Food for the theatre

Swiss Theatre Award 2015

Established in 2000 as a workshop for budding playwrights, Dramenprozessor has grown into one of the most enduring and consistent author programmes in the German-speaking world, providing vital input for the work of the independent theatre scene. Its participants have received numerous prizes and awards: Darja Stocker, for example, won the Heidelberger Stückemarkt in 2005 with “Nachtblind”. Already staged more than twenty times, her first work has also been translated into a number of languages. In 2013, Katja Brunner won the Dramatikerpreis – the most important prize for dramatists in the German-speaking world – at the Mülheimer Theatertage with the Dramenprozessor piece “Von den Beinen zu kurz”. Other attendees, such as Gerhard Meister, Jens Nielsen, Simon Froehling, Matto Kämpf, Reto Finger, Daniela Janjic, Stefanie Grob, Sabine Wang and Livia Huber, are now well-known theatre authors and are on the lists of theatrical publishers.
Dramenprozessor was the brainchild of the then head of the Theater an der Winkelwiese, Peter-Jakob Kelting, who carried out the project with substantial support from Migros Culture Percentage and in collaboration with the director and dramaturge Erik Altorfer, other theatres and writers’ associations as well as Pro Helvetia. Between 2002 and 2015 Stephan Roppel, Kelting’s successor, has expanded Dramenprozessor as its overall director, along with Altorfer as artistic director. During this time, Roppel has established links between Dramenprozessor and a series of theatres in Switzerland, switching the project to a biennial schedule in order to maintain quality. A key element of the concept is that authors are guided through the process of developing their works, which are then performed in partner theatres. From summer 2015, Manuel Bürgin takes charge of the Winkelwiese and Dramenprozessor.

“There was a time when Swiss theatre concerned itself with the place of contemporary playwrights. Where are they now? Why are they no longer a presence on the stage in their country? That’s why DP was launched: to fill that gap. Since then, 15 years have passed and 42 writers have found their way into the theatres. Several of them have made quite a name for themselves, garnering prizes and recognition far beyond Switzerland itself. That success makes the future of DP even more important, indeed necessary. It serves to nurture a heritage for which it provided the initial platforms, and to offer these young playwrights the chance to build a career whose first steps it enabled.”

Anne Fournier, Kaa Linder, jury members