Dear Theatermacher: Johan Simons

Der Theatermacher with Johan Simons, Katie Mitchell and Luk Perceval

Since the arrival of Yvette Fijen and Steven Van Watermeulen as the artistic director of the Direction department, the AHK has been supporting the change of path through the Der Theatermacher Artist in Residence (AIR) project. Through this intensive project, students confront crucial issues surrounding individual artistic passions; the impossible and the hidden; radical and uncompromising theatre; and the social significance of the artist. In the special series entitled Der Theatermacher students get to meet and work with important artists from the international circuit. The guest artists on the 2014-2015 programme are Johan Simons (Münchner Kammerspiele & Ruhrtriennale), Luk Perceval (Thalia Theater Hamburg) and Katie Mitchell (Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz), all of them theatre directors with a prominent profile in Europe, not least because of their outstanding choice of material and their ability to raise critical issues. 

Der Theatermacher
AIR project takes its name from the eponymous work by Austrian playwright Thomas Bernhard.

Steven van Watermeulen is interviewed by Robbert van Heuven in ON AIR 2015-16.

Johan Simons

Der Theatermacher’s first guest, in September 2014, was Johan Simons. Under his guidance and encouragement, the students responded to his appeal for radicalism by imposing their vision on a staging of three scenes from world repertoire. Working with four renowned actors (Elsie de Brauw, Pierre Bokma, Bert Luppes and Jacob Derwig) on key scenes from Vrijdag, The Oresteia and The Elementary Particles the students learned how to translate their individual ‘radical’ vision into clear and concrete directions as they developed their scene.


Artist in Residence (AIR) is a programme of the Amsterdam University of the Arts in conjunction with all of its departments. It stimulates innovation and facilitates encounters with contemporary art practice. And provides host faculties with the opportunity to benefit from the experience of respected artists, breathing new life into the educational and artistic structures of the Academy. Results of the AIR programme are published internal and external in the journal ON AIR.