Theater and Dramatist Prizes
And the Winner is ...

Theatre prize DER FAUST (Trophy)
Photo (detail): © Natalie Bothur/Deutscher Bühnenverein

Prizes, though not central to theater life, are still always a welcome because decorative part of it; they prolong the fleeting moment of applause, reward the unseen efforts, look good on the vita and delight all those that have been invited to the award ceremony for champagne and hors’ oeuvre. “Posterity weaves no wreaths for the actor”, wrote Friedrich Schiller in the Prologue to Wallenstein, and so at least his contemporaries should do things in style and not stint on the honors – even if in some cases it is not completely clear whether the prize honors in fact the prize winner rather than vice versa.
 


Modeled on the American Oscars, the non-endowed German theater prize The Faust was launched in 2006. Its sponsors and partners are the German Theater Association, the Cultural Foundation of the Federal States, the alternating federal state that hosts it each year and the German Academy of Performing Arts. The theaters propose the candidates. Then a jury nominates three candidates for each of eight categories, and the members of the German Academy of Performing Arts cast their votes. The jury also awards a prize for lifetime achievement and occasionally a prize for outstanding achievement.

The Faust

Since 1966, the 3sat Prize, endowed with € 10,000 and founded by the 3sat partners ZDF, ORF, SF und ARD, has been awarded for outstanding artistic achievement at the Berlin Theater Meeting. Each member of a four-member jury nominates a personal candidate from the ensembles invited to the Theater Meeting. Since 2009, the winner has been announced at a live one-hour, public televised debate.

3sat Prize

The Berlin Theater Prize of the Prussian Maritime Trading Company has been awarded annually during the Berlin Theater Meeting since 1988. It is endowed with € 20,000 and honors outstanding contributions to German-language theater. The list of illustrious winners ranges from George Tabori (1988) Luc Bondy (1998) and Josef Bierbichler (2008) to Margit Bendokat (2010).

Berlin Theater Prize

At the suggestion of single judges Hans Lietzaus (1991) and later Kurt Hübners (1992 to 2006), the Prize for Young Directors is awarded annually on the occasion of the Gertrud Eysoldt-Ring awards. Since 2007, Klaus Völker has been the judge. Winners include many now established directors such as Martin Kusej, Elmar Goerden, Monika Gintersdorfer and Tina Lanik.

Prize for Young Directors

The Joana Maria Gorvin Prize has been awarded every five years since 1995 by the Performing Arts Section of the Berlin Academy of the Arts. It was founded by Maximilian B. Bauer in memory of his wife, the actress Joana Maria Gorvin, and is endowed with € 25,000. The Prize is given to honor the outstanding achievement of a woman in German-speaking theater and has hitherto been awarded to Pina Bausch (1995), Anny Schlemm (2000), Anja Silja (2005) and in 2010 to Jutta Lampe.

Joana Maria Gorvin Prize

The Austrian Ministry of Education has sponsored the Grillparzer Ring since 1964. It is an award for general directors, stage directors, actors, stage and costume designers, dramaturges, translators and scholars that have made special contributions to understanding the work of Franz Grillparzer. (Not to be confused with the Grillparzer Prize, which was awarded every three years for a German dramatic work between 1875 and 1971 and then discontinued.)

The O.E. Hasse Prize for Young Actors has been awarded by the O.E. Hasse Foundation since 1981 and supervised by the Berlin Academy of the Arts. It fulfills the legacy of the film and theater actor O.E. Hasse. Since 2003, the Prize, endowed to the amount of € 5,000 to € 10,000, has sometimes been awarded as a grant, alternately to students of the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin and of the Otto-Falckenberg School in Munich.

O.E. Hasse Prize

The Fritz Kortner Prize, named after the actor and director Fritz Kortner (1892–1970), was established by the publisher Erhard Friedrich and was awarded, between 1987 and 2000, by the journal Theater heute to a German language theater artist “whose daring, truthfulness and aesthetic curiosity show that Kortner’s example continues to have an effect”. After 2000, the Prize was no longer awarded. Instead, the Erhard Friedrich Foundation now uses the money for the advancement of young theater artists and the support of projects in theater training and research.

