Katharina Schmitt works as a director and playwright in theatre, opera and radio.
She stages her own plays and adaptations of texts by other authors. Her work deals with relationships between language, bodies and violence and is characterised by its formal hybridity. She has collaborated with international theatres and festivals, including Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, Thalia Theater Hamburg, Munich Biennale, Schauspiel Leipzig, Festival Musica Strasbourg, Watermill Center New York and National Theatre Prague.
In cooperation with composers, Schmitt develops stagings and music theatre projects as a director and librettist. In 2017, she directed Jiří Kadeřábek's opera No Man for the Prague National Theatre, in 2018 she wrote the libretto and directed the world premiere of Everything Goes to Plan, a music theatre piece by composer Ondřej Adámek, at the Munich Biennale. In 2018 she wrote the text Molyneux's Problem, which she staged, with music by Michal Rataj, as a radio play for ORF and Czech Radio, as a performance at the Berlin gallery EIGEN+ART Lab and as a theatre piece at Studio Hrdinů in Prague. In the summer of 2020, A Study of Aphasia, developed with composer Michal Rataj, premiered under her direction, first as a radio play on Czech Radio and as a music theatre piece at the NODO Festival in Ostrava.
She has received major accolades such as the Jakob-Michael-Reinhold-Lenz-Award for Playwriting for her play Knock Out, the Martha Saalfeld Award for Literature, an EHF 2010 Fellowship and an Alfred Döblin Scholarship from the Berlin Academy of Arts. She has participated in residencies in Europe and the United States. Her plays have been translated into English, French, Polish, Finnish and Czech and are represented by Rowohlt Theaterverlag. Her radio plays have been produced and broadcast by Deutschlandradio, ORF, Český Rozhlas and WDR, among others, and have received nominations for Prix Marulić and for Grand Prix Nova.
Schmitt, who was born in Bremen, studied directing at the Prague Academy of Arts, where she also completed a Ph.D. on the subject of iconoclasm and perspective in theatre. Since 2012, she has been one of the associate directors of the Prague theatre Studio Hrdinů, where she has staged adaptations of texts by Arno Schmidt, Tim Crouch, Thomas Mann, Ester Krumbachová/Jan Němec, Samuel Beckett and Franz Kafka.