News – Ring Award

ATMEN (c) Lupi Spuma/Schauspielhaus Graz

3 questions to …

Director Sam Brown, winner of the RING AWARD 11, returns to Graz and stages for the first time at the Schauspielhaus Graz. Duncan Macmillan’s play “ATMEN/LUNGS” investigates the interlocking of private and global conflicts at the beginning of the new millennium .
Read an interesting interview with Sam Brown to his new staging here.


DAS KIND UND DIE ZAUBERDINGE (c) Saarländischen Staatstheater

Animated Nursery

RING AWARD 14 semifinalists Sandra Pocceschi (France) and Cristina Nyffeler (Switzerland) narrowly missed entering the finals and were therefore selected by the jury as the reserve team. Their project read “DER FREISCHÜTZ” (“THE MARKSMAN”) as “an uncanny psycho thriller with a political dimension that reflects the driving forces of the music”.

Now Cristina Nyffeler and her sister Franziska have been invited by Saarländisches Staatstheater to design Maurice Ravel‘s children’s opera “L’ENFANT ET LES SORTILÈGES” (“THE CHILD AND THE SPELLS”). This production at Saarbrücken, framed by Ravel’s “PAVANE POUR UNE INFANTE DÉFUNTE” and the second suite of “DAPHNIS ET CHLOÉ”, transforms the nursery into a magical landscape and brings this fantastic world to life by plotted sets which vibrate by animation.

Opening night is on 25 January 2015.

Oper Graz (c) Moodley brand identity

Nomination as Best Opera Ensemble

Oper Graz, which from the very beginning has been a faithful partner of RING AWARD and the site of its semifinals, has good reason to be proud and happy: The Graz Opera House was nominated in the category ‘best opera ensemble’ at International Opera Awards 2015. The finalists were selected under the chairmanship of John Allison, chief editor of the magazine “Opera” and music critic of the “Daily Telegraph”.

In addition, the RING AWARD jurors Barrie Kosky (Intendant, Komische Oper Berlin), Aviel Cahn (Intendant, Opera Vlaanderen, Antwerp) and Peter de Caluwe (Intendant, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels) are among the happy nominees for their opera houses, besides English National Opera and Novaya Opera in Moscow.

Members of the jury were Peter Alward, Intendant of the Salzburg Easter Festival, Per Boye Hansen, Artistic Director of the Norwegian National Opera and National Ballet in Oslo, Kathryn Harries, Director of the National Opera Studio in London, ‘Evans Mirageas, Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera, and Nicholas Paybe, Director of Opera Europe. Also Hugh Canning, chief music critic of the “Sunday Times”, opera and classical music critic George Loomis, critic Erna Metdepenninghen, and music critic Huro Shirley were members of the jury.

The winners will be announced on 26 April 2015 at the award presentation at Savoy Theatre in London.

Annemarie Woods, Heinz Weyringer, Sam Brown (c) Atelier 9

Who still wants a child today?

Sam Brown, together with his set designer Annemarie Woods, in 2011 won the RING AWARD and also the European Award for Stage Direction. Thus he is the only one so far who has won both these awards. Brown, born in England, has staged productions internationally at the Bavarian State Opera, the Theater Lucerne, the Opéra National de Lorraine and, in Austria, the Stadttheater Klagenfurt (“DER ZIGEUNERBARON” – “THE GIPSY BARON”) and Oper Graz (“LA FAVORITE”). 

Now he has returned to Graz and is directing Duncan Macmillan’s “ATMEN” (“BREATHING”) at the rehearsal stage of Schauspielhaus Graz, a play investigating the interlocking of private and global conflicts at the beginning of the new millennium.
The opening night is on January 24th. 


1000 artists from 42 nations

After seven editions the prestigious international musical theatre competition for stage direction and design, RING AWARD, is able to look back on a unique success story. A measurable confirmation of the resonance and necessity of this only competition of its kind is the total number of participants so far running up to almost 1000 young artists from 42 nations. The strong international dimension of the competition is mirrored in the constantly increasing numbers of participants and nations represented from around the world as well as in the distinguished jury members from many countries. Far outside the limits of Graz as the venue of the competition, the RING AWARD has significantly influenced the creative innovation potential of the contemporary musical theatre in all of Europe and beyond. In 2014 the RING AWARD together with the journal “Opernwelt” has also established the “Mortier Award” as an exclusive award in the world of the musical theatre. This award is named after Gerard Mortier, the Belgian opera and festival intendant who died on March 9, 2014, at the age of 70. It is meant to honour the stimulations and achievements of this unique thought leader and pioneer of the contemporary theatre. This special prize was handed over by proxy to conductor Sylvain Cambreling, Mortier’s longstanding companion and close confidant, at the big RING AWARD finals held at the Graz Schauspielhaus and will be awarded every three years.

The next edition of the RING AWARD is planned for 2017. 

Der Herr Karl © Sabine Hauswirth


The Styrian puppet artist and stage director Nikolaus Habjan could recently be experienced at the big RING AWARD finals together with ‘his’ opera diva Gisela Hering on the main stage of the Graz Schauspielhaus and subsequently with Albert Camus’s “DAS MISSVERSTÄNDNIS” (“THE MISUNDERSTANDING”) at the rehearsal stage of the same playhouse. He has now returned to Vienna where the young winner of the Nestroy Theatre Award in the category Best Off Production (“F. ZAWREL – ERBBIOLOGISCH UND SOZIAL MINDERWERTIG“ – “F. ZAWRAL – GENETICALLY AND SOCIALLY INFERIOR”) has had two completely sold-out evenings at the Akademietheater with Helmut Qualtinger’s “DER HERR KARL”. Due to this great success the production will move to the big stage of the Burgtheater on New Year’s Day.

Qualtinger’s text was first staged for puppet theatre with Nikolaus Habjan at the Wiener Schuberttheater and won the audience prize at “bestOFFstyria 2.10”. Qualitinger’s famous monologue, which oscillates between stage play and cabaret, will first be performed as a pure puppet play on the Burgtheater stage. With the help of his puppets Nikolaus Habjan will slip into the most diversified roles which in their totality make up ‘Der Herr Karl’.

On January 20 he will return to his hometown Graz. There the highly acclaimed puppet artist will take part in the big Richard Wagner Jubilee celebrated by the WAGNER FORUM GRAZ and pay artistic homage to the person honoured.


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