Paul Binnerts, chronology

  • 1938: Born in Den Haag (The Hague), The Netherlands.
  • 1960-1968: Studied Dutch language and literature (bach. 1964) and was in 1968 the first in The Netherlands to graduate as a dramaturg under Professor Benjamin Hunningher at the University of Amsterdam.
  • 1967-1970: President of the International Student Theater Union (ISTU).
  • 1968-1971: Lecturer of drama and history of the theater at the Drama Institute of the University of Amsterdam, and producer of significant international avant-garde theater productions at the University Theater – a.o.: The Cuban Missile Crisis by Albert Hunt/Bradford Art College, The Serpent by the Open Theater of Joseph Chaikin, The Cry of the People for