History of the Prize
In 2010, the Fonds Darstellende Künste initiated the Tabori Prize to increase the visibility of the independently produced performing arts and to honor the outstanding work of the artists and groups. Since then, the prize has been awarded annually.
2010 – First prizes awarded
The Fonds – which at that time received its grant of €1 million from the German Federal Cultural Foundation – was celebrating its 25th anniversary and to mark the occasion, at the instigation of former managing director Günter Jeschonnek, initiated the George Tabori Prize, which was awarded for the first time on May 31, 2010 at the Berliner Ensemble.
Throughout his life, George Tabori, who gave the prize its name, crossed the borders between the independent theater scene and the municipal and state theaters. Born in Budapest on May 24, 1914, he founded the independent theater group The Strolling Players in New York in 1966 and caused a real sensation with his "Bremer Theaterlabor" from 1975 to 1978 and 10 years later in Vienna with the theater "Der Kreis". From 1999 until his death in 2007, he directed at a number of theaters, including the Berliner Ensemble in Berlin.
The first award ceremony could not have taken place in a more fitting place than the last theater where the eponymous director worked: the Berliner Ensemble.
The first winners of the main prize of €20,000 were norton.commander.productions. Monika Gintersdorfer and Knut Klaßen received the incentive award of €10,000 and a residency of several weeks in the Baltic Sea resort of Kühlungsborn.
2014 – Anniversary: 100 Years of Tabori
It was a special year for the George Tabori Prize, as Tabori himself would have celebrated his 100th birthday that year.
On the occasion of George Tabori's 100th birthday, the jury awarded not only the main prize (to NOVOFLOT) and the incentive award (to Theater o.N.), but also an un-endowed honorary prize. With it, the company Sasha Waltz & Guests was honored "for the extraordinary artistic achievements since its founding 20 years ago".
"May 24, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. This is a good occasion to award an honorary prize in his name. [...] And indeed, I cannot think of a better laureate than Sasha Waltz and her dance company. The imaginative and surreal stories they bring to the stage regularly inspire audiences, including me personally," remarked President Frank-Walter Steinmeier – who at the time was still German foreign minister.
2015 – First award ceremony under new management
Up until that year, the Fonds had awarded a total of €14.5 million to 2,650 projects in over 300 communities in its 27 years of funding.
The award ceremony for the George Tabori Prize, which is also financed by the Fonds, took place for the first time under new management in 2015. Holger Bergmann, who among other things was artistic director of the production house RINGLOKSCHUPPEN RUHR for 12 years, took over the management of the Fonds Darstellende Künste.
The prize was awarded to the collective She She Pop, which emerged from the Giessen School and which, "with protagonist-less heroines of collective work, exerted an inspiring and aesthetically formative influence on the independent scene of past, present and subsequent generations," according to the jury. The kainkollektiv received the incentive award for their "aesthetic spaces of knowledge".
2019 - Anniversary: 10 years of the Tabori Prize
In 2019, the Fonds celebrated another anniversary: the 10th awarding of the Tabori Prize. To mark the occasion, there was a changed concept for the prize. From now on, in addition to the Tabori Prize, two Tabori Awards were to be presented. There were no more nominees, only winners. In addition, the 2019 award winners as well as all the former award winners were celebrated, with a diverse program giving an insight into the range of the independent performing arts.
2020/21 – Special editions in the pandemic years
In 2020, the Tabori Prize award ceremony took place as an online event due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a hitherto unique award ceremony format, the winners were presented with their awards in an unboxing live video ceremony. All the guests and interested parties were able to tune in via their devices and see for themselves who would receive the 2020 award. In 2021, the award was also presented digitally. The previous year's winners, Gob Squad, drove in a limousine to the prize and award winners' places of work and presented them with their trophies.
We would like to thank the Federal Cultural Foundation and, since 2015, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media who, with their funding, have made it possible to both present the Tabori Prize and award grants from the Fonds Darstellende Künste to projects in the independent performing arts.