In his play “An Enemy of the People” Henrik Ibsen walks a fine line between honesty and fanaticism. His play poses the question: what is the potential for truth and transparency in a commercialised society? Thomas Ostermeier’s production of Ibsen’s play premiered at the Schaubühne in 2012. Since then, it has toured all over the world, and was shown for example in Melbourne, Lyon, Montreal, Quebec, Athens, Venice, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, New York, Paris, Istanbul, Oslo, London, Moscow, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, Naples, Tbilisi, Minsk, Bogotá, Torun, Seoul and Beijing. In Ostermeier’s adaptation the crucial scene of Ibsen’s play, showing the public debate about the future of the spa and Stockmann’s accusations, leads to an open discussion inviting the audience to participate. A film team accompanied “An Enemy of the People” during some of its tours, documenting the different reactions in different parts of the world. In his talk Thomas Ostermeier will show and comment on some extracts of this documentary and talk about his notions of a socially relevant theatre, triggering a reconsideration of positions and certainties.
Thomas Ostermeier (born 1968 in Soltau), studied directing at the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst »Ernst Busch«, Berlin from 1992-96. From 1996-99 he was the Artistic Director of the Baracke at the Deutsches Theater, Berlin. Since 1999 resident director and member of the Artistic Direction of the Schaubühne. Ostermeier directed more than 50 plays and teaches directing at the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst »Ernst Busch«. His productions are touring worldwide. As a director he worked at Burgtheater Wien, Kammerspiele München, Hamburger Schauspielhaus, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne and at the Comédie-Française in Paris.
In 2004 he has been appointed »artiste associé« for the Festival d’Avignon, in 2009 »Officier des Arts et des Lettres« and was promoted to the degree of »Commandeur« in 2015. 2010-2018 Ostermeier was the German president of the German-French Council of Culture. For his contributions to the European theatre, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Kent in 2016 and in 2019 from the University of Gothenburg. Among many other awards Thomas Ostermeier received the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale for the entirety of his work in 2011.