Christiane Pohle

© Andreas Pohlmann
Born in Berlin on 25 July 1968. After her university entrance examination she trained as an actress in Hamburg from 1988 to 1992. From 1992 to 1999 she worked as an actress, including at Schwerin Theatre, the Schlosstheater in Celle and at Kampnagel in Hamburg.

In 1999 she produced “sitting in Hamburg” after Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” at the Hamburg Kammerspiele. For this production she was awarded the “Impulse” Prize 2000 for the 3sat television recording and the Gertrud Eysoldt Prize for young directors in 2001. The independent theatre group LABORLAVACHE resulted from the production.

Since 2000 she has produced continuously at Zurich’s Schauspielhaus and Dresden’s Theater in der Fabrik (TIF). Since 2002 productions at Freiburg Theatre, the Munich Kammerspiele, the Salzburg Festival, the Burgtheater in Vienna and at the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg.

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Productions - A selection

  • After Thomas Mann "The Magic Mountain"
    2014, Schauspiel Stuttgart
  • Frank Wedekind "Lulu"
    2014, Munich Kammerspiele (Werkraum), Production of the third year/Otto Falckenberg Acting-School
  • Hans Werner Henze "Elegie für junge Liebende"(i.e. "Elegy for Young Lovers")
    2013, Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich
  • After Thomas Bernhard "The Loser"
    2013, Schauspielhaus Graz
  • After Matias Faldbakken and Thomas Mann "Desirevolution"
    2012, Theaterakademie Ludwigsburg
  • Wilhelm Jacoby/Carl Laufs, "Pension Schöller"
    2012, Theater Basel
  • Georg Kaiser, "From Morn to Midnight"
    2011, Centraltheater Leipzig
  • Anton Chekhov, "Three Sisters"
    2011, Thalia Theater Hamburg
  • Rainald Goetz "Jeff Koons"
    2011, Münchner Kammerspiele
  • After Fjodor M. Dostojewski "Spieler" (i.e. "Players")
    2010, Pathos München
  • John Osborne "The Entertainer"
    2010, Thalia Theater (Thalia in der Gaußstraße), Hamburg
  • After Juan Goytisolo "Die Marx-Saga" (i.e. "The Marx-Saga")
    2009, Thalia Theater, Hamburg
  • Anja Hilling "Bulbus"
    2009, Münchner Kammerspiele (Werkraum)
  • Gert Jonke "Freier Fall" (i.e. "Free Fall")
    2008, Burgtheater, Vienna
  • Ödön von Horvath "To the Nice View"
    2008, Münchner Kammerspiele
  • Thomas Bernhard "A Party For Boris"
    2007, Salzburg Festivals, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus
  • After motives by Wolfram von Eschenbach "Parzival (A Project)"
    2007, Münchner Kammerspiele
  • Friedrich Schiller "The Robbers"
    2006, Kammerspiele Munich 
  • Gert Jonke "Die versunkene Kathedrale" (i.e., "The Rapt Cathedral")
    2005, Burgtheater, Vienna
  • "Betrachte meine Seel" (i.e., "Regard My Soul")
    2005, sophiensäle, Berlin
  • Ferdinand Bruckner "Früchte des Nichts" (i.e. "Grapes of Nothingness")
    2004, Thalia Theater Hamburg
  • Joanna Laurens “Five Gold Rings”
    2004, Salzburg Festival/Munich Kammerspiele
  • After Jean Paul Sartre “The Flies”
    2004, Freiburg Theatre
  • Falk Richter “Electronic City”
    2003, Schauspielhaus Zurich
  • Jon Fosse “Someone is Going to Come”
    2003, Munich Kammerspiele
  • Gert Jonke “Choral Fantasy”
    premiere 2003, European Capital of Culture Graz/Burgtheater Vienna
  • Peter Stamm “Apres Soleil”
    premiere 2003, Schauspielhaus Zurich
  • After Peter Hoeg “Borderliners”
    premiere 2002, Freiburg Theatre/sophiensaele Berlin
  • Abi Morgan “Splendour”
    2002, Schaubühne Berlin
  • Roland Schimmelpfennig “Push Up”
    2002, TIF Dresden
  • After Johann Wolfgang Goethe “Clavigo”
    2002, Schauspielhaus Zurich
  • Gesine Danckwart “Daily Bread”
    premiere 2001, Theaterhaus Jena/TIF Dresden/sophiensaele Berlin/Thalia Theatre Hamburg
  • After Maxim Gorki “Summer Folk”
    2000, Kampnagel Hamburg/Schauspielhaus Zurich
  • Christiane Pohle “sitting in Hamburg” after Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”
    1999, Kammerspiele Hamburg

Portrait: Christiane Pohle

As a director, Christiane Pohle seeks contact with choreographic theatre and puts dance elements in spoken theatre. She became nationally known in the year 2000 when she took Maxim Gorky’s “Summer Folk” as a model in order to condense the play and to show scenes of modern ennui in associative sections. Even there it became clear that she was not resorting to a fixed repertoire of movement, but was developing her own scenic implementation possibilities starting from the play in question.

