05/03/2019, 19.30 – 21.40

History of Violence

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

German translation by Hinrich Schmidt-Henkel

At 4.00 am in the Place de la République in Paris, while returning home from a Christmas dinner, young Édouard meets Reda, a man who has an Algerian background. They get talking, start to flirt and soon Édouard is taking Reda back to his studio apartment. The two spend the night together. Reda talks about his childhood and his father who fled to France from Algeria. The mood is playful, they laugh, exchange caresses and have sex. But when, as they say goodbye to each other a few hours later, Édouard discovers his smartphone is missing and Reda suddenly takes out a gun and threatens him, the situation quickly turns to one of intimidation, violence and rape. The next morning, Édouard goes to the police and seeks medical attention. At a loss over how to deal with his trauma, he flees to his sister Clara in provincial northern France and confides his story to her. The reactions to the dramatic incident by the people around him as well as the police and medical staff who are treating him uncover the racism, homophobia and obscure power structures deeply rooted in society.

In his autobiographical novel »History of Violence«, with his reconstruction of a traumatic night, French author Édouard Louis creates a work which is both a personal and penetrating social analysis of coming of age, desire, migration and racism and, in the diversity of voices reacting to the crime committed against him, makes audible the socially repressed forms of violence. Thomas Ostermeier has co-adapted the novel with Édouard Louis for its German-language theatre premiere.

There will be smoking on stage.
Recommended age: 16 years
In the performance there is an explicit portrayal of sexual violence.



Director: Thomas Ostermeier
Collaboration Director: David Stöhr
Set and Costume Design: Nina Wetzel
Composer: Nils Ostendorf
Video: Sébastien Dupouey
Dramaturg: Florian Borchmeyer
Lighting Designer: Michael Wetzel
Collaboration Choreography: Johanna Lemke

With: Christoph Gawenda, Laurenz Laufenberg, Renato Schuch, Alina Stiegler
Musician: Thomas Witte

Duration: ca. 130 minutes

Premiered on 3 June 2018

Tour Dates

Girona (December 2018)
Belgrade (September 2019)
Tokyo (Oktober 2019)
New York (November/December 2019)
Brussels (January 2020)
Paris (January/February 2020)
Athen (Oktober 2021)
Amsterdam (February 2022)
Spoleto (July 2022)
Gothenburg (August 2022)
Taiwan (September 2023)


The tour of »History of Violence« in New York at the St. Ann's Warehouse is part of Wunderbar Together – Year of German American Friendship. The initiative is funded by German Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).



Coproduction with Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles and St. Ann’s Warehouse Brooklyn.


Supported by LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin


There will be smoking on stage.
Recommended age: 16 years
In the performance there is an explicit portrayal of sexual violence.