Pedro Lenz

Pedro Lenz
© BAK/Geoffrey Cottenceau & Romain Rousset

Pedro Lenz

Spoken-word performer with an ear for the everyday

«Schweizer Kleinkunstpreis» 2015

Pedro Lenz was born in Langenthal in 1965. He lives in Olten and is a member of the Hohe Stirnen stage project and the spoken word group Bern ist überall. He tours Switzerland with his readings and stage projects, performing around 200 times a year. After training as a bricklayer he opted for a change of career, obtaining his school-leaving certificate and studying Spanish literature at the University of Bern for a number of semesters. He works as an author, writes columns for newspapers and magazines, and produces texts for various theatre groups and Swiss radio DRS. His best-selling novel «Der Goalie bin ig» has received numerous awards, has been performed as a play, served as the basis for a film of the same name, and has so far been translated into five languages. Pedro Lenz has received awards primarily for his literary work, including the Literaturpreis des Kantons Bern in 2008 and the Preis für Literatur des Kantons Solothurn in 2014.

As one half of the duo Hohe Stirnen with Patrik Neuhaus, Pedro Lenz produced five full-length evening stage programmes between 2001 and 2013, including «Tanze wie ne Schmätterling» and «I bi meh aus eine». Pedro Lenz’s texts often give a voice to people who find themselves at odds with life. The result is tragic, moving or uplifting everyday stories that at the same time describe many different ways of life. All too human, the figures and situations seem very familiar to us. An acute sense of rhythm and a critical yet affectionate outlook make these texts literary works of art and performative experiences.

“It is rare for a Swiss artist to receive simultaneous awards in several categories: literature, film and theatre. If there were a Federal Office of Bricklaying, Pedro Lenz would probably have won the Swiss Masonry Award too.
As a bricklayer he learned to build walls; as a writer, he breaks them down.
And not just the walls between genres: with his finely tuned ear, he sounds out the various walls people build to protect and isolate themselves, feels his way into the crevices until he reaches the soft core, and lets us into the unprotected places within ourselves.
His texts are not flowery literary landscapes; they are precisely hewn and dressed stones. They have the directness of spoken language – and hence the dynamism and drama of theatre.
They do not describe; they act.”

Gardi Hutter, jury member