PhD project

”Situating the director in a theatre of the future” by Johannes Maria Schmit

Researcher: Johannes Maria Schmit

"Situating the director in a theatre of the future" is a PhD project by Johannes Maria Schmit. Johannes Maria is a PhD student in Performing Arts.

In my research, I´m investigating the possibilities of directing after the deconstruction of the auteur-figure. Equally unhappy with the notion of absolute, monopolized authorship formerly granted to the director (see "Regie-Theater") as well as with contemporary forms of devising (too often confusable with the exertion of neoliberal control), I am looking into finding a position for the director that can be ethically sustainable and aesthetically excessive at the same time.

Aim and research questions

I am looking at the two sites in the work of the director, where notions of excess and sustainability can be allocated. For example: how can sustainable processes possibly lead to excessive artistic results? How to create spaces of uncertainty for our audiences, whilst providing safe spaces during our rehearsals? Furthermore: how to distinct “aesthetical“ from “ethical“ transgressions, when it comes to process and result? And: what if all collaborative crisises were always treated as artistic crisises, inaccesible to the solution-oriented strategies of organizational management?

Research implementation and anticipated impact

The practice informing the research will foremost be rehearsal processes with professional actors. The aim is to conduct three studies, that each have a very different “contract” as a basis. These “artistic contracts of collaboration” that are to be signed by both the actors and the director (the PhD-candidate) regulate the mutual reach of power and control - and the leveling of the two. The overall aim is to make existing modes of directing explicit and put up for discussion; as well as to instigate new hybrid forms, unknown to the field.


Start and end year for the research 2019 - 2023.