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Holger Schultze

Photo: Susanne Reichardt

Holger Schultze was born in Berlin in 1961. He studied German and theatre studies at FU Berlin. After finishing his degree, he worked as an assistant director at Staatstheater Stuttgart and Nationaltheater Mannheim where he assisted Jürgen Bosse, Michael Gruner and Peter Palitzsch among others. During this time, he also staged his first productions.

From 1992 to 1994, he staged productions at Hans-Otto-Theater in Potsdam. During the seasons 1994 to 1997, he was head director at Stadttheater Bremerhaven. Followed by Staatstheater Augsburg, where he also held the positon of head director from 1998 to 2005. In 2004, he received the Regiepreis at Bayrischen Theatertage for his production »Past perfect«. In 2003 and 2004, he received the Augsburger Theaterpreis for the best production of the season.

In addition to staging plays such as »The Life of Galileo«, »Woyzeck« and »Romeo and Juliet«, Holger Schultze increasingly focused on promoting contemporary drama. Thus, he founded the Neue Akzente festival in cooperation with the drama ensemble. The festival with its unusual venues sparked a broad interest in theatre among younger audiences.

From 2005 to 2011, Holger Schultze was the artistic director of the four-genre Theater Osnabrück. During his tenure, the number of visitors increased significantly. At the same time, the theatre gained a great deal of national attention. This was reflected by invitations to various festivals such as Mülheimer Theatertage, Heidelberger Stückemarkt and the children's and youth theatre festival »Augenblick mal!« in Berlin. 

When Holger Schultze took up his position, he founded the theatre festival Spieltriebe. The aim of this festival was to open up the theatre to the city and to promote young authors and composers. As a result, Theater Osnabrück received the Schauspiel-Preis from Verband Deutscher Bühnen- und Medienverlage for its imaginative repertoire of predominantly new works in 2007. The festival continues until today and takes place every two years in Osnabrück. By wisely considering local characteristics, the festival succeeded in attracting a larger young audience and reaching a steady growth in visitor numbers.

During Holger Schultze's tenure, Osnabrück developed its own children's and youth theatre division, which to this day is funded exclusively by its citizens. The state government Niedersachsen called this project a model for the entire state. Holger Schultze received special recognition for the idea and implementation of a cooperation between theatres and schools. Every student, regardless of school type, is thus enabled to go to the theatre on a regular basis. This idea was subsequently adopted by numerous theatres in Germany.

Since the beginning of the 2011/12 season, Holger Schultze has been the artistic director of Theater und Orchester Heidelberg. His responsibilities include the artistic direction of the festivals Heidelberger Stückemarkt, Heidelberger Schlossfestspiele and Winter in Schwetzingen. During his tenure, he oversaw the construction and renovation of the new theatre and opened the renovated old and new house in November 2012 with great success. With an occupancy rate of over 95% in the reopened theatre and at Heidelberger Schlossfestspiele, the best audience figures of the last twenty years were achieved and they increased even further in the next two seasons. In 2013, Theater und Orchester Heidelberg, together with the Theater Freiburg, won the critics' poll of the journal Die Deutsche Bühne in the category »Ungewöhnlich überzeugende Theaterarbeit abseits großer Theaterzentren« (Unusually convincing theatre work away from large theatre centres). Journalists from Opernwelt and tanz also mentioned the theatre numerous times.

In addition to promoting young authors and composers and searching for new forms for the theatre, dance is another focus of Holger Schultze's work. Under his leadership, the dance division at Theater und Orchester Heidelberg has been successfully re-established. Initially the department was under the direction of Nanine Linning, who received two nominations for the German theatre award DER FAUST. Since the 2018/19 season Iván Pérez has headed Dance Theatre Heidelberg. To strengthen dance in the Rhein-Neckar metropolitan region, Holger Schultze founded the Choreographisches Centrum Heidelberg in 2013 with Unterwegstheater and together they established the festival Tanzbiennale, with the aim of promoting young choreographers and dancers and strengthening dance in Baden-Württemberg.


Several members of the opera ensemble as well as the production of »King Ubu« directed by Viktor Bodó were nominated for the German theatre award DER FAUST in recent years. Holger Schultze's work has also received great recognition from the Bundeskulturstiftung and the European Theatre Convention, who sponsor special projects in Heidelberg with a prominent focus on international theatre projects.

In addition, he is committed to supporting authors in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and has launched the Autor*innenfestival REMMIDEMMI for the 2022/23 season themed around the topic of resistance.

The opera division received the »Preis für hervorragende Spielplangestaltung« (award for outstanding programme design) by Verband der Deutschen Bühnen- und Medienverlage.

To date, Holger Schultze has staged over 90 productions in drama and opera. He has staged productions at Staatstheater Stuttgart, Darmstadt and Mainz, Volkstheater Rostock, Freie Volksbühne Berlin, Wuppertaler Bühnen and Nationaltheater Mannheim, among others.

In June 2017, Holger Schultze's contract was extended until 2026.

Holger Schultze was a member of the board of directors of the Intendantengruppe as well as chairman of the artistic committee in Deutscher Bühnenverein from 2011 to 2022.

Since 2015, he has been a member of the board of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), Germany and in June 2021, he was elected as vice president together with Tobias Veit.

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