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The work of Martin Zimmermann

Humour, magic and absurdity are the unique features of Martin Zimmermann’s artistic work. For his plays he creates bizarre worlds and stages his figures and unusual objects. He often takes everyday things from reality and places them in parallel worlds where they seem strangely out of place and absurd. He throws conventions out of kilter, questions regularities, reveals the invisible, makes the improbable appear to be true and incites the viewer to think differently.

If Zimmermann himself does not play a part in his plays, he stages extraordinary dancers, actors and virtuoso artists and lets them become accomplices in his tragicomic universe. The artist peels out the character silhouette of each individual figure with the same precision, care and attention to detail as he models the stage set. The choreographic signature of Martin Zimmermann is characterized by the tight rhythm with which images and scenes follow one another. At the core of his work is the dialogue between the human body and objects with lives of their own, which he allows to meet and interact in the mostly unstable and threatening space. At the beginning of his work there is the word, which dissolves in the creative process and leaves room for a physical and visual performance without words. The human being in all its complexity is at the centre.


Martin Zimmermann (*1970) grows up in a small Swiss village in Wildberg. He is an internationally renowned choreographer, theatre director, set designer and performer. After an apprenticeship as a decorator in Zurich, he graduated in 1995 with a diploma from the Centre National des Arts du Cirque (CNAC) in Paris. With his diploma play he toured the world for three years. After eight years in France, Zimmermann returned to Switzerland in 1998.

For more than 20 years, he has been inventing, choreographing and staging visual and physical theatre without words from Zurich, whose mixture of circus, dance, theatre and spectacular stage installations has been inspiring a large audience. Over the years, the works of this exceptional Swiss artist have conquered prestigious institutions and theatres around the world, including the BAM New York, the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, the Théâtre de la Ville Paris, the Barbican London, the Sydney Opera House, the Grand Théâtre de Luxenbourg, the Théâtre de Vidy-Lausanne, the Festival d’Avignon and the Fondation Beyeler Art Museum. His creations have also been shown at the Theater Spektakel Zurich and the Schauspielhaus Zurich, to name but a few. The national and international press regularly reports on his unique talent.


  • 2013 Foundation Heinz Spoerli Award
  • 2011 Swiss Design Award, stage design
  • 2011 Argus Angel Award, Brighton Festival
  • 2010 Swiss Design Award, stage design
  • 2010 Culture Promotion Prize of the Canton of Zurich
  • 2009 Swiss Dance and Choreography Prize
  • 2008 Swiss Design Award, stage desing
  • 2008 Prix suisse de l’innovation de l’ATP
  • 2007 Prix Mimos, 25ème festival international, Périgueux
  • 2006 Audience Award, Valladolid festival international
  • 2000 Audience Award, Belgrade Int. Theater Festival


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