BERLIN: Heiner Goebbels, the maverick composer and theater director, has been named the winner of the 2012 International Ibsen Award, it was announced in Berlin today.

Heiner Goebbels, winner of the 2012 International Ibsen Award | Photo by Wonge Bergmann
Heiner Goebbels, winner of the 2012 International Ibsen Award | Photo by Wonge Bergmann

One of the world’s most important theater prizes, the International Ibsen Award is being honored “for bringing a new artistic dimension to the world of drama or theater.” The winner receives 2.5 million kroner (330.000 Euro).

The jury’s citation says:

“Heiner Goebbels – creator of works for theatre, theatre director, composer, musician, teacher and festival programmer – is one of the great creative personalities of today. He is responsible for an astounding body of work in disparate disciplines and has exerted a profound influence on theater practitioners and musicians.

His theatrical work extends from a large scale work for the opera house to an installation for theater without actors. Each piece is essentially different in character and form and each is genuinely ground breaking. He is a true innovator and his works defy conventional definition.

“He has explored and expanded the relationship between theatre and music and in so doing has developed the elements of theatre in a way that has opened up new insights and possibilities. In this way he fulfills the fundamental purpose of theatre to widen our experience of ourselves and of the world.

His work has been seen in over 50 different countries transforming the experience of audiences and influencing a wide range of performing and creative artists. In addition he has been a pioneer in the use of technology in theater.

The power and significance of his work will in the future increase and will influence theatre and theatre making for the decades and generations to come.”

Goebbels will take home the award at a ceremony to be held during the International Ibsen Festival at the National Theatre in Oslo, August 23 through September 9. Eraritjaritjaka will be the festival’s finale.

The Norwegian government funds the award. The award has previously been awarded to Peter Brook, Ariane Mnouchkine and Jon Fosse. The award is named after Henrik Ibsen, who was born in Skien, Norway on the 20th March 1828.

About the winner:
Heiner Goebbels was born in Germany, 1952. He has composed and directed music theatre since the 1990s. Some of his most famous works include Black on White, Max Black, Eraritjaritjaka, Stifters Dinge, and Songs of Wars I Have Seen. Most have been produced by Theatre Vidy, Lausanne.

Goebbels is professor at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies of the Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, president of the Theatre Academy of Hesse, and artistic director for RUHRTRIENNALE for the 2012-2014 seasons.

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