Bye Bye Mr. Know-it-all

It is the beginning of a new era at Berlin‘s Volksbühne: Women in Trouble and Die Selbstmord-Schwestern (Suicide Sisters) are in the programme. Under Castorf’s direction, the headstrong female director Susanne Kennedy would never have had the chance to rehearse on the main stage, let alone direct her own play. In contrast to Castorf’s much loved productions, his patriarchal rule will not be missed. Directors such as Christoph Mahrtaler and René Pollesch developed pioneering theatre at the Volksbühne whilst passionate protagonists like Sophie Rois and Lilith Stangenberg played strong female roles. But it was the realms and characters created by women that were missing.

During our conversation in a Volksbühne office, Susanne Kennedy exudes a relaxed self-confidence:
„Right from the start, I set out to work on classics and to adapt them in such a way that anyone could see what I wanted to achieve with my work. Getting noticed was a powerful motivation for me. And that’s how I progressed.“
Being uncompromising and straightforward are important, but so too are chances and opportunities. When Kennedy was unexpectedly invited to direct a production on the main stage at the Munich Kammerspiele – because Johann Simons, the director at the time, trusted her to do so – she experienced what it was like to grow in terms of format: „You just don’t just arrive ready, you learn to fill the space when it’s in front of you.“