The longtime theater director Ulrich Khuon has pleaded for more composure and a willingness to engage in dialogue in current debates. He experiences society as irritable. “The topics are discussed in a dramatic manner, where I would then often say: ‘We’ll do it this way now. And then we’ll see in ten years. We trust the process,'” said Khuon of the German Press Agency. “I don’t need to have the definitive answer today.”

Khuon says goodbye after 14 years as director of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. After positions in Hanover and Hamburg, he took over the post in 2009. In the future he is to take over the interim directorship 2024/2025 at the Zurich Schauspielhaus.

He would like society to be more willing to listen. “You have to be allowed to discuss opposites, but you don’t always have to have the feeling of the end of the world when this and that happens,” said the 72-year-old. The willingness to listen in principle is not so pronounced, but there is a strong formation of blocks. “Sometimes you think: Each side opens up too little. And that’s where the third thing, the art, is good.”

What does Khuon say about gender?

One topic that has been discussed more often in recent years is gender. Khuon tries to do this and says “*innen” with a pause for some words. When asked why he decided to do this, he said: As a man, he could not say that the generic masculine has always existed and that women and all other genders are meant.

“The rule is: the other person determines what is received. And of course my environment here also contributed to this,” said Khuon in an interview. For example, they have a queer working group at home and he learned a lot from them. “I’ve produced so much ignorance in my own life that I’d always say, ‘Practice listening.'”

“So the language is important because of course it also tells something about my attitude, but the attitude itself is still more important,” said Khuon. There is also a danger that one is always super correct on the linguistic level, but then thinks and acts completely differently. “That’s why I think: How we meet people is the decisive factor. But how we speak also says something about how we want to meet them.”

Information on Ulrich Khuon Website of the Deutsches Theater Announcement on Zurich