Thomas Irmer (DE)

Thomas Irmer (DE)

Dr. Thomas Irmer


born 1962 in Potsdam, G.D.R., lives in Berlin


academic career


graduated in English and German literature at Leipzig University, 1988

Fulbright research fellow at SUNY Buffalo, 1990/91

PhD with a dissertation on postmodern American fiction at Leipzig University, 1994

lecturer for American literature and culture at Leipzig University, 1992-96

lecturer for American drama and theater at Freie Universität Berlin, John F. Kennedy Institute, since 2003


current areas of teaching


American drama and theatre history, theatre criticism, history of East German theatre


possible areas of teaching


contemporary European theatre, German drama and Heiner Müller, German theatre, documentary theatre, festival politics, theatre on TV


professional career


1998 to 2003 editor-in-chief of the monthly journal Theater der Zeit (including relaunch 2000)

2003 to 2006 dramaturgical advisor for the international theatre season spielzeiteuropa at Berliner Festspiele (working, among others, for Robert Lepage, John Jesurun, Peter Brook, William Forysthe, Heiner Goebbels and Frank Castorf)

books include Metafiction, Moving Fictions, Moving Histories (1995), Frank Castorfs Volksbühne (2003), Die Bühnenrepublik - Theater in der DDR (2003), Luk Perceval - Theater und Ritual (2005)

various articles (some translated into altogether 15 languages) on recent drama and theater arts in the following journals and magazines: The Drama Review, Theatre, Western European Stages and Performing Arts Journal (USA), Journal of Beckett Studies (Great Britain), Didaskalia, Dialog, Notatnik Teatralny and Teatr (Poland), Shakespeare (Norway), Divadlo (Slovak Republic), Maska (Slovenia), Scena (Serbia), Ubu (France), Kulturos barai and Lietuvos teatras (Lithuania), Szinhaz and Vilagszinhaz (Hungary), Sirp (Estonia), La Tempestad (Mexico) et al

regular contributor to Theater heute (Germany), Didaskalia (Poland), Shakespeare (Norway) and for national public TV (ZDF) and radio (mdr)

author and codirector of four documentary films on theatre: Die Bühnenrepublik - Theatre in the GDR (2003, national TV award Grimme-Preis, 2004), Europe in Pieces (2004), Born 1968 (2008) and Heiner Müller (2009). Author and dramaturgical advisor of the TV documentary series Theaterlandschaften (2005-10)


recent international lectures and talks


London, Royal Academy 2008, "The Space of Speech: from Peter Handke to René Pollesch"

Maribor, Slovenia, International Conference on European Capitals of Culture 2009, "Lodz and The Polish Competition"

Berlin, German Association for American Studies conference 2010, "Chris Kondek's Performance Dead Cat Bounce"

Moscow, Net-festival Berlin Moscow 2010, "German Drama after Heiner Müller" (publication forthcoming)

New York, German House NYU 2011, "Introduction to Heiner Müller's Hamletmachine"


recent publications in English


"A Search for New Realities. Documentary Theatre in Germany", The Drama Review 50:3 (fall 2006), pp. 16-28.

William F. Condee and Thomas Irmer: "Experiments with architectural space in the German theatre", A History of German theatre, eds. Simon Williams and Maik Hamburger, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008, pp. 248-274.

"Aspects of National Theatres in Germany after 1945", National Theatres in a Changing Europe, ed. S.E. Wilmer, New York: Palgrave, 2008, pp. 173-9.

Gaby Hartel, Klaus Völker and Thomas Irmer: "The Reception of Beckett's Theatre and Television Pieces in West and East Germany", The International Reception of Samuel Beckett, eds. Mark Nixon and Matthew Feldman, London: continuum, 2009, pp. 75-96.

"German Wanderings: New Approaches to Beckett's Journey", Journal of Beckett Studies vol. 19 / # 2 (2010), pp. 276-83.

"Ilka Saal. New Deal Theater" (review), Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik vol. LVIII (4/2010), pp. 412-4.


theatrical activities


"Vaclav Havel. A tribute for three voices", produced at Berliner Festspiele, 2007

"Breweries: A Historical Guide through the Prenzlauer Berg Neighborhood", produced at Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, 2010

"Bob and Tom. The Pynchon-Dylan connection around Washington Square", produced at Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxmburg-Platz, 2011


jury member


Gebrüder Grimm Preis Berlin (theatre for the young), 2001

Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden (national radioplay competition), since 2003

Berlin Theatertreffen Stückemarkt (new German plays), 2005

Festival Politik im Freien Theater (independent theatre), 2005

Evaluation of private and independent theatres in Berlin, commissioned by the municipal government of Berlin, 2006

International Theatre Festival KONTAKT Torun, Poland, 2007 and 2008

Gebrüder Grimm Preis Berlin (theatre for the young), 2009

POSZT festival, Pecs, Hungary, 2010

Borstnikovo festival, Maribor, Slovenia, since 2010

Kinderstücke Mülheimer Theatertage, since 2010

member of ITI Germany and German Association for American Studies.