Thomas Ostermeier

Thomas Ostermeier

Thomas Ostermeier was born in 1968 in Soltau. From 1992-96 he studied directing at the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst »Ernst Busch«, Berlin. In 1990-91 he worked as an actor in Einar Schleef‹s »Faust«-Project at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin. In 1993-94 he was assistant director and actor with Manfred Karge in Weimar and at the Berliner Ensemble. In 1995 he directed »Die Unbekannte« by Alexander Blok in accordance with Meyerhold’s system of biomechanics. In 1996 he directed »Recherche Faust/Artaud« at the bat-Studiotheater Berlin. From 1996-99 Ostermeier was Artistic Director of the Baracke at the Deutsches Theater, Berlin. Productions there included »Fat Men in Skirts« by Nicky Silver (1996), »Knives in Hens« by David Harrower (1997 awarded with Friedrich-Luft-Prize), Brecht’s »Mann ist Mann« (1997), »Suzuki« by Alexej Schipenko (1997), »Shopping and Fucking« by Mark Ravenhill (1998), »Below the Belt« by Richard Dresser (1998), »The Blue Bird« by Maeterlinck (1999). In 1998 the Baracke was nominated »Theatre of the Year«. In 1998 and 1999 Ostermeier directed »Disco Pigs« by Enda Walsh and »Fire Face« by Marius von Mayenburg at the Schauspielhaus Hamburg. His final production at the Baracke was »Suzuki II« by Alexej Schipenko.

Since September 1999 Ostermeier is resident director and member of the Artistic Direction of the Schaubühne. He has also directed several productions at the Münchner Kammerspiele: 2002 »Der starke Stamm« by Marieluise Fleißer, 2005 »Vor Sonnenaufgang« by Gerhart Hauptmann, 2007 »Die Ehe der Maria Braun« by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and 2009 »Susn« by Herbert Achternbusch. At the Edinburgh Festival: »The Girl on the Sofa« by Jon Fosse, 2002 (awarded with the »Herald Angel Award«), at the Burgtheater in Vienna: »The Master Builder« by Henrik Ibsen, 2004, at Théâtre-Vidy, Lausanne (»The Seagull« by Anton Chekhov, 2016) and at the Comédie-Française Paris (»Twelfth Night« by Shakespeare 2018). In November 2004 Ostermeier was appointed »artiste associé« for the Festival d’Avignon by the artistic director of the festival, Vincent Baudriller, and has been presenting shows at the Festival regularly since then.

Invitations to Theatertreffen Berlin with »Knives in Hens« (1997), »Shopping and Fucking« (1998), »Nora« (2003), »Hedda Gabler« (2006), »Die Ehe der Maria Braun« (2008) and »Returning to Reims«.  Furthermore, in 2003 »Nora« has been awarded the »Nestroy Prize« as well as the »Politika Prize« during the theatre festival in Belgrade BITEF. »Hedda Gabler« received in 2006 the audience award of the Theatergemeinde Berlin, his »Little Foxes» was awarded the same prize in 2015. His productions »John Gabriel Borkmann« and »Hamlet« have been awarded with international prizes as best productions in the season 2008/2009: »John Gabriel Borkmann« with the Grand Prix de la Critique of France (April 2009) and »Hamlet« with the Barcelona Critics Prize (September 2009). Thomas Ostermeier’s production »The Cut« received the critic´s prize at the international theatre festival KONTAKT in Torun (Poland) in Mai 2010. For »Measure for Measure« he received the Friedrich-Luft-Prize for the »Best Theatre Performance in Berlin« in 2011. In Chile »Hamlet« has been awarded with the critic’s prize as »Best International Production 2011«, in Turkey with the honour award by the 18th Istanbul Theatre Festival 2012 and in Teheran as best direction at the FADJR International Theatre Festival in 2016. In 2017 Ostermeier was awarded the »Premio della Critica Teatrale« for his production of »Richard III«. In 2019 his staging of Shakespeare’s »Twelfth Night« at the Comédie-Française was awarded with the »Prix Molière« for the best performance of the season.

In 2009 Thomas Ostermeier has been appointed »Officier des Arts et des Lettres« by the French ministry of culture, and promoted to the degree of »Commandeur« in 2015.

From 2010 to 2018 Thomas Ostermeier was the German president of the Deutsch-Französischer Kulturrat (DKFR), German-French Council of Culture.

In 2011 Thomas Ostermeier received the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale for the entirety of his work.

In 2016 he was appointed Honorary Doctor of Arts degree at the University of Kent for his contributions to the European theatre.

In 2018 he received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the KYTHERA-Price for Culture.

In 2019 he was appointed Honorary Doctor at the University of Gothenburg.

