Theaterpreis des Bundes

"Theater is so much more than rehearsals, premieres, programs. It offers space for reflection, intervention and experimentation. Theater can touch and move, can critically enlighten and entertain. Theaters are places of debate and fruitful argument, places of encounter and dialogue, and thus the foundation of our open democratic society." (Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture and Media)

Applications for the fifth THEATERPREIS DES BUNDES, sponsored by Germany’s Minister of State for Culture and Media, are now open and will close on June 19, 2023. Theaters in Germany are eligible to apply for the newly organized prize for innovation. The award recognizes medium and smaller theater structures, especially those outside the main theater metropolises, and their remarkable work nationwide in recent years.

The theater prize is awarded for an excellent program that distinguishes itself by its convincing aesthetic/artistic ongoing development in addressing contemporary issues of (urban) society, multi-perspective audiences, ecological and social awareness and/or technological/digital innovations. The specific structural, financial and, if applicable, socio-spatial situation will also be taken into account when selecting the award winner. Theaters can apply in three categories, depending on their structural makeup:

  1. Municipal and state theaters
  2. Private theaters and theaters hosting guest performances
  3. Independent production houses

Category 1:
Municipal theaters and state theaters, particularly in cities with fewer than 600,000 inhabitants, which are primarily financed with public funds and are usually home to permanent artistic ensembles.

Category 2:
Private theaters and theaters hosting guest performances based in the Federal Republic of Germany that are generally privately financed.

Category 3:
Production houses of the independent performing arts based in the Federal Republic of Germany whose public funding does not exceed the sum of €3 million and who work in co-production or in-house production with primarily self-commissioned, so-called independent artists/groups.

In principle, all theaters aimed exclusively at young audiences are also eligible to apply.

The Theaterpreis des Bundes 2023 is endowed with €200,000 and recognizes work that is remarkable nationally and that is exemplary in its innovation. This main prize is awarded once in total, across all three application categories.

In addition, an award of €100,000 will be presented in each application category.

A separate application for the main prize is not necessary.

An application is made by correctly filling out an online form, which includes the following aspects:

1) A detailed description of the theater's operations, which includes:

  • Description of the history of the theater and its current location
  • Description of the structural, personnel, economic and financial state of the theater
  • Information on the theater's venues/stages
  • Audience figures for the past two years and number of productions shown per season
  • Overview of the personnel with primary responsibility for – or that have a particular influence on – the work of the theater (examples: artistic director, executive director, chief dramaturg, program director, etc.).

2) A detailed description of the special achievement accomplished by the theater in the last two to three seasons – for example, in light of the challenges posed by the pandemic. This should certainly highlight noteworthy aspects of the artistic program, but may also include in-house or communications activities.

3) A brief description of the project to be financed with the prize money, which coherently follows on from the remarkable work of previous years.

Optional: other materials such as the 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 season programs or relevant publications.

The prize winners undertake to use the prize money for further artistic program work or for the improvement of the artistic production conditions. The prize money can thus be used in 2024 for a new, additional project of an artistic, programmatic or possibly also structural nature. A short description of such a project is part of the application form. In the case of a nomination for the shortlist, a more detailed description may have to be submitted.

Three juries that are professionally diverse and have expertise on the various regions, genres and structures of the performing arts will select the award winners from all the formally correct applications received. The main prize and the awards in the three prize categories will be presented in October 2023.

The award ceremony will take place on October 11, 2023 at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. The award ceremony will be accompanied by a symposium organized by the ITI – Internationales Theaterinstitut Zentrum Deutschland on current issues, forward-looking formats and aesthetics, as well as the current challenges, tasks and (also cultural-political) perspectives of the national landscape of the performing arts.

The members of the juries will be announced here shortly.

About the application

Please select the applicable category, you will be redirected to the respective online form:

1st category: municipal theaters and state theaters

2nd category: private theaters and guest theaters

3rd category: independent production houses


For questions, please contact Steffen Klewar at theaterpreis*

Info events

On June 01, 2023 at 3 p.m. and June 13, 2023 at 10:30 a.m., the Fund will offer potential applicants* the opportunity to learn more through digital info sessions. Registration is required.