Lecture A Question of Vision

A pla takes place onstage. Actors sit inside a car while being filmed from outside the car. Gianmarco Bresadola

Thu, 23.11.2023

6:30 PM GMT

Goethe-Institut London

Schatten by Katie Mitchell at the Schaubühne Berlin

Goethe Annual Lecture 2023 by Katie Mitchell

Join us for the next in our annual lecture series. The Lecture will take place in our auditorium and will be followed by a reception in the Goethe-Institut London Library.

Katie Mitchell describes 15 years of working in Germany and how the productions she directed there and the culture she encountered changed her working practice and her view of British theatre.

Katie Mitchell has directed over 100 productions in a career spanning 30 years – many of them in Germany. Her work includes text-based theatre, opera and ‘live cinema’ productions - a unique combination of video and theatre techniques. 
Mitchell has split her time between working in the UK and mainland Europe, and she has garnered many awards for her works in several countries. In Germany she has directed numerous productions, presented at the Schaubühne in Berlin (Fraulein Julie, Orlando) and Deutsches SchauSpielHaus Hamburg (Reisende auf einem Bein) among others. In her talk she will address the differences between theatre making in the UK and Germany and her feminist approach to her work. 

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A with University of Sussex Senior Lecturer, Ben Fowler.


Katie Mitchell has directed over 100 productions in a career spanning 30 years. Her work includes text-based theatre, opera and ‘live cinema’ productions -a unique combination of video and theatre techniques. In the UK, she has directed 9 productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, 19 for the National Theatre and 12 for The Royal Court and she has been an Associate Director at all three organisations. In opera, she has directed for English National Opera, Glyndebourne Opera, Welsh National Opera and the Royal Opera House.  
Katie has split her time between working in the UK and on mainland Europe in countries including Germany, France, Holland and Scandinavia. She has been a resident director at the Schaubuhne (Berlin), the Deutsches Schauspielhaus (Hamburg) and the Aix-en-Provence Festival (France). In 2015, the Stadsschouwburg Theatre in Amsterdam hosted a retrospective of her work, presenting 8 productions from across Europe. 

Her many awards in the UK include 2 Time Out Awards (1990 & 1991), Evening Standard Best Director Award (1996) and a Tonic Award for her representations of woman and nurture of female talent (2018). Her awards in Europe and beyond include 3 Theatertreffen prizes (Germany) in 2008 & 2009, an Obie Award (US) in 2009, 2 Golden Mask Awards (Russia) in 2011 & 2019, the Stanislavsky Internation Prize (Russia) in 2014, The New Theatrical Realities, Europe Prize in 2014 and Best Director for 2019 at the International Opera Awards.   
Since 2012, Katie has been committed to making performance about environmental issues, working with scientists, musicians, and performers. She has directed eight environmental productions, including directing the first ever bicycle powered classical concert at the Royal Festival Hall. 

She was presented with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) 2009 and the British Academy's President's Medal in 2017 for her services to theatre. 
Katie is a Professor in Theatre Directing at Royal Holloway University where she teaches an MA directing course.  Her other academic roles include Visiting Professor of Opera at Oxford University in 2017, Visiting Fellow at Central St Martin's 2016 - 2018 and an Honorary Fellow at Rose Bruford College, 2014. She has been a Cultural Fellow at Kings College, London, the TORCH Visiting Fellow in Theatre at Oxford University and Visiting Lecturer at Columbia University, New York. 

Ben Fowler is a Senior Lecturer in Drama, Theatre & Performance at the University of Sussex. He has written about the work of key directors in contemporary European theatre and on the German scene such as Katie Mitchell, Thomas Ostermeier and Nicolas Stemann. Publications include Katie Mitchell: Beautiful Illogical Acts (Routledge, 2021), a book that addresses three decades of Mitchell's practice in fourth-wall realism, opera and Live Cinema across major British and European institutions.