La Biennale di Venezia

Your are here

Biennale Teatro 2019

Jens Hillje

Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Award Ceremony

During the 47th International Theatre Festival
(22 July > 5 August 2019)

Jens Hillje

La Biennale di Venezia has attributed the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Jens Hillje, the German dramaturg and co-artistic director of the Maxim Gorki Theater.

Raised between Italy and Germany, and for many years co-artistic director of the Schaubühne in Berlin with Thomas Ostermeier and Sasha Waltz before coming to the Gorki Theater, Jens Hillje, says the motivation, “as a professional figure embodies all the characteristics that define the role of the dramaturg today, which embraces far more than just the authorship or elaboration of texts for the theatre, as has been true until the recent past.
Over the years Hillje has served in most of the roles that qualify a contemporary dramaturg, participating in the programming for major theatres, creating synergetic relationships between actors, authors and directors, collaborating with the most important figures on the international scene to propose original themes on which to work, that could orient the choices of artistic directors. Consistently, he has sought to discover and launch new authors for the theatre, selecting very young actors for the theatres in which he has worked and works now,  and matching them with equally young or well-established directors. His work has contributed to the creation of a new audience, from different social backgrounds and geographical areas, a surprising and exemplary result that may even challenge the marketing logic to which today's theatre often defers”.

Biographical notes

Jens Hillje (Germany, 1968) - From 1989 to 1995 he studied Applied Arts at the University of Perugia, continuing these studies in Hildesheim and Berlin. Since 1990 he has worked in independent German theatre as an actor, an author and a director. From 1996 to 1999 he worked in Berlin as a dramaturg for Recherche Faust/Artaud, directed by Thomas Ostermeier, with whom he began a long partnership: together they founded "Barracke" at the Deutsches Theater, a space and a company dedicated to staging contemporary dramaturgical works. From 1999 to 2009 he was the chief dramaturg and member of the artistic direction of the Schaubühne in Berlin with Thomas Ostermeier and choreographer Sasha Waltz: with them he created a permanent international-level dance and prose ensemble.

As a dramaturg, he has worked with the leading exponents of European theatre: in addition to Ostermeier, Yael Ronen, Falk Richter, Luk Perceval, Sebastian Nübling, Nurkan Erpulat. The play titled Crazy Blood, directed by Nurkan Erpulat, won the German critics' award as production of the year 2011. In 2011 he was also the Artistic Director and Curator of the Performing Art Festival – In Transit at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin.

Since 2013, he has been the co-director and chief dramaturg of the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, named Theatre of the Year by Theater Heute magazine in 2014 and 2016. The Preussiche Seedhandlung Foundation awarded him the Theaterpreis Berlin in 2016 alongside Shermin Langhoff, artistic director of the Maxim Gorki Theater.

Biennale Teatro
Biennale Teatro