In 2001 she staged the premiere of Gesine Danckwart’s “Daily Bread” and made the play about panicking job hamsters on the wheel of the new economy into a cryptic game. She had five actors on Hawaiian palm wallpaper play that children’s game where everyone can move forwards so long as no one sees them move forwards. Anyone who is caught has to return to the start. Since it all takes place in a shallow water tank, the premiere became a moving picture in the “shark tank of the labour market”.

One year later, she produced Roland Schimmelpfennig’s “Push Up” in Dresden’s Theater in der Fabrik. Schimmelpfennig’s play deals with individuals in high positions who mainly like to bully. Pohle put the action in an enclosed rectangle with simple conference tables. The six push-ups were scattered throughout the audience, waiting for their action inside the rectangle and entered into dialogue arguments. Christiane Pohle used individual members of her independent theatre group LABORLAVACHE founded in Hamburg in 1999, to which she also remained loyal when she was suddenly courted by major theatres in the German-speaking world.

Pohle travels on two tracks, producing either with members of the ensemble of the theatre concerned or with actors from the independent scene and continues to work on the jointly developed language of movement. She is actively in favour of cooperation between independent and municipal theatre: “When I immerse myself in a major theatre like a satellite for eight weeks, I am in demand like a soloist with my individual view and interpretation of a play and can develop a directorial style as an individual. But a style of this kind is interesting me less and less, what I am interested in is the style of a project or play that is developed by everyone together and is thus irrevocably associated with the subject being dealt with.”

At the start of the 2002 season, she adapted the novel “Borderliners” by the Danish writer Peter Hoeg for the stage and produced dance theatre. In the novel, Hoeg allows three teenagers to experience tortuous days in a welfare state dictatorial educational institute. In Pohle’s stage adaptation, spiritual exercises of movement underlaid with speech could be seen that made it clear how educational torture works. Pohle’s love of sets that challenge actors was very noticeable. The play was acted in front of and on plastic tracks that were raised in the background and against which the actors kept on diving, and which they kept bumping into and sliding down.

One year later, in the Swiss premiere of Falk Richter’s “Electronic City” she also produced the play on an uneven surface and returned to the subject of the globalised labour market. In Richter’s text surface Tom and Joy suffer from the alienation of the working conditions they have chosen for themselves. Joy is a checkout girl at airports while Tom, as a global player, never precisely knows which airport he is currently in. They cannot find each other and Christiane Pohle shows them as jet-set individuals who suddenly discover their desire for local homeliness. Tom and Joy sit on barstools in triplicate like lonely isolated people of the new economy and are furiously trying to keep their position.

“On the side” Christiane Pohle is the singer in the Berlin band “ganz schöne geräuschkulisse” and within a short time she has developed into a producing global player in the German-speaking world. In summer 2004 she will stage Joanna Laurens’s “Five Gold Rings”, a co-production of the Salzburg Festival and the Munich Kammerspiele.

At the same time, she was preparing the independent project “Regard My Soul”, which had its premiere at the sophiensäle in Berlin in March 2005 and in which she transformed a macabre, deadly dream of quick money into an “airily light evening” (“Süddeutsche Zeitung”) – it was inspired by the authentic case of a South Tyrolean man who had his leg amputated with a chainsaw in order to gain an invalidity pension and bled to death before he could be reached by a doctor.

Christiane Pohle has continued to work mainly at the Munich Kammerspiele and the Vienna Burgtheater, where she directed the world premiere of Gert Jonke’s “The Submerged Cathedral” in 2005, transforming Jonke’s lyrical text into captivatingly powerful images. Pohle’s production of the play was invited to the Mülheim Theatertage in 2006. At the beginning of the 2006/2007 season, she directed an adaptation of Thomas Bernhard’s novel “Extinction” at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. This was followed towards the end of the season by the world premiere of the project “Parsifal in the City” at the Munich Kammerspiele.

Jürgen Berger