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Barbara Mundel
Theater director, director and dramaturge

Place of birth: Hildesheim

Date: 13.01.1959

Citizenship: deutsch

Marital status: in a partnership, one daughter

Studies: Contemporary German literature, art history, theater studies

Languages: English, Latin, Classical Greek


1970 – 1979

Humanistisches Gymnasium Andreanum in Hildesheim.

1979 – 1985

Studies of contemporary German literature, art history and theater studies in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main und Munich.


Assistant director at the Landesbühne Hannover.

1986 – 1988

Assistant director at the Bayrische Staatsschauspiel for Alfred Kirchner, Winfried Minks, B.K. Tragelehn, Werner Schroeter, Franz Xaver Kroetz (theater director: Frank Baumbauer).

Director and dramaturge

1988 – 1993

Dramaturge and director at the Theater Basel (theater director: Frank Baumbauer) in a dramaturgic team with Winfried Schulz, Stefanie Carp and Matthias Lilienthal. Cooperation with Jossi Wieler, Hans Hollmann and Christoph Marthaler, among others.

First own pieces at the Theater Basel: Die Erzählung der Magd Celine based on Hermann Broch, Elfriede Jelinek/Patricia Jünger: Die Klavierspielerin, Bernard-Marie Koltès: Kampf des Negers und der Hunde, Gisela von Wysocki: Schauspieler, Tänzer, Sängerin.

Since the beginning of the 1990s Work as an independent director at the Ruhrfestspielen in Recklinghausen, at the Frankfurter Oper (Der Barbier von Bagdad 1994, Samson und Dalila 1995) for the Salzburger Festspielen (L’Histoire du Soldat 1995) and at the Theater am Neumarkt (Drei Einakter based on Djuna Barnes), among others.

1995 – 1999

Dramaturge in the team of directors of the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz (theater director: Frank Castorf). Work with the directors Frank Castorf (Stadt der Frauen based on Frederico Fellini, Gerhard Hauptmann: Des Teufels General), Johann Kresnik, Ruedi Häusermann, Christoph Marthaler (Jacques Offenbach: Pariser Leben) as well as Christoph Schlingensief (Kühnen ´94 – Bring mir den Kopf von Adolf Hitler, Rocky Dutschke ´68, among others). Concept for the newly founded Prater der Volksbühne: dramaturge of the Prater spectacle Zweites surrealistisches Manifest (1996), Mensch versus Maschine (1997) and Schlacht um Europa I-XLII (1997). Co-initiator to open the Volksbühne for other art forms and new media: co-founder of the Kunstsalon der Volksbühne, realization of thematic weekends and symposia, founding of the Neuer Volksfilm in a cooperation between the Volksbühne and Christoph Schlingensief.

2005 – 2006

Head dramaturge at the Münchner Kammerspielen (theater director: Frank Baumbauer). Konzeptionelle Neuausrichtung und Schärfung des künstlerischen Profils. Zusammenarbeit u.a. mit Johan Simons (z.B. Die zehn Gebote) und Björn Bicker: Entwicklung des Stadtraumprojektes Bunny Hill aus dem Projekt Der Junge, der nicht Mehmet heißt von Björn Bicker/Peter Kastenmüller/Michael Graessner. Enge Kooperation mit der Kulturstiftung des Bundes: Bunny Hill im Problembezirk Hasenbergl wird zum Pilotprojekt für die Entwicklung der Fonds Heimspiel und Doppelpass der BKS.

Theater director

1999 – 2004

Theater irector of the Luzerner Theater, a house with three departments. Concept: create connections between the departments as well as establish a politically informed contemporary theater with new formats. René Pollesch is the house director. Cooperation with and promotion of the directors Sandra Strunz, Sebastian Baumgarten, Ludger Engels, Reinhild Hoffmann, Frank Hilbrich, among others.

2006 – 2017

Theater director of the Theater Freiburg, a house with three departments. Creation of the Junges Theater, which develops own productions in spoken theater, opera and dance. The dance department, pvc, as a cooperation between the Theater Heidelberg is continued by Joachim Schlömer, then independent with a curated model beginning in 2012. New cooperation with the choreographer Joanne Leighton, Belfort/Paris (Die Türmer von Freiburg) and with the Museum für Neue Kunst Freiburg (Depot Erbe).

