Nickel Bösenberg and Sarah Rock, co-presidents of the Lëtzebuerger Theaterpräisser 2021 jury; Credit: MCULT

Luxembourg's Ministry of Culture has presented the shortlists for the newly created Lëtzebuerger Theaterpräisser (Luxembourg theatre awards) 2021; the announcement came at the end of the "Assises sectorielles du théâtre" meeting, which took place at Théâtre d’Esch in Esch-sur-Alzette on Monday.

The co-presidents of the Lëtzebuerger Theaterpräisser 2021 jury, Nickel Bösenberg and Sarah Rock, announced the shortlists for the following prizes:

  • Young Hope Prize ("Jeune Espoir"; endowed with €3,500): Aude-Laurence Biver, director and actress (Le Poisson belge; Le Mensonge); Catherine Elsen, actress (Love, Death & Polar Bears; (Can’t) stay at home; Das letzte Feuer); Rosalie Maes, actress (Mendy, das Wusical; Pièce en plastique); Renelde Pierlot, director and actress (Pas un pour dire merci; AppHuman); Konstantin Rommelfangen, actor (Rote Nelken für Herkul Grün; Was heisst hier Liebe?; Das letzte Feuer; Mendy, das Wusical; So dunkel hier);
  • Prize for the best onstage creation (acting, staging, text; €4,500): Florian Hirsch, playwright (Die Verwandlung; La Peste; Zauberberg); Marie Jung & François Camus, duo - actress and actor (La Peste); Myriam Muller, director (Ivanov); Anne Simon, director (Georges Dandin; Midsummer; Dealing with Clair; So dunkel hier; The Hothouse); Pitt Simon, actor (Georges Dandin; Terres Arides; Jockey; Rote Nelken für Herkul Grün; Rabonzel; Ivanov; AppHuman; Mendy, das Wusical; Fake Facts);
  • Prize for the best backstage creation (scenography, costumes, lighting, make-up, hairstyle; €4,500): Pol Belardi, sound and music (The Hothouse; Was heißt hier Liebe?); Steve Demuth, light technician (Süden; On ne badine pas avec l’amour); Anouk Schiltz, scenographer / costume designer (Truckstop; Ivanov; The Hothouse; Le Poisson belge); Marie-Luce Theis, scenographer / costume designer (Süden; AppHuman; Mendy, das Wusical); Peggy Wurth, scenographer / costume designer (Pas un pour me dire merci).

The National Theatre Prize for a complete work (endowed with €10,000) does not go through a shortlist. The awards ceremony will take place, together with the Lëtzebuerger Danzpräis (Luxembourg dance prize) 2021, on 17 September 2021.

In addition, the Assises saw Josée Zeimes provide an update on Luxembourg's theatre sector based on the inventory (commissioned by the Ministry of Culture) he comiled recently. Two round tables then gave rise to discussions on the main issues facing the sector today.

Sustainability and eco-responsibility in the theatre were at the heart of discussions at the first round table, chaired by journalist Christiane Kremer; Nathalie Jacoby (director of the National Literature Centre - CNL), Carole Lorang (director of the Théâtre d’Esch), Stéphane Ghislain Roussel (director and member of Theater Federatioun working group) and Peggy Wurth (freelance set designer and costume designer) shared their thoughts on the issue. A second round table, dedicated to working conditions in the theatre, provided a platform for Luc Feidt (actor), Sophie Langevin (actress and director and president of, Tom Leick (director of Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg), Konstantin Rommelfangen (actor and member of Aspro) and Anne Simon (director) to offer their respective points of view.

During these two round tables, the professionals of various trades drew up the observation of “overproduction” currently in the theatre, which would lead to “exhaustion”. Actress Sophie Langevin, noted: “Here, we rehearse 90% of the time and we act 10% - we are a land of rehearsals”. It will now be a question of adapting the production methods of shows to an awareness of both ecological and heritage matters, while taking into account the demands of professionals.

In her speech on Monday, Luxembourg's Minister of Culture, Sam Tanson, highlighted her determination to perpetuate and develop the reinforced investment of the Culture Ministry in the theatre sector. At the same time, the ministry will continue to commit to creating the framework conditions allowing cultural creators to make a living from their profession. In terms of infrastructure, the Culture Minister mentioned the plans to reallocate the Villa Louvigny and the Robert Schuman building. While the former will offer platforms for creation and meetings with the public, the latter may be suitable, among other things, for hosting and storing materials used in theatre projects with a view to their subsequent recycling.

Finally, Minister Sam Tanson clarified that the inventory of the theatre sector will be completed on the basis of the discussions held on Monday and will be published in its final version at a later date.