Johan Simons

Initials J.
Member of Society of Arts


Johan Simons (born in 1946) has directed Theatergroep Hollandia since 1985. He pioneered the practice of staging performances on location, and his productions, which brought real life directly into the theatre, were powerfully expressive. Simons’ interest in socially relevant themes was also clear in his productions for NTGent (starting in 2005).

His repertoire includes Greek tragedy, contemporary drama, Shakespeare, Chekhov and magnificent adaptations of books and films. In addition to theatre, Simons also directs operas, for example at the Paris Opera and the Teatro Real in Madrid. He has won numerous prizes for his work, including the European Prize for New Theatrical Realities (2001).

In 2009, Simons was awarded an honorary doctorate by Ghent University. In 2010 he became the artistic director of the Münchner Kammerspiele, one of the most prestigious German theatres. Every one of his productions features an outstanding group of actors and tours successfully throughout Europe and beyond. Starting in 2015, Simons will be the artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale, an international theatre and music theatre festival held on former industrial sites across the Ruhr region of Germany.