Johan Simons, born in 1946, grew up in Heerjansdam, Netherlands. Following his training as dancer at the Rotterdam Academy and as actor at the Theater Academy in Maastricht, he became director and actor of the Haagsche Comedie in 1976. In 1985 Johan Simons and Paul Koek founded the Theatergroep Hollandia that merged with Zuidelijk Toneel in Eindhoven to form ZT/Hollandia in 2001. In 2005 ZT/Hollandia was dissolved and Johan Simons was asked to provide the Publiekstheater in Belgium with a new artistic image. He renamed the theater to NTGent. During his years with the NTGent (2005-2010) he was primarily committed to the topics of power and the new man. He staged adaptations of novels by Arnon Grünberg, Michel Houellebecq, J.M. Coetzee and Louis Paul Boon, classics by Aischylos and Beckett as well as scenarios by Krzystof Kieslowsky and Billy Wilder.
From 2000 Johan Simons was regularly invited as guest director to German-language theaters: He worked, among others, at the Schauspielhaus Zürich, the Staatstheater Stuttgart and the Münchner Kammerspiele. With his Munich production of Heiner Müller’s “Anatomie Titus” he was invited to the Berliner Theatertreffen in 2004. “Elementarteilchen”, an adaptation of the novel by Michel Houellebecq at the Schauspielhaus Zürich, was granted the Nestroy Theater Award as best German-language Performance in 2004.
In 2010 Johan Simons succeeded Frank Baumbauer as director of the Münchner Kammerspiele, which he headed until the 2014/15 season. His production “Hotel Savoy” (2005) presented the inauguration of his first season and simultaneously the opening of the Spielhalle (Kammer 2) as new theater venue. Johan Simons was invited to the Berliner Theatertreffen several times, most recently with his Munich productions of Sarah Kane’s “Gesäubert/Gier/Psychose 4:48” (TT 2012) as well as Elfriede Jelinek’s “Die Straße. Die Stadt. Der Überfall” (TT 2013). Lately he staged “Dantons Tod” (2013), “Das schweigende Mädchen” (2014) and “Hoppla, wir sterben!” (2015), etc., at the Münchner Kammerspiele. In 2013, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Münchner Kammerspiele, the magazine “Theater heute” elected the Kammerspiele “Theater of the Year”. From 2015 to 2017 Johan Simons will work as artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale.