Claus Peymann

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Claus Peymann (2011) during an auction in the courtyard of the Berliner Ensemble .

Claus Peymann (* 7. June 1937 in Bremen as Klaus Eberhard Peymann) is a German theater director and was up to 2 July 2017 director , artistic director, managing director and sole shareholder of the Berliner Ensemble (Berliner Ensemble GmbH).


Claus Peymann was born as the son of the teacher Karl Peymann, who was born in Bremen in 1896. Karl Peymann had Claus' mother, Käthe, born in 1897. von Hohenböken, married. Claus Peymann graduated from high school in Hamburg in 1956 and then began studying German, literature and theater at the University of Hamburg .

He is a member of the Free Academy of the Arts Hamburg .

First directorial work in Hamburg and Frankfurt

Peymann began directing at the University Theater in Hamburg. 1966/67 he was at the Stadttheater Heidelberg with Otto Sander and Ulrich Wildgruber , then until 1969 senior director of the Frankfurt Theater am Turm . In the 1970/71 season he moved to the Berlin Schaubühne . However, there was only a little work at the Schaubühne because Peymann could not cope with the democratic model of the co-determination theater and its director Peter Stein . After falling out with Stein, he worked as a freelance director from 1971 to 1974.

Drama director in Stuttgart (1974–1979) and artistic director at the Bochumer Schauspielhaus (1979–1986)

Peymann took on his first major directorship from 1974 to 1979 as acting director at the Schauspiel Stuttgart , where he was put under pressure by Prime Minister Hans Filbinger for collecting money for a denture for the imprisoned RAF terrorist Gudrun Ensslin and made headlines for the first time in Germany. The Lord Mayor of Stuttgart Manfred Rommel managed to ensure that he could at least fulfill his contract period to the end. In 1979 Peymann took over the management of the Schauspielhaus Bochum , which had previously been run by Peter Zadek . In doing so, he fired 44 actors and employees and thus caused a lot of resentment in the German theater scene. During his seven-year term in office, Peymann celebrated great success with critics and audiences and established his reputation as the “Pope” of the German theater scene.

World premieres by contemporary authors such as Thomas Bernhard , Peter Handke or Peter Turrini , and later Elfriede Jelinek , have always been a focus of Peymann's work. Gert Voss (until his death in July 2014), Ignaz Kirchner and Kirsten Dene are among the most important actors with whom Peymann has worked and in some cases still works today .

Director of the Burgtheater in Vienna (1986–1999)

1986 Peymann took over the management of the Burgtheater in Vienna . Due to his emphasis on modern theater plays critical of Austria such as Heldenplatz by Thomas Bernhard , there were several serious disputes with sections of the Viennese press, which were fueled by both bourgeois-conservative circles and social democratic personalities such as ex-Chancellor Bruno Kreisky and Social Minister Josef Hesoun . The controversial effect of Peymann on the castle must be seen in connection with the special status of this cultural institution in Austria: the theater, founded in 1776 with an ensemble of around 160 actors, is still considered by many to be the Olympus of the German-language drama theater. Under the direction of Peymann, the charisma of this mythical place was used to a previously unknown extent for socio-political disputes.

Internally, too, the Peymann era at the Burgtheater was rich in conflicts. Many of the Burgtheatre actors who had a lifetime contract - after ten years of engagement, the so-called ten-year clause - did not appear in his era or only appeared in supporting roles. One of these people who vehemently opposed Peymann was the later State Secretary for Art, Franz Morak - at that time in his capacity as an ensemble representative. But actors who were assigned to the Social Democrats, such as Fritz Muliar or Erika Pluhar in particular, argued publicly against Peymann and refused to appear under his direction.

Peymann remained head of the Burgtheater for thirteen years before he left for Berlin in 1999 . Previously, he had threatened once again not to extend his contract as Burg boss. Surprisingly, this offer, which according to the reports was not entirely serious, was accepted by the then Chancellor Viktor Klima . The Peymann era is judged today in Vienna as a successful and creative management of the Burgtheater - despite some weaknesses. It also contributed to the fact that Peymann brought many well-known, very different directors to Vienna, such as B. Giorgio Strehler , Peter Zadek , Hans Neuenfels , Einar Schleef or George Tabori .

Artistic Director of the Berliner Ensemble (1999-2017)

Claus Peymann (2006)
Peymann reads Thomas Bernhard (2017)

In Berlin he has been in charge of the Berliner Ensemble in the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm since the 1999/2000 season . The Berliner Ensemble, founded by Bertolt Brecht in 1949 and legendary for its Brecht performances until the end of the GDR , has played here since 1954 . In 2002 he received the Nestroy Theater Prize for Lifetime Achievement.

