Sebastian Hartmann

Sebastian Hartmann (born May 18 1968 in Leipzig) is a German theatre director, artistic director and playwright.

Hartmann was educated at the theatre college Hans Otto in Leipzig and for a time he worked as an actor for theatre and TV. During the 1990es he was given several direction assignments, and he has worked as an instructor at important stages in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.


(Objekt ID 5943)
Object type Person
Born May 18, 1968
Functions Director
Nationality German
Gender Male

Sebastian Hartmann is regarded among the foremost directors within European director's theatre.

In Norway Sebastian Hartmann made his mark during The Ibsen Festival 2000, when his production Gespenster (after Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts) from Volksbühne in Berlin was performed at The National Theatre's main stage.

During The Ibsen Festival in 2004 his daring staging of John Gabriel Borkman for The National Theatre got even more attention, and it awoke a certain controversy. The Norwegian theatre diva Wenche Foss left the theatre in anger during the interval, and after she stated that "It was among the most horrible I have even seen". At the same time he won The Hedda Award 2005 in the best direction category.

The Hedda Jury gave the following reason:

"This year's winner is a young, modern and challenging director who, in the production for which he gets the award, bravely uses all the classical tools of the theatre - plus a great deal more – to reach his aim: To grant the audience a total, intense and profound experience of the playwright's text.

As so many of the younger directors of today, this year's award winner can be regarded as controversial. His stage expression is daring and expressive, his director's hold bubbles with ideas, innovation and imagination, even burlesque slapstick acts are integrated into an otherwise sombre interpretation by the director. This is no hindrance for the actors to take a central part in the production, and the actors' intense, revealing and nuanced close-ups of the rich character gallery is exactly what creates such an unusually powerful, involving theatre experience - in pair with the innovative, fascinating direction concept.

The best direction award goes to the artist who made Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman a contemporary of ours: Sebastian Hartmann."

In 2007 he staged Growth of the Soil by The National Theatre, and the production won The Hedda Award 2007 in the theatre project of the year category.

The Hedda Jury gave the following reason:

"Naturally, the theatre project of the year is supposed to be a quality production. But it is also supposed to be an event in itself, and to be presented originally. The winner of the year meets all these demands in full. The production breaks with the familiar psychological realism, and takes use of the totality of the theatre's effects. In an eminent way it meets our innermost fears, while it through its artistic exuberance established direct contact with the audience and kicks up a storm.

The winner of the year is Growth of the Soil, The National Theatre, the spring of 2007, directed by Sebastian Hartmann."

In 2008 he staged Leonce and Lena for The National Theatre of Norway, and the same year he became artistic director of Centraltheater Leipzig.

He produced a new production for The National Theatre of Norway in 2010, as his The Ibsen Machine, a piece written by Hartmann and based on several of Ibsen's plays, opened The Ibsen Festival.

In Leipzig his directions include Paris, Texas by Sam Shepard/Wim Wenders and The Matthew Passion, a triptych compiled by Hartmann and Uwe Bautz after Winter Light by Ingmar Bergmann, Brand by Henrik Ibsen and The Matthew Passion after The New Testament with excerpts from other texts. The latter has also been performed in Norway (during The Ibsen Festival 2008). In 2012 he stages War and Peace at Centraltheater Leipzig.

In 2005 he visited Norway with Offending the Audience, produced by Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg.


The Hedda Award

The National Theatre,,+Sebastian.9UFRzK36.ips?templatefolderid=231

Centraltheater Leipzig,


Hans Otto, Leipzig

Involved in productions
Title Premiere Role
Ibsenmaskin (The National Theatre) August 26, 2010 Direction, Script
Leonce og Lena (The National Theatre) March 8, 2008 Direction
Growth of the Soil (The National Theatre) February 14, 2007 Direction, Dramatised by
John Gabriel Borkman (The National Theatre) August 26, 2004 Direction, Adapted by