Fritz Kortner Prize

Every three years, and alternating with the Dance Prize and the Music Prize, the Bavarian state capital of Munich awards the Munich Theater Prize, endowed with € 10,000, for the outstanding complete works of a theater artist whose work is closely bound up with Munich theater life. Candidates are nominated by a jury of experts and city councilors appointed by the City Council. Those who have been honored with the Prize include Jörg Hube, Alexeij Sagerer, Elisabeth Schweeger, George Froscher, Jennifer Minetti, Tilmann Broszat and Gottfried Hattinger.

Munich Theater Prize

In 2000, the city of Vienna decided to combine three less noticed theater awards – the Kainz Medal, the Nestroy Ring for Viennese Satire and the Karl Skraup Prize for Ensemble Members of the Vienna Volkstheater – in a new form. Following the example of the Paris theater prize “Moliere”, the Association for the Viennese Theater Prize, in collaboration with the City Council, launched the Nestroy Theater Prize. Since then, the Prize has been awarded annually in eight categories for outstanding achievement in the Austrian theater. Productions from all German-speaking countries may be nominated in the category of “Best Performance”.

Nestroy Theater Prize

In commemoration of the great reform of German theaters in the eighteenth century, the city of Leipzig has since 1998 awarded every two years the Caroline Neuber Prize, endowed with € 6,000, to a woman theater artist from a German-speaking country who has set new standards of excellence. Those who have been honored with the Prize include Jutta Hoffmann, Inge Keller, Konstanze Lauterbach, Nele Hertling, Karin Henkel and Ann-Elisabeth Wolff. In 2010, the winner was Sasha Waltz.

Caroline Neuber Prize

To receive a prize even before the first engagement – this has been made possible for particularly gifted drama students by the Max Reinhardt Prize, founded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture. At the annual “Theater Meeting of German-Speaking Drama Students”, the Meeting awards every two years a solo prize and an ensemble prize to a whole class. In alternate years, the Zurich Vontobel Foundation for the Advancement of Ensembles awards the Vontobel Prize, endowed with € 10,000, to a drama school ensemble. Also awarded in the Competition for Young Actors are further prizes sponsored by the Ministry for Education and Research with a total value of € 20,000, and the Student Prize, endowed with € 1,000, established by the actress Regine Lutz.

Max Reinhardt Prize

The Hans Reinhart Ring is the highest theater award in Switzerland. Established by the poet, translator and patron of the arts Hans Reinhart (1880-1963), it has been awarded since 1957 by an independent jury in the name of the Swiss Society for Theater Culture (SGTK) for “outstanding contributions to theater in Switzerland” to theater artists from various artistic fields. The Ring is specially crafted for each winner and becomes his or her possession.

Hans Reinhart Ring

The German Center of the International Theater Institute (ITI ) takes World Theater Day on March 27 as the occasion to honor outstanding personalities in theater whose theater work in Germany has a particularly international presence. The World Theater Day Prize has been awarded since 1985. Those who have been honored include Klaus Michael Grüber, George Tabori, the Mülheim Theater Festival, Pina Bausch, Tankred Dorst, William Forsythe, Volker Ludwig and the GRIPS Theater, the International Forum of Young Theater Artists, Manfred Linke, the Theater an der Ruhr, Frank Castorf, Nele Hertling, Kurt Hübner, Andrzej Wirth and Jürgen Gosch. The winners of this year’s World Theater Day Prize were Christoph Marthaler and Anna Viebrock.

World Theater Day Prize


The Lions Club Offenbach-Lederstadt has awarded three times since 2006 the Offenbach Lion for Set Design in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, endowed with € 5,000. The Prize is theme-related and intended for students majoring in set design, set design assistants and young set designers.

Offenbach Lion for Set Design

Every two years the Hein Heckroth Society, named after the painter and set designer Hein Heckroth (1901 - 1970), awards together with the city of Giessen and the state of Hesse the Hein Heckroth Prize for Set Design in the form of a first prize and an advancement prize. The prizes are endowed with € 5,000 and € 2,500 respectively. The winner of the first prize selects the winner of the advancement prize and makes a recommendation for the next first prize candidate.

Hein Heckroth Prize for Set Design


In 2010, the Endowment Fund for Performing Arts awarded for the first time the George Tabori Prize for outstanding ensembles in independent theater and dance. The first prize, endowed with € 20,000, was given to the Dresden group “norton.commander.productions”, and the second prize, endowed with € 10,000, to the Hamburg artistic duo of Monika Gintersdorfer and Knut Klassen.

