Home News Martin Zimmermann garners top performance prize

Martin Zimmermann garners top performance prize

Published on 02/09/2021

Zurich choreographer and performer Martin Zimmermann has been awarded the country’s top prize for the performing arts.

Zimmermann will receive the Swiss Grand Award for the Performing Arts/Hans Reinhart Ring 2021, worth CHF100,000 ($109,000), the Federal Office of Culture (FOC) said on Thursday.

“For more than 20 years, his work has created its own genre, opening up the perspective of the performing arts,” the FOC said in a statement.

Born in 1970, Zimmermann completed an apprenticeship as a decorator in Zurich, before moving on to complete his training at the Centre National des Arts du Cirque (CNAC) in Paris in 1995.

“Martin Zimmermann develops bizarre stage worlds and stages his fragile figures and bizarre objects in them. When he is not acting himself, he lets his dancers, actors and virtuoso artists become accomplices in his tragicomic universe,” the statement continued.

His works have been performed at well-known theatres and performing arts festivals worldwide, including in New York, Tokyo, London, Paris and Sydney.


Zimmermann’s latest work, Danse Macabre, had its première at the Zurich Theater Spektakel in August. For his next work, he is teaming up with Kinsun Chan and the Tanzkompanie am Theater St. Gallen to create Wonderful World for the opening of the Steps dance festival in spring 2022.

The Grand Award is given annually to an outstanding personality or institution in the Swiss theatre scene. From this year, the Swiss Theatre Awards and Swiss Dance Awards have been merged under the umbrella of the Performing Arts and will be presented jointly. Several other awards, worth CHF40,000, were also announced on Thursday.

“With this year’s selection, the two federal juries for dance and theatre are focusing on a current generation of middle-aged artists who demonstrate tenacity and thus have an important role to play in the current situation and for the time after the Covid crisis,” the statement said.