Argentine playwright and director Lola Arias wins 2024 Ibsen Award 

The multifaceted artist joins the ranks of Jon Fosse, Christoph Marthaler, and Peter Brook with the prestigious theater prize

Argentine writer and theater and film director Lola Arias has been awarded the International Ibsen Award 2024, the world’s most prestigious theater award. 

A multifaceted artist, Lola Arias’s productions blur the boundaries between reality and fiction, and bring together people from different backgrounds, like war veterans, refugees, and sex workers, in theater, film, literature, music, and visual art projects.

“For twenty-five years, Lola Arias, the Argentine writer, musician, actor, director, and filmmaker, has been making work that questions who makes theater and why”, the selection committee wrote in a statement.

The Ibsen Award was created by the Norwegian government in 2007, and since then it has been given to internationally renowned playwrights such as Jon Fosse, Christoph Marthaler, and Peter Brook. The winner receives 2.5 million Norwegian kroner (approximately US$ 300,000). 

Since 2007, Arias has worked in documentary theater, creating over twelve plays in collaboration with people who have lived through different events and historical experiences.

One of her most remembered plays in the Buenos Aires theater circuit, My Life After (2009) is based on the life stories of six performers who re-enacted their parents’ lives during the dictatorship in Argentina. 

Some of her most recent works also include Minefield (Royal Court Theatre, London, 2016), which brings together British and Argentine veterans of the Malvinas war to share their experience of the conflict and life since. What They Want to Hear (Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich, 2018), is the reconstruction of the real case of a Syrian archaeologist trapped in German bureaucracy for years with no legal status.

“By bringing those whose stories are being told into the very process of shaping and performing the work, she has asked profound questions about ownership, agency, ethics, and artmaking,” the selection committee said. “Arias’ work — encompassing short stories, tanztheater, films, installations, compositions, and poetry as well as theater — has been both profoundly grounded in the context in which it is made and resolutely transnational in its focus and impact.” 

Arias’s first feature film Theatre of War (2018) was selected for the 68th Forum of the Berlinale Film Festival and received several prizes including the Best Director Award at the 20th Buenos Aires Film Festival and the Silver Condor Award for Best Adapted Script. 

Her second feature film, Reas (2024), premiered at the 74th Forum of the Berlinale Film Festival. The film brings together stories of cis women and trans people who have been in prison, in a reinvention of the musical genre in documentary format, mixing the former inmates’ personal stories and experiences with music and choreography.

Arias has also published poetry, fiction, and music albums, and curated art performances and exhibitions. 


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