laudatory speech for the prize winners was held by the jurors Dorte Lena Eilers (Theater der Zeit) and Georg Kasch (nachtkritik). The Welcome Band of the TdA provided the musical framework for the evening. The jury, appointed by the Minister of Culture, selected eight prize winners from a total of 131 applications received. For the full press release of the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government, click here.


In 2017, the jury consisted of:

  • Detlef Brandenburg
  • Dorte Lena Eilers
  • Georg Kasch
  • Juliane Votteler
  • Stefanie Wenner


The prize winners were:

  • Theater und Philharmonie Thüringen

    Theater und Philharmonie Thüringen

    "The Thuringian Theatre and Philharmonic Orchestra (TPT) is a "theatre of the world" beyond the metropolises. A place where actors from Burkina Faso, Turkey, Austria, Germany, Romania and Greece come together - and not just for a short time in the context of a guest performance, but as a permanent ensemble. This deliberate diversity continues to have an effect in both theatres: at present, staff from a total of 26 nations from all over the world are employed in Altenburg and Gera. The artistic programme derived from this structure is idiosyncratic. Instead of simply focusing on box-office hits, the TPT focuses on the marginal, the forgotten and the repressed in all sections. "Opera Rediscoveries of the 20th Century", "Landmarks in European History" and "From Heaven on High - Faith and Society" mark the major lines of thought. With this programme, the TPT is resistant to a thinking of confinement and isolation, but not closed. Discourse is what is productive, says theatre director Bernhard Stengele, and not the fault in the system." - Jury statement

    Prize money: 115,000 euros


  • Theater der Jungen Generation Dresden

    Theater der Jungen Generation Dresden

    "The Theater der Jungen Generation Dresden (TjG) is a theatre for children and young people that defies classical definition. Adults who get their hands on the programme, which is based on international projects and research focuses, would prefer to go there themselves straight away. The TjG offers theatre for all ages from 2+ to 16+ and far beyond. Its artistic themes are decidedly contemporary, without denying the complexity of current issues, problems and dislocations. One programme focus is on theatre and digital media. Democracy research takes place in the Generator, a spatial installation erected in the studio of the newly moved venue Kraftwerk Mitte. Like any good researcher, the TjG does not let the past out of its sight and enters into unusual alliances. "The Fisherman and his Wife" by Einar Schleef based on the Brothers Grimm, which premiered in 1974 at the Dresden Puppet Theatre and was banned immediately after the premiere, was restaged in the 2015/16 season in co-production with the State Youth Theatre Hanoi. In a deeply divided city, the TjG emphasises, it wants to be a theatre for all." - Jury statement

    Prize money: 115,000 euros


  • Lichthof Theater

    Lichthof Theater

    "The Lichthof Theatre in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld impressed the jury with the great courage with which this small stage provides a production and performance venue for experimental theatre forms as well as for up-and-coming artists in the Hanseatic city. In doing so, the Lichthof enables a variety of theatrical formats in a wide range of genres, from drama to music theatre and dance to performance, which always transcends boundaries. It cooperates with formative institutions in the city and also in far-reaching supra-regional networks. Obviously, theatre artists find competent and cooperative contacts here for their plans and projects. In this way, Lichthof makes a contribution to the theatre scene in Hamburg and far beyond which is both distinctive and indispensable." - Jury statement

    Prize money: 50,000 euros


  • tanzhaus NRW

    tanzhaus NRW

    "After decades of continuity, the tanzhaus NRW dared a new start with Bettina Masuch as artistic director in 2014. Since then, the local connections have been strengthened and the youth work in the "young tanzhaus" has been continued. In addition, the house has gained international charisma through close cooperation with the "factory artists". With thematic settings such as "Real Bodies" and "Together", the house has also turned its attention to social issues that are reflected in artistic aesthetics. Situated between a place of education and a "community space", the tanzhaus nrw also builds a bridge to the international discourses of our time with conferences such as "Inventur 2". The tanzhaus nrw thus succeeds in linking the artistic avant-garde, the issues of the present and the urban society that is at home there in terms of dance, in a very practical way. The focus on dance is used by the house for community building in movement." - Jury statement

    Prize money: 115,000 euros


  • sophiensaele


    "With the sophiensaele, the jury honours the continuous work for the independent scene in all its forms in the centre of the capital. Under the artistic direction of Franziska Werner, the sophiensaele have succeeded in continuing and further developing their cooperation with independent groups in terms of content. Although the house has few resources, it is a lively place of exchange and discussion among artists and within the city. The house has also succeeded in accompanying internationally renowned artists from various disciplines, such as Milo Rau or Lea Moro, and in developing their work together with them. In terms of content, the house has increasingly pursued an examination of postcolonialism and queerness in recent years and thus set accents for the future. In addition to its important function for dance, and not only in Berlin, the house is dedicated to new forms of music theatre and thus represents the diversity of the independent performing arts in an exemplary way. The sophiensaele exist alongside the networks of the large production houses and are nevertheless in high visibility not only locally in the middle of society." - Jury statement

    Prize money: 115,000 euros


  • Schaubude Berlin

    Schaubude Berlin

    "The Berlin Schaubude is one of the most important puppet theatres in Germany. It thus continues a specifically East German puppet theatre tradition without allowing itself to be pinned down to one aesthetic signature. On the contrary: with its diverse cooperations, festivals, programmes to support young talent, with its offerings for all age groups, its crossings of genre boundaries and its decisive search and research movements into digital worlds, this small house is one of Berlin's creative engines." - Jury statement

    Prize money: 115,000 euros


  • Theater Naumburg

    Theater Naumburg

    "Theater Naumburg is de facto a theatre newcomer: in 2009 it was transformed from a puppet theatre into an ensemble theatre. Since then, as Germany's smallest municipal theatre, it has developed a programme for all generations - and especially since 2015, when Stefan Neugebauer took over as artistic director, it has reached far into the small but historically saturated city, conquering churches, museums, courtrooms - and the audience. For example, with only four ensemble members, he also succeeds in performing Goethe's "Faust" at two different venues - close to the text and yet original. We would like to honour this commitment with the award as well as the courage of the municipality to build up its own ensemble in times when people tend to think about closing down ensembles and theatres." - Jury statement

    Prize money: 115,000 euros


  • ETA Hofmann Theater Bamberg

    ETA Hofmann Theater Bamberg

    "The ETA Hofmann Theater Bamberg sailed under new sails and refreshed winds in the 2015/16 season. The artistic director Sibylle Broll-Pape succeeded in setting new accents with a young, committed team of actors and staff who entered into a creative collaboration with the tried and tested forces of the house. The jury was impressed by the way the artistic director not only "opened up" the theatre, as she had announced and as is so often demanded today, but also unconventionally entered into unusual contacts and co-operations. In the first season, under the motto "Homeland - What is German?" comedies were dug up, classics were staged and new plays were shown: Hebel's "Nibelungen" met Konstantin Küspert's "Rechtes denken" and Roland Schimmelpfennig's immigration society play "Das schwarze Wasser". In addition, there was the evening "The German Soul" in cooperation with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. The very idiosyncratic mixture required courage and risk, and this is what the participants showed, in addition to a high commitment of all forces on, around and behind the stage. The city's students flock to the performances, but the long-established audience is also enthusiastic about the new impulses. Committed thinking and social criticism characterise the spirit of the house. A reflection on today with works of yesteryear and a constantly surprising look at the present arouse curiosity. Theatre that interferes, exposes and at the same time demonstrates humour and wit: a carbuncle in Franconia, eminently appropriate to its namesake." - Jury statement

    Prize money: 115,000 euros



Symposium "Theatres as Social Spaces of the Public Sphere"

Accompanying the 2017 prize ceremony, the ITI, together with the Deutsche Bühnenverein (German Theatre and Orchestra Association) and the Bundesverband Freie Darstellende Künste (Federal Association of Independent Performing Arts), hosted the symposium "Theatere as Social Spaces of the Public Sphere"

Theatres intervene in social debates. Not only with artistic projects, but at the same time with a variety of social, integrative and intercultural projects. A change in the dance and theatre landscape is emerging. How do theatre professionals act? How can sponsors constructively accompany this change?

Information about the programme can be found here.