George Tabori Prize

The Cologne Dance Prize and Theater Prize have been awarded annually since 1990 to the best productions of the professional, non-municipal Cologne theater and dance scene. An independent jury of experts nominates productions twice a year, which then enter the running for the Prize. The awards include a Theater Prize (€ 10,400), since 2009 a Dance Prize (€ 5,200), a Children’s and Young People’s Theater Prize (€ 5,200), an Actor Prize (€ 5,000), the Cologne Theater Prize of Honor (€ 2,600) and the Young Actor Prize, the “Puck” (€ 2,500).

Cologne Dance Prize and Theater Prize

The Kurt Hackenberg Prize for Political Theater was first awarded in 2007 by the Cologne Freie Volksbühne on the occasion of its 85th anniversary. Since then, the Prize, endowed with € 5,000, has been awarded annually to a Cologne theater production (municipally sponsored or independent) or to its author or a member of an ensemble.

Kurt Hackenberg Prize for Political Theater

The festival “Politics in Independent Theater”, organized in varying cities by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education, has awarded since 1988 two prizes: the Prize of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, endowed with guest performance grant of € 15,000, and the Prize of the Goethe-Institut, endowed with € 10,000 for an international tour of a German theater production.

Prize of the Federal Agency for Civic Education

The Stuttgart Department of Culture, the Stuttgart Theater and the State Association of Independent Theaters have awarded since 2005 the Stuttgart Theater Prize. It is given annually in the areas of spoken and dance theater. The Prize follows in the tradition of the Theater Prize of the Stuttgarter Zeitung, which founded it in 1988 and then withdrew from it in 2003. The total endowment of the four prizes amounts to € 15,000. The awards include the Stuttgart Theater Prize, and special prizes for outstanding achievement (€ 4,000), the best performance as an actor (€ 2,000), and an Audience Prize (€ 3,000).

Stuttgart Theater Prize


Every two years since 1961, and most recently in 2009, the federal state of Berlin has awarded the Brothers Grimm Prize, endowed with € 10,000, for the promotion of children’s and young people’s theater. Honored are German-language plays and productions that deal with the reality of children and young people and that work towards encouraging tolerant co-existence. A three-member jury chooses the winners. Former prizewinners include Volker Ludwig (three times) and the Gripstheater, the Theater Rote Grütze and the Theater in der Parkaue (where award ceremony takes place), all of which have received the prize several times.

Brothers Grimm Prize of the Federal State of Berlin

Every two years the Children’s and Young People’s Center of the Federal Republic of Germany, based in Frankfurt, awards the German Children’s Theater Prize and the German Young People’s Theater Prize to honor authors whose work stand as examples of dramatic literature for children’s and young people’s theater. The prizes are conferred on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Young People (BMFSFJ). Each prize is endowed with € 10,000 provided by the BMFSFJ. Nominations are submitted by German-language theater publishers and professional theaters; foreign language plays available in German translation may also be nominated. A five-member jury makes its selection from among the proposed premiered plays. Also awarded are three scholarships, each endowed with € 3,000, for nominated authors of children’s theater for the development of new plays.

German Children’s Theater Prize / German Young People’s Theater Prize

Every two years since 1981, the Baden-Württemberg Association of Children’s and Young People’s Theater has awarded the Young People’s Theater Prize of Baden-Württemberg on behalf of the Ministry for Science, Research and Art. A jury, consisting of representatives from the theater, press and publishing and a male and a female author, choose the winners of the first prize and the promotion prize from among the submitted, not yet or already premiered plays. The first prize is endowed with € 7,500 and the promotion prize with € 2,500. In 2008, authors were also invited to apply for the first time for a project scholarship, endowed with € 5,000, that would enable their collaboration with a theater in Baden-Württemberg.

Young People’s Theater Prize of Baden-Württemberg

As part of the Dutch-German children’s and young people’s theater festival Kaas & Kappes, the city of Duisburg has since 1999 annually awarded the Dutch-German Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Drama. The bilingual authors competition has now been expanded to include Belgium, Austria and Switzerland. A four-member jury of Dutch and German theater professionals choose one or more winners from among the submitted manuscripts, which must be written in Dutch or German. The prize money of € 7,500, endowed by the city of Duisburg, is divided among the winners. The winning play(s) and other plays recommended by the jury are also presented in a pool on the Internet.

