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Thomas Irmer

Dr. Thomas Irmer

born 1962 in Potsdam, G.D.R., lives in Berlin

academic career

graduated in English and German literature at Leipzig University, 1988

Fulbright research fellow at SUNY Buffalo, 1990/91

PhD with a dissertation on postmodern American fiction at Leipzig University, 1994

lecturer for American literature and culture at Leipzig University, 1992-96

lecturer for American drama and theater at Freie Universität Berlin, John F. Kennedy Institute, since 2003

current areas of teaching

American drama and theater history, theater criticism, history of East German theater

possible areas of teaching

contemporary European theater, German drama and Heiner Müller, German theater, documentary theater, festival politics, theater on TV

professional career

1998 to 2003 editor-in-chief of the monthly journal Theater der Zeit (including relaunch 2000)

2003 to 2006 dramaturgical advisor for the international theater season spielzeiteuropa at Berliner Festspiele (working, among others, for Robert Lepage, John Jesurun, Peter Brook, William Forysthe, Heiner Goebbels and Frank Castorf)

books include Metafiction, Moving Fictions, Moving Histories (1995), Frank Castorfs Volksbühne (2003), Die Bühnenrepublik - Theater in der DDR (2003), Luk Perceval - Theater und Ritual (2005)

various articles (some translated into altogether 15 languages) on recent drama and theater arts in the following journals and magazines: The Drama Review, Theater, Western European Stages and Performing Arts Journal (USA), Journal of Beckett Studies (Great Britain), Didaskalia, Dialog, Notatnik Teatralny and Teatr (Poland), Shakespeare (Norway), Divadlo (Slovak Republic), Maska (Slowenia), Scena (Serbia), Ubu (France), Kulturos barai and Lietuvos teatras (Lithuania), Szinhaz and Vilagszinhaz (Hungary), Sirp (Estonia) et al

regular contributor to Theater heute (Germany), Didaskalia (Poland), Shakespeare (Norway) and for national public TV (ZDF) and radio (mdr)

author and codirector of four documentary films on theater: Die Bühnenrepublik - Theater in the GDR (2003, national TV award Grimme-Preis, 2004), Europe in Pieces (2004), Born 1968 (2008) and Heiner Müller (2009). Author and dramaturgical advisor of the TV documentary series Theaterlandschaften (2005-10)

recent international lectures and talks

London, Royal Academy 2008, "The Space of Speech: from Peter Handke to René Pollesch"

Maribor, Slovenia, International Conference on European Capitals of Culture 2009, "Lodz and The Polish Competition"

Berlin, German Association for American Studies conference 2010, "Chris Kondek's Performance Dead Cat Bounce"

Moscow, Net-festival Berlin Moscow 2010, "German Drama after Heiner Müller" (publication forthcoming)

New York, German House NYU 2011, "Introduction to Heiner Müller's Hamletmachine"

recent publications in English

"A Search for New Realities. Documentary Theater in Germany", The Drama Review 50:3 (fall 2006), pp. 16-28.

William F. Condee and Thomas Irmer: "Experiments with architectural space in the German theater", A History of German theater, eds. Simon Williams and Maik Hamburger, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008, pp. 248-274. 

"Aspects of National Theaters in Germany after 1945", National Theaters in a Changing Europe, ed. S.E. Wilmer, New York: Palgrave, 2008, pp. 173-9.

Gaby Hartel, Klaus Völker and Thomas Irmer: "The Reception of Beckett's Theater and Television Pieces in West and East Germany", The International Reception of Samuel Beckett, eds. Mark Nixon and Matthew Feldman, London: continuum, 2009, pp. 75-96. 

"German Wanderings: New Approaches to Beckett's Journey", Journal of Beckett Studies vol. 19 / # 2 (2010), pp. 276-83.

"Ilka Saal. New Deal Theater" (review), Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik vol. LVIII (4/2010), pp. 412-4.


theatrical activities

"Vaclav Havel. A tribute for three voices", produced at Berliner Festspiele, 2007

"Breweries: A Historical Guide through the Prenzlauer Berg Neighborhood", produced at Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, 2010

"Bob and Tom. The Pynchon-Dylan connection around Washington Square", produced at Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxmburg-Platz, 2011



Dr. Thomas Irmer, geboren 1962 in Potsdam, schloss 1988 sein Studium der Germanistik und Anglistik an der Universität Leipzig ab. Nach Erhalt des Fulbright Stipendiums an der SUNY Buffalo in New York promovierte Irmer 1994 an der Uni Leipzig. Seit Beendigung seiner redaktionellen Verantwortung von "Theater der Zeit" in Berlin, ist er Kritiker bei Theater heute. Parallel dazu lehrt er "Amerikanisches Drama" am Kennedy-Institut der FU Berlin.

Seit 1988 verfasst er Beiträge über Literatur, Kunst und Theater für eine Vielzahl von internationalen Fachzeitschriften. Seit 1996 mit verschiedenen Magazin-Beiträgen filmisch für den mdr, ntv und 3sat tätig.