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The 2018 Thalia Prize goes to Hans-Thies Lehmann

Professor Hans-Thies Lehmann, the winner of the 2018 Thalia Prize, is one of the leading German and international theatre experts. In addition to having published many significant books and articles on both the theatre and performing arts, his “crowning” work is surely Postdramatic Theatre, published in Frankfurt in 1999. Since then, this book has been translated into many languages–French, Polish, Croatian, Slovenian, Slovak, Farsi, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, English, and more. It has become one of the most important theoretical touchstones, not only in theatre and performance studies, but also in contemporary theatre practice and criticism. Indeed, many critics depend on the postdramatic paradigm to explain the contemporary performing arts in all its enormous diversity.

We can only hope that the critics themselves have not added to the misreadings and polemics which the concept of the “postdramatic” has raised over these nearly 20 years–the most absurd interpretation being that the postdramatic theatre is theatre without text. Rather, the reason the postdramatic has had such forceful impact in the field of theatre is that it deconstructs the classical dramatic form (with its notions of, for example, figuration, narration, and characterization) as well as classical aesthetic convictions pertaining to the stage life of drama–such as mimesis, interpretation, and so on.