In February 2007, Peymann came under fire because he had offered the former RAF terrorist Christian Klar an internship as a stage technician at the Berliner Ensemble and supported the latter's recent political statements. Rolf Hochhuth then demanded that Claus Peymann be removed from his position as director of the Berliner Ensemble. Further trials by Hochhuth against Peymann followed.

In April 2008 it was announced that Peymann was planning to work for the Berliner Ensemble for at least two more years in his previous management functions. Then Peymann extended his contract several times for two years, originally until 2016. In December 2014, Peymann extended his contract one last time until July 2017, his successor was Oliver Reese .

The premiere of the production of Shakespeare's Richard II, which was voted the best foreign-language theater performance of the year by the French Critics' Association in 2010, took place in the Berliner Ensemble in 2000 and has since made guest appearances in Tehran, Tokyo, Stratford-upon-Avon and Verona, and most recently in Vienna Burgtheater .

In order to put more pressure on ongoing collective bargaining, a ver.di group of eight young visitors did not stick to the agreement with ver.di on January 3, 2012   and after the break disrupted a premiere of Danton's death staged by Peymann with chants and leaflets that they threw from first rank onto the audience in the stalls. The audience remained passive, the debriefings only mentioned the incident in passing and the ver.di tariff secretary in charge distanced himself from the action: "We have stopped all activities because there is a first hearing on January 23rd."

Peymann accuses his successor, Oliver Reese, of destroying the Berliner Ensemble, as he no longer wants to take on any members of the ensemble: “In today's youth craze, which I perceive as complete perversity, Reese is now putting everyone out the door. He can do that because the theater has been a GmbH since the beginning of the nineties, long before my management started. ”In addition, the BE archive should also be closed. Peymann also describes the Governing Mayor and Senator for Culture Müller and the State Secretary for Culture Tim Renner , who selected Reese, as a cultural and political catastrophe for Berlin: “The people who are now at the helm are responsible for history. But Renner doesn't know anything, doesn't know anything, he is a disaster in this position. [...] The miller recently went to the opera for the first time in his life. The Grütters [ Minister of State for Culture, editor's note. Red.] Dragged him into the Freischütz . So such people are our cultural politicians. At some point I burst my collar. ”“ I always thought that cultural policy in Vienna was the absolute lowest point. Now I can see that it is even worse in Berlin. ”He therefore wants a Senator for Culture in Berlin,“ who is committed to protecting artists, who takes responsibility and loves art. ”

In 2015, on a joint flight with Norbert Lammert, Peymann spoke about his possible return to the Bochum Schauspielhaus with Leander Haußmann and Matthias Hartmann : “I told Lammert that he should push it through. He then stopped being heard from. (laughs heartily) “Instead, Peymann returned to the Stuttgart State Theater for a guest performance in the 2017/18 season, where he staged Shakespeare's King Lear . The premiere was on February 23, 2018.

At the end of his directorship, Peymann reviewed a long theater evening (“Der Abschied”) on July 2, 2017 with excerpts from his favorite pieces. Film recordings of deceased directors and actors who were closely associated with Peymann reappeared on a stage screen. Prominent artist friends such as Nina Hagen , Katharina Thalbach , Georgette Dee , Angela Winkler , Herbert Grönemeyer attended the last performance. After five hours and many ovations, fireworks on Brecht-Platz ended Peymann's aegis at midnight.

Claus Peymann lives with his partner Jutta Ferbers in Berlin-Köpenick . He decided not to start a family because the theater is his family to him.


“'Anyone who knows Peymann better knows that he is a kind of shared apartment. An elegant gentleman is reported in him, a defiant, wonderfully playful kid's head, a Grantscherm with a tendency to rage, a brilliant political analyst, incapable of opportunism . ' In addition, there is a 'hesitant addicted to harmony, a harsh colonialist - and a cautious development worker'. Every morning [...] a drawing will decide which Peymann will get the outcome. "

- André Heller , 1999.


“I wasn't born in 1937. I was born as Claus Peymann in Bremen. I was born in 1968. Or in the 1960s and 1970s here in Stuttgart. This is actually my real birth. And my delusion, that I still believe, like a mammoth , that no longer fits into the times, that the theater is really responsible for utopias , is responsible for the betterment of the world, for greater justice. "

- Claus Peymann, 2018.


Important productions

See also


Films (selection)

  • Claus Peymann: Interview on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Talk, Austria, 2012, 10:56 min., Moderation: Christian Ankowitsch , production: ORF , series: matinee , first broadcast: June 4, 2012 on ORF 2 , online video by Christian Ankowitsch.
  • Claus Peymann: "Murder and manslaughter". TV report, Germany, 2016, 5:15 min., Production: rbb , editing: Stilbruch , first broadcast: December 8, 2016 by rbb, summary by rbb, ( memento from December 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ).
  • King Claus - Peymann's life for the theater. Documentary, Germany, 2018, 88:48 min., Script and director: Andreas Ammer , production: SWR , series: documentary , first broadcast: April 12, 2018 on SWR television , synopsis by ARD , online video available until October 28, 2019 .