Dutch-German Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Drama


The city of Augsburg has awarded every three years since 1995 the Bertolt Brecht Prize, endowed with € 15,000, to a figure “who has distinguished himself in his literary work through a critical analysis of the present”. Former winners include Franz Xaver Kroetz, Urs Widmer, Dea Loher and Albert Ostermaier.

Bertolt Brecht Prize

Since 1923 (with an interruption from 1933 to 1945), the Georg Büchner Prize, the most important German literary award, has been awarded in the city of Darmstadt. Originally conceived of as a prize of the federal state of Hesse for artists in all fields, it was converted into a purely literary prize in 1951 and placed under the responsibility of the German Academy for Language and Literature. A jury annually decides the winner of the Prize, which is endowed with € 40,000. Among the important dramatists so honored have been Elfriede Jelinek, George Tabori, Tankred Dorst, Botho Strauß, Heiner Müller, Thomas Bernhard and Peter Handke.

Georg Büchner Prize

The Prize for Young Dramatists, established by the Federal Agency for Civic Education and endowed with € 5,000, is awarded at the Stückemarkt of the Berlin Theater Meeting to one of ten invited authors. Also awarded is a commission in the amount of € 7,000 for a new play.

Prize for Young Dramatists

The Kleist Prize for Young Dramatists is an integral part of the Kleist Festival held annually in October in honor of the poet and dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, in whose hometown, Frankfurt/Oder, it takes place. Since 1996, the city of Frankfurt/Oder, together with the Ruhr Festival Recklinghausen, the Society of Dramaturges and the Frankfurt Trade Fair and Event Organizing Company, has awarded the Prize that is endowed with € 7,500 and connected with the guarantee of a premier performance. Candidates may not be older than 35 years of age at the entry deadline. Previous winners include Marius von Mayenburg, Rebekka Kricheldorf, Reto Finger and Dirk Laucke.

Kleist Prize for Young Dramatists

The Foundation for Culture of the Rhineland-Palatinate in Kaiserslautern has awarded every two years since 1993 the Else Lasker-Schüler Dramatist Prize for a dramatic oeuvre. Recent winners include Roland Schimmelpfennig, Fritz Kater, Dea Loher, Elfriede Jelinek and Einar Schleef. Also awarded in addition to the first prize, endowed with € 15,000, is the Stückepreis for Young Dramatists, endowed with € 5,000 and an optional work grant of up to € 10,000, which enables a cooperation with the Pfalztheater in Kaiserslautern.

Else Lasker-Schüler Dramatist Prize

The Mülheim Dramatist Prize has been awarded since 1976 at the Stücke Mülheim Theater Festival at a public jury debate, which is also transmitted live over the Internet, and is considered the most important German dramatist prize. The nominees are seven to eight of the best German-language plays of a season, invited by a five-member selection committee. Also awarded in addition to the first prize, endowed with € 15,000, are a non-endowed Audience Prize and, since 2007, a Mülheim Children’s Play Prize, endowed with € 10,000.

Mülheim Dramatist Prize

2009 was the first time that the Cultural Office of the City of Munich and the Munich Kammerspiele, in collaboration with Drei Masken Publishers, awarded the Promotion Prize for German-Language Drama. The prize money of 15,000 € is a donation of the Edith and Werner Rieder Foundation. In future, the Prize will be awarded every two years in order to encourage dramatic works by young authors who are not yet established in theater or publishing. The award is connected with a public presentation and a premier at the Munich Kammerspiele. Eligible are young dramatists under thirty years of age who have premiered no more than two works and are not yet represented by a publisher.

Munich Promotion Prize for German-Language Drama


The actress and founder of the Düsseldorf Theater Louise Dumont (1862 - 1932) received from her friend Queen Charlotte of Württemberg a yellow topaz necklace that she always called her fountain of vitality. Her husband Gustav Lindemann established the Louise-Dumont Yellow Topaz in memory of his wife as a prize for a German-speaking actress. It is awarded for life by the Board of Trustees of the Dumont Lindemann Archive. The current bearer of the award is Maria Becker.

Louise-Dumont Yellow Topaz  

On the occasion of her 65th stage anniversary in 1967, the Austrian actress Tilla Durieux (1880 - 1971) donated an art-deco necklace out of her possession as an award for an outstanding German or Austrian exponent of the art of acting. The Tilla Durieux Jewelry is passed on every ten years, on the recommendation of its holder, by the Section for Performing Arts of the Berlin Academy of the Arts. Previous winners have been Maria Wimmer, Gisela Stein, Kirsten Dene and Anette Paulmann.

