Prize Winner: Shermin Langhoff
The playwright Shermin Langhoff was born in Turkey in 1969 and came to Germany when she was nine years old, at first settling in Nuremberg. As a co-founder of the ‘Kulturinitiative Nürnberg’ association, she was one of the volunteers behind film festivals and other intercultural exchange projects. After voluntary service with the film- and TV-production department of the NDR in Hamburg, she worked as studio and production manager, and later even as director and assistant producer with, among others, Fatih Akin on the films Gegen die Wand (Head On, 2003) and Crossing the Bridge (2004).
Shermin Langhoff curated the ‘X-Wohnungen – Migration’ (‘X-Flats – Migration’) project, together with Matthias Lilienthal, at the Hebbel am Ufer theatre in Berlin in 2004. Fatih Akin directed a theatrical performance in this context for the first time. In 2006–7, Shermin Langhoff curated two intercultural festivals which gained much attention with theatre productions such as Schwarze Jungfrauen (Black Virgins) by Feridun Zaimoglu and Günther Senkel.
Since autumn 2013, Shermin Langhoff has been the artistic director of the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin. Prior to this, she was the superintendent of the Ballhaus Naunystraße theatre in Berlin-Kreuzberg. She established this stage as a forum for theatrical works by the second and third generations of immigrants, and she supports directors, actors, and playwrights who are as of yet unknown in German theatrical circles. At the same time, this post-migrant stage also provides a space for new narratives, stories, and topics beyond ethnic attribution and stereotypes.
According to the KAIROS selection committee, ‘Shermin Langhoff enriches the theatrical scene confidently, assertively, and humorously with outstanding plays by young directors who have not (yet) been seen on other stages. With sensitivity and intuition she discovers young talents whom she supports and mentors. Shermin Langhoff receives this award not only as a theatrical director but also as a cultural mentor.’
The prize-giving ceremony took place in the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg on 27 February 2011. Fatih Akin spoke in her praise.
About KAIROS Prize
The KAIROS Prize is honouring European artists and academics from the fields of the fine and the performing arts, music, architecture, design, film, photography, literature and journalism. The award is designed to be given to individuals for artistic achievements, but also to producers, festival directors, publishers or gallery owners and other personalities who give important impulses to art and culture in Europe. The KAIROS Prize is endowed with the amount of 75.000 € and aims to honour outstanding individuals working with entrepreneurial spirit, persistence and creativity in the field of European culture and intercultural understanding.
The prize is named after the Greek god KAIROS – the god for “the right moment” –as it seeks to encourage and promote people at “the right time in their career”. It is neither an award for life time achievement nor a singular project, but rather seeks to identify early achievement, special work in progress as well as potential for future sucess.
The KAIROS Prize is awarded annually in Hamburg by the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. An independent committee decides on the awarding.
The current members of the committee are:
Christoph Stölzl (President Liszt School of Music, Weimar)
Christine Eichel (author and journalist)
Shermin Langhoff (artistic director Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin)
Heike Catherina Mertens (executive director Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House)
Monika Sandhack (ZDFkultur / 3Sat Kulturzeit)
Nike Wagner (artistic director Internationales Beethovenfest, Bonn)