Web links

Commons : Claus Peymann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. biographies. Peymann, Claus. In: Austria Forum .
  2. ^ Stefan Kirschner: The last days of Claus Peymann at the Berliner Ensemble. In: Berliner Morgenpost , May 3, 2017.
  3. Information on Karl Peymann. In: Roland Koberg: Claus Peymann. Adventure every day. Henschel Verlag , Berlin 1999, p. 26.
  4. Information on Karl Peymann. , In: Roland Koberg: Claus Peymann. Adventure every day. Henschel Verlag , Berlin 1999, p. 33.
  5. Information on Käthe Peymann. , In: Roland Koberg: Claus Peymann. Adventure every day. Henschel Verlag , Berlin 1999, p. 26.
  6. Claus Peymann. In: Munzinger archive , only beginning of article.
  7. Volker Oesterreich: “Heidelberg was like puberty for me - totally exciting.” In: Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung , October 18, 2019, “Conversation with the old master director Claus Peymann about political theater”.
  8. ^ Rüdiger Göbel: Solidarity with clear. ( Memento of March 4, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). In: Junge Welt , March 2, 2007.
  9. hae / dpa : Hochhuth wants to send Peymann into retirement. In: SpOn , March 22, 2007.
  10. ^ Dpa: Theater dispute: Hochhuth wants to sue Peymann. In: Tagesspiegel , March 29, 2007.
      KG: Hochhuth goes with a loud bang. In: Tagesspiegel , September 29, 2009.
  11. ^ Dpa: Contract in Berlin extended: Peymann stays until 2014. In: n-tv , November 5, 2010.
  12. Claus Peymann will be retiring from the BE in 2016. In: Die Welt , April 23, 2013.
  13. dpa : Oliver Reese will succeed Claus Peymann at the BE. In: Zeit online , December 1, 2014.
  14. ^ Dapd : collective bargaining for technicians of the Berliner Ensemble at the end of January. ( Memento from November 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) In: , January 6, 2012.
  15. ^ A b R. Brier, K. Colmenares, Claudia von Duehren: Wage activists stormed the premiere. Riot action in the fine Berlin ensemble. In: Picture , January 5, 2012.
  16. Michael Laages: Failed Revolutionaries. Claus Peymann directs Georg Büchner's “Dantons Tod” at the Berliner Ensemble. In: Deutschlandfunk , January 4, 2012.
  17. ^ Hans-Dieter Schütt : Berliner Ensemble: Danton's Death. In: Neues Deutschland , January 5, 2012.
  18. ^ Esther Slevogt: Marseillaise in the theater museum. In: , January 3, 2012.
  19. a b c Wolfgang Höbel : “I don't see myself as a feudal lord. I am an enlightened monarch. ” In: SpOn , September 24, 2016, interview with Peymann.
  20. a b c Claudia von Duehren: “Who wants crazy Peymann?” In: BZ , December 30, 2016, interview with Peymann.
  21. Peter Kümmel: Claus Peymann: “The racer has to go!” In: Zeitmagazin , April 12, 2015, No. 15, interview with Peymann.
  22. ^ Lars von der Gönna: Will Claus Peymann save Bochumer Schauspiel from ruin? In: DerWesten , June 3, 2015, interview with Peymann.
  23. Ulrich Seidler: Claus Peymann: Standing ovations, tears and fireworks for the last performance. In: Berliner Zeitung , July 3, 2017.
  24. ^ Johanna Schickentanz: Claus Peymann - My life. In: arte , 2009.
  25. André Heller in: World Comedy Austria (1999), double tape for Peymann era at the Burgtheater, ISBN 3-552-04946-0 , quoted by Barbara Petsch: Peymann or: was unholy As the holy Burgtheater. In: Die Presse (Vienna), February 29, 2016.
  26. ^ Peymann in: An encounter with Claus Peymann. In: SWR TV , Kunscht! , Script and direction: Sabine Willkop, camera: Eva Gensch, February 15, 2018, available until February 15, 2019, quote from 1:35 min.
  27. Karina Scholz ( dapd , KIZ): Lessing Prize for Criticism 2012 goes to Claus Peymann. In: neue musikzeitung , December 7, 2011.
  28. ^ Review of Helmuth Schönauer : Hermann Beil: Weltkomödie Österreich. In: Literaturhaus Wien , June 15, 1999.