Trainer Shermin Langhoff

Shermin Langhoff
© Shermin Langhoff

Shermin Langhoff began her professional life in publishing and television. After many years in film, collaborating on projects including Gegen die Wand (Head-On) with Fatih Akin, she worked as a curator at Berlin's Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) theatre from 2004 to 2008. There she founded the “Akademie der Autodidakten” (Academy of Autodidacts), which provided many talented artists with an artistic platform. Constructed around productions about migration, her “Beyond Belonging” project series began in 2006.

In 2008 Langhoff founded the Ballhaus Naunynstraße in Berlin's Kreuzberg district and contributed significantly to establishing the concept of post-migrant theatre. Since then this concept has become a constant presence in the societal debates surrounding Germany as a country of immigration and has been widely discussed in academia as well. Several Ballhaus productions, especially Verrücktes Blut (Mad Blood) by Nurkan Erpulat and Jens Hillje, attracted attention on an international level. Erpulat's production was invited to Berlin's Theatertreffen and numerous other international festivals.

Shermin Langhoff has been the artistic director of the Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin since the 2013/14 season. In 2014 and 2016, the Gorki was voted “Theatre of the Year” by the German-speaking critics in Theater heute magazine's survey (together with the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in 2016). Many Gorki productions have been shown at the Theatertreffen festival: in 2015 the play Common Ground by Yael Ronen and ensemble, followed by The Situation, another work by Yael Ronen and the ensemble, in 2016.
Shermin has received several awards for her work at the Maxim Gorki Theatre. In 2015 the B.Z. newspaper awarded her with their culture prize. In 2016 she received the East End Theatre Prize and, in the same year, the prestigious Theatre Prize Berlin from the Preussische Seehandlung foundation, together with Jens Hillje, co-artistic director. Under their leadership, the Gorki has deliberately become a radical venue “reflecting the diversity of the city's population in its performance and discussion programme, as well as in its ensemble: German actors from around the world who perform their way out of pigeonholes, attributions and (gender) certainties”, the jury explained. “For them identity is not a fixed category, rather an opportunity to reconsider and re-examine oneself time and again, in social, artistic and political spaces”.
In addition, the Alfred Toepfer Foundation awarded Shermin Langhoff its KAIROS European culture prize in 2011 for her work as a cultural mentor. The Helga and Edzard Reuter Foundation has honoured her for notable achievements in the field of international understanding and integration. In 2012 she received the Moses Mendelssohn Prize from the Berlin government. She was presented with the Theodor Heuss Medal in 2014. In 2017 she was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit) by German President Joachim Gauck for her achievements in culture.
Shermin Langhoff is a member of the Council for Cultural Education in Germany and on the jury for the Tarabya Cultural Academy in Istanbul.