Opening of the theater to urban society: creation of an „expanded ensemble“ (z.B. Gottes Kleiner Krieger, Bettleroper oder School of Life and Dance with the choreographer Graham Smith). Initiation of the nation debate about “Publically Funded City Theaters of the Future”.

Cooperation with international (garajistambul, Tumanishvili Theatre Tbilisi) and independent theater groups (Turbo Pascal, Berlin, supported by the Doppelpass fund) and regularly with directors such as René Pollesch, Robert Schuster, Christoph Frick, Felicitas Brucker, Jarg Pataki or Calixto Bieito.

Commissioned pieces (e.g. Felicia Zeller: Kaspar Häuser Meer, Tina Müller: Gespräche über uns) and novel adaptations (Buddenbrooks, Elementar-teilchen) are produced along with new interpretations of classics (Johanna von Orleans) or projects in urban space (Orbit, Finkenschlag).

Major thematic weekends supported, among others, by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Lecture series over the course of several seasons: Capitalism now.

In the opera, complex rediscoveries of forgotten German stage works from the turn of the century aufwendige Wiederentdeckungen (Korngold: Die gute Stadt, Gold-mark: Die Königin von Saba, CD production with the SWR). Cultivation of important 20th century operas (Ligetti: Le Grand Macabre). In addition, focus on Richard Wagner’s work (performances of the Ring des Nibelungen, Parsifal, Lohengrin) and composition commissions for contemporary operas (Hans Thomalla: Kaspar Hauser, Ludger Vollmer: Crusades).

Founding of the Excellence Initiative to promote young singers.


Founding of the Freiburg Opera Studio in cooperation with the Musikhochschule Freiburg.

In the annual survey of critics, the Die Deutsche Bühne magazine regularly gave the Theater Freiburg the award for „remarkable theater work beyond the major urban centers “.

The festivals ArtAffects and Politik im Freien Theater (2014), among others, were organized, the latter with the Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung, as well as the 3rd citizen stage festival Heart of the Cities (2017). Also the congress for cultural education Kinder zum Olymp (2015). In 2016, Theater Freiburg was the host to the FAUST prize award ceremony.

During the directorship, two work books by the magazine Theater der Zeit: Heart of the City (2011) and Heart of the City II (2017).

Since 2017

After the city council of Freiburg overruled her ambitious draft for the city anniversary 2020, Barbara Mundel started a coaching programme, which she successfully completed summer 2018.

Summer 2018 she also started working for „Ruhrtriennale-Festival der Künste“.

In October 2018 the city council of Munich nominated her as the new director of the Münchner Kammerspiele, starting repertory season 2020/21.


Guest professor of the Institut für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft in Gießen: conceptual and scenic realization of Daniel Caspar von Lohenstein: Agrippina and Gisela von Wysocki: Abendlandleben.

Lecturer for theater directing at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt/Main.

Lecture tour on commission by the Goethe Institut on Contemporary German Stage Concept with stations in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.

Teaching in the context of a ten-month Australia residency. Independent production of a radio play on Walter Benjamin and commission for a project at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien on Eliza Fraser and the founding myth of Australia from a post-colonial perspective.

Member in councils and committees

Member and vice-chairman of the university council of the Musikhochschule Freiburg.

Member of the administrative council and in the artistic council of the Deutsche Bühnenverein.

Member of the council of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.

Member of the council of experts Kulturagenten für kreative Schulen of the German Federal Cultural Foundation/Stiftung Mercator.

Jury activity

Member of the jury of the German Federal Cultural Foundation for independent project support.

Jury member for the art prize of the Bundesland of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Member of the selection commission for the new directorship of the Theater Bremen, the Schauspielhaus Graz and currently the Theater am Neumarkt.

Jury member for the FAUST prize of the Deutscher Bühnenverein.

Jury member for the Körber Stiftung Hamburg – Körber Studio Junge Regie.

Jury member for the THEATERPREIS DES BUNDES.