Restless author and bridge-builder
Swiss Performing Arts Award 2021
Mathieu Bertholet was born in Valais in 1977 and moved to Berlin in 1997 to study creative writing for the stage at the city’s University of the Arts. Ten years later he returned to Switzerland. In 2001 he was in-house writer at the Comédie de Genève, and from 2006 to 2009 he performed the same role at the Théâtre du Grütli in Geneva, occasionally also appearing as a dancer in works by Cindy van Acker and Foofwa d’Imobilité. In 2007 he founded the group MuFuThe (an abbreviation of multifunctional theatre), with which he produces his own works. He writes in French and German and also translates theatrical pieces. For Nicolas Stemann’s “Nathan !?” he created French versions of Lessing’s “Nathan der Weise” and two German texts by Elfriede Jelinek. He has been artistic director of the Théâtre du Poche in Geneva since 2015. There, he continues to work as an author, translator and director for experimental formats, building bridges between German- and French-speaking Switzerland.
Mathieu Bertholet received a sponsorship award from the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg for his first piece, “Farben”, in 2001, followed in 2009 by the Prix Italia. He obtained an artist-in-residence grant from the Villa Aurora in Los Angeles in 2007. His interests include subject matter from historical constellations of the 20th century in Germany, and reinterpretations of ancient myths. “Farben / Rien qu’un acteur” was published by Actes Sud in 2006, followed by “Shadow House / Case Study House” in 2010 – both created after his residency in LA. His texts have been staged by Anna Van Brée, Anne Bisang, Maya Bösch and Marc Liebens. He produced C.-F. Ramuz’s “Derborence” (2015) at the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne. At the Théâtre du Poche he curates the performances, which are often directed by young talents, but also organises dramaturgy consultancies and engages young writers.
Mathieu Bertholet brings with him from his native Valais a taste for slopes and constantly shifting points of view. He enjoys navigating passes and crossing frontiers – between languages, eras and practices; he writes, translates, adapts, stages, programmes and transmits. As interested in architecture as he is in landscapes, he enjoys constructing forms, inventing protocols and conceiving intellectual systems in which the issues are both political and poetic. In keeping with his writing, the “Dirlo” [director] of the Poche in Geneva since 2015 offers programming and creative formats designed to encourage debate.
Danielle Chaperon, Chair of the Theatre Jury