Tilla Durieux Jewelry  

As a legacy of the theater critic Wilhelm Ringelband, who died in 1981, the city of Bensheim, together with the German Academy of Performing Arts, has awarded since 1986 the Gertrud Eysoldt Ring, named after the Max Reinhardt actress Gertrud Eysoldt (1870 - 1955) and endowed with € 10,000. An annually changing jury selects the winner for outstanding acting performance in theater. Many important contemporary actors and actresses have been honored with the Ring, including Josef Bierbichler, Angela Winkler, Ulrich Matthes and most recently, in 2009, Barbara Nüsse.

Gertrud Eysoldt Ring

The Iffland Ring belongs to a series of honors bequeathed by testament. Its origin is interwoven in legend. The Ring has been looked upon as a special award for the “most worthy contemporary [actor]” since 1911, when it turned up with a corresponding note in the literary estate of the actor Friedrich Haase (1825 - 1911). It belongs to each of its bearers for life and is passed on by will to a colleague who is personally esteemed as particularly important. The present bearer of the Ring is Bruno Ganz.

Iffland Ring  

The Körber Foundation has annually awarded the Boy Gobert Prize, endowed with € 10,000, since 1981 to a young actress and actor on the Hamburg stage. Previous winners include Ulrich Tukur, Martin Wuttke and Fritzi Haberlandt.

Boy Gobert Prize

The Alfred Kerr Actors Prize, endowed with € 5,000, goes back to an initiative of the children of the famous 1930s theater critic and is awarded at the Berlin Theater Meeting. Since 1991, an annually changing single judge, always a famous actor or actress, has selected in the name of the Alfred Kerr Foundation a promising young talent from among the ensembles invited to the Theater Meeting. Now well-known winners of the Prize include Steffi Kühnert, Johanna Wokalek, August Diehl and Wiebke Puls.

Alfred Kerr Actors Prize

The actress, stage director and theater director Hermine Körner (1978 - 1960) donated a ring from her own possession as an award for the German actress that distinguished herself for the “most serious effort”. She herself designated Roma Bahn (1896 - 1975) as the first bearer of the ring, which is awarded for life. Since then, the Section for Performing Art of the Berlin Academy of the Arts has awarded the Hermine Körner Ring to Marianne Hoppe (1909 - 2002) and Gisela Stein (1935-2009).

Hermine Körner Ring

As the female counterpart of the Iffland Ring, the Austrian Federal Government established in 1978 the Alma Seidler Ring, which is awarded to an actress for life and then passed on by her in her will. It is said that Werner Krauß would have liked to have bequeathed the Iffland Ring to the Vienna Burgtheater actress Alma Seidler (1899 - 1977) were a women not traditionally excluded as a successor. The first bearer of the Alma Seidler Ring was Paula Wessely; the current bearer is Annemarie Düringer.

The Rita Tanck Glaser Acting Prize, founded by the teacher and theater lover Rita Tanck Glaser, who died in 1996, has been awarded every two years since 1999 by the Hamburg Cultural Foundation to an actor and actress that “has promoted linguistic culture through outstanding acting achievement mainly on the Hamburg stage”. The Prize is endowed with € 10,000. Winners include André Jung (2000), Monica Bleibtreu (2002) and, in 2010, Marion Breckwoldt.

Rita Tanck Glaser Acting Prize

Im Gedenken an den 1999 verstorbenen Schauspieler Ulrich Wildgruber wurde im Jahr 2000 vom Magazin stern, der Münchner Theateragentin Carola Studlar und den Hamburger Kammerspielen unter Intendant Ulrich Tukur der Ulrich-Wildgruber-Preis zur Förderung junger Schauspieler geschaffen. Er bestand zunächst bis 2002 aus einem einjährigen Stipendium. Nach dreijähriger Pause wird er seit 2007 in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Förderkreis des St.-Pauli-Theaters und der Nordmetall-Stiftung mit einem Preisgeld von 10.000 Euro erneut vergeben. Preisträger waren u.a. August Diehl (2001), Birgit Minichmayr (2002), Sandra Hüller (2009) und Katharina Schüttler (2010).

Ulrich Wildgruber Prize

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