Thomas Ostermeier is member of the Deutsche Akademie der Darstellenden Künste, oft he Académie de Berlin, oft he Deutsch-Französischer Kulturrat and the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

His latest productions at the Schaubühne are »An Enemy of the People« by Henrik Ibsen (2012), »Death in Venice/Kindertotenlieder« after Thomas Mann/Gustav Mahler (2013), »The Little Foxes« by Lillian Hellman (2014), »Richard III.« by William Shakespeare (2015), the world premiere of Yasmina Reza's »Bella Figura« (2015), »Professor Bernhardi« by Arthur Schnitzler (2016), »Returning to Reims« after the book by Didier Eribon (2017) and »History of Violence« by Édouard Louis in June 2018. Followed by Ödön von Horváth’s »Italian Night« in (2018), the world premiere of »abgrund« by Maja Zade in (2019), as a coproduction with the Salzburger Festspiele, »Youth without God« by Ödön von Horváth (Berlin, 2019), »Vernon Subutex 1« by Virginie Despentes (2021), »ödipus« by Maja Zade (2021) and »Qui a tué mon Père« by Édouard Louis (2020).

His productions are touring worldwide to places like Adelaide, Athens, Avignon, Barcelona, Beijing, Belgrade, Bordeaux, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Bucharest, Caracas, Chennai, Copenhagen, Delhi, Dublin, Hong Kong, Kolkata, Krakow, Lisbon, Ljubljana, London, Madrid, Marseille, Melbourne, Moscow, Naples, New York, Novi Sad, Omsk, Oslo, Ottawa, Paris, Prague, Québec, Rennes, Reims, Santiago de Chile, Sarajevo, Seoul, Sydney, Taipei, Tampere, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Venice, Vienna and Zagreb.

Productions at the Schaubühne 

»Personenkreis 3.1« by Lars Norén, 2000
»Crave« by Sarah Kane, 2000
»Parasiten« by Marius von Mayenburg, 2000 (World Premiere)
»The Name« by Jon Fosse, 2000
»This is a Chair« by Caryl Churchill, 2001
»Dantons Tod« by Georg Büchner, 2001
»Supermarket« by Biljana Srbljanovic, 2001 (World Premiere)
»Better Days« by Richard Dresser, 2002
»Nora« by Henrik Ibsen, 2002 (invited to the Theatertreffen Berlin 2003)
»Wunschkonzert« by Franz Xaver Kroetz, 2003
»Woyzeck« by Georg Büchner, 2003
»Suburban Motel 6: Risiko« by George F. Walker, 2003
»Der Würgeengel« by Karst Woudstra, 2003
»Lulu« by Frank Wedekind, 2004
»Eldorado« by Marius von Mayenburg, 2004 (World Premiere)
Blasted by Sarah Kane, 2005
Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, 2005 (invited to the Theatertreffen Berlin, 2006)
Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O´Neill, 2006
A Midsummernight’s Dream William Shakespeare (with C. Macras), 2006
Liebe ist nur eine Möglichkeit by Christoph Nußbaumeder, 2006
Product by Mark Ravenhill, 2006
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, 2007
Room Service by John Murray and Allen Boretz, 2007
The City | The Cut by Martin Crimp and Mark Ravenhill, 2008 (World Premiere)
Hamlet by William Shakespeare, 2008
John Gabriel Borkmann by Henrik Ibsen, 2008/09
Demons by Lars Norén, 2010
Othello by William Shakespeare, 2010
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare, 2011
An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen, 2012
Death in Venice/Kindertotenlieder after Thomas Mann/Gustav Mahler (2013)
The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman (2014)
Richard III. by William Shakespeare (2015)
Bella Figura by Yasmina Reza (World Premiere, 2015)
Professor Bernhardi by Arthur Schnitzler (2016)
Returning to Reims after Didier Eribon (2017)
History of Violence by Édouard Louis (2018)
Italian Night by Ödön von Horváth (2018)
abgrund by Maja Zade (World Premiere, 2019)
Youth Without God by Ödön von Horváth (2019)
Vernon Subutex 1 by Verginie Despentes (2021)
ödipus by Maja Zade (2021)
Qui a tué mon père (Who killed my father) by Édouard Louis (2021)


In this season


by Maja Zade
Directior: Thomas Ostermeier
World Premiere

Vernon Subutex 1

by Virginie Despentes
Director: Thomas Ostermeier
Stage A

The Marriage of Maria Braun

After the original by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Direction: Thomas Ostermeier
Stage A

The Seagull

by Anton Chekhov
In a version by the ensemble using the translation by Ulrike Zemme
Director: Thomas Ostermeier
Stage B

An Enemy of the People

by Henrik Ibsen
In a version by Thomas Ostermeier and Florian Borchmeyer
Director: Thomas Ostermeier
Stage B


by William Shakespeare
Director: Thomas Ostermeier
Stage A

Hedda Gabler

by Henrik Ibsen
Director: Thomas Ostermeier

History of Violence

by Édouard Louis
in a version by Thomas Ostermeier, Florian Borchmeyer and Édouard Louis
Director: Thomas Ostermeier
German Premiere
Stage B


by Maja Zade
Director: Thomas Ostermeier
World Premiere
Stage A

Professor Bernhardi

by Arthur Schnitzler
Version by Thomas Ostermeier and Florian Borchmeyer
Director: Thomas Ostermeier
Stage B

Qui a tué mon père

(Who killed my father)
by Édouard Louis
Director: Thomas Ostermeier

Richard III.

by William Shakespeare
Direction: Thomas Ostermeier

Returning to Reims

based on the novel »Retour à Reims« by Didier Eribon
Resumption (new version of »Returning to Reims«)
Director: Thomas Ostermeier