New artistic director in Hamburg – Kultur

That was fast. In July of last year, Sonja Anders extended her contract as artistic director of the Hanover Theater until the 2028/2029 season. Now she is moving to the Thalia Theater in Hamburg in 2025. She succeeds Joachim Lux, who has been managing the Thalia Theater with great success since 2009. Anders and Hamburg’s Senator for Culture, Carsten Brosda, emphasize that the change in directorship “does not mark a radical break” but rather represents an “evolutionary development”.

58-year-old Anders has been in charge of Schauspiel Hannover since the 2019/2020 season, it is her first directorship. In the middle of their first season, the pandemic wrecked their game plan. In spite of these difficult starting conditions, their house is brilliant with excellent audience figures, invitations to the Berlin Theatertreffen and top-class cooperation partners such as the Salzburg Festival – no wonder that Hanover would have liked to keep them. But Sonja Anders is very familiar with her future place of work. After initial engagements as a dramaturge at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg and the Staatstheater Stuttgart, she was dramaturge at the Thalia Theater from 2000 to 2009, and from 2005 head dramaturge. When the then Thalia director Ulrich Khuon spoke in German in 2009 theatre Berlin, she went along as chief dramaturge and stayed there until she moved to Hanover.

In the future, Thalia will be artistically managed by a female team

Khuon’s emphatically fair and simply decent management style has shaped Anders. She can do without volume and choleric attacks as leadership instruments. Her career is characterized by very long, trusting working relationships. She wants to continue this at Thalia with two long-term working partners: Nora Khuon, the daughter of her former boss, will be her most important collaborator in dramaturgy, the director Anne Lenk will be chief director. This is the first time in its 180-year history that the Thalia Theater will be managed by a woman and a female team.

Sonja Anders has been dealing intensively with questions of a modern management culture for a long time. At the Thalia Theater, too, “the management tools can be improved a bit,” says the designated artistic director. This includes the question of how representatives of the ensemble and technology can be integrated into the theater management. To describe her self-image as a theater director, Anders quotes the brain researcher Gerald Hüther: Man is nothing on his own, he can neither create anything nor learn anything on his own.

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