Milo Rau was born in Bern in 1977. He studied sociology, German and Romance languages and literature in Paris, Zurich and Berlin under Tzvetan Todorov and Pierre Bourdieu, among others. He embarked on his first reporting trips in 1997, travelling to Chiapas and Cuba. From 2000 he worked as a writer for Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and from 2003 as a director and writer in Switzerland and abroad. In 2007, Rau founded the theatre and film production company IIPM – International Institute of Political Murder for the creation and utilisation of his artistic works. He still heads the company.
His theatre productions and films (“The Last Days of the Ceausescus”, “Hate Radio”, “City of Change”, “Breivik’s Statement”, “The Moscow Trials”, “The Civil Wars”, “The Dark Ages”, “The Congo Tribunal”, “Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun”, “Five Easy Pieces” and “Empire”, among others) have toured more than 30 countries and appeared at the most important national and international festivals, including the Berlin Theatertreffen, the Festival d’Avignon, the Wiener Festwochen, Montreal’s Festival TransAmériques, the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels and the Biennale Teatro in Venice.
Alongside his work for stage and film, Milo Rau lectures on stage direction, cultural theory and social sculpture at universities and art colleges.
The author and director has received honours including the Swiss Theatre Award 2014, the Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden (War Blinded Audio Play Prize; for “Hate Radio”), the Special Jury Award of the Festival des deutschen Films (Festival of German Film; for “The Moscow Trials”) and the Jury Award of the Festival Politik im Freien Theater (Festival of Politics in Free Theatre; for “The Civil Wars”). Additionally, “The Civil Wars” was selected as one of the “best plays of the Netherlands and Flanders in 2014/15,” the first foreign-language piece to be given this distinction. The first Konstanzer Konzilspreis. Preis für Europäische Begegnungen und Dialog (Council of Constance – Prize for European Encounter and Dialogue) also went to Rau in November 2015. In 2016, he became the youngest winner of the Preis des Internationalen Theaterinstituts (International Theatre Institute Prize), following artists such as Pina Bausch and Frank Castorf, and also garnered a special award of the Berner Literaturpreis.
Rau’s political essay “Was tun? Kritik der postmodernen Vernunft” (What Is to Be Done? A Critique of Postmodern Reason) was a bestseller and was selected “political book of the year 2013” by the German newspaper taz – die tageszeitung. The daily De Standaard recently called him the “most exciting artist in Europe,” the newspaper Le Soir described him as one of the “freest and most strident minds of our time,” and the broadcaster art.tv called him the “Bertolt Brecht of our era.”
For 2017, Rau was appointed to the renowned Saarbrücker Poetikdozentur für Dramatik (Saarbrucken Poetry Lectureship for Drama) and, along with Elke Heidenreich, Rüdiger Safranski and Martin Ebel, named to the regular group of experts in the broadcast Literaturclub.
List of works
Empire (Performance, Video Installation, Book, 2016)
Five Easy Pieces (Performance, Film, 2016)
Mitleid. Die Geschichte des Maschinengewehrs / Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun (Performance, Radio Play, 2016)
Leitfaden für britische Soldaten in Deutschland / Instructions for British Servicemen in Germany 1944 (Performance, Radio Play, 2015)
Althussers Hände / The Hands of Althusser (Book, 2015)
Das Kongo Tribunal / The Congo Tribunal (Performance, Film, 2015)
The Dark Ages (Performance, Radio Play, Video Installation, Book, 2015)
The Civil Wars (Performance, Video Installation, Book, 2014)
Die Berliner Gespräche / The Berlin Dialogues (Talk Show, 2013/14)
Was tun? Kritik der postmodernen Vernunft / What Is to Be Done? A Critique of Postmodern Reason (Book, 2013)
Die Enthüllung des Realen / The Revelation of the Real (Exhibition, Book, 2013)
Die Zürcher Prozesse / The Zurich Trials (Performance, TV Film, Book, 2013)
Die Moskauer Prozesse / The Moscow Trials (Performance, Feature Film, Book, 2013)
Breivik’s Statement (Performance, 2012)
Hate Radio (Performance, TV Film, Book, Radio Play, 2011/14)
City of Change (Performance, TV Film, 2010/11)
Die letzten Tage der Ceausescus / The Last Days of the Ceausescus (Performance, Feature Film, Book, 2009/10)
Montana (Performance, 2007)
Pornografia (Performance, 2006)
Das höchste Glück / The Greatest Happiness (Performance, 2006)
Bei Anruf Avantgarde / Dial “A” for Avant-garde (Performance, 2005)
Amnesie / Amnesia (Performance, 2005)
Dämonen / Demons (Performance, 2005)
Die Rainer Werner Fassbinder Show / The Rainer Werner Fassbinder Show (Performance, 2003)
Paranoia Express (Feature Film, 2002)
Kunst, Theater, Wirklichkeit: Kleists ‘Penthesilea’ im Spiegel zeitgenössischer Ästhetiktheorien / Art, Theatre, Reality: Kleist’s ‘Penthesilea’ as Reflected in Contemporary Aesthetic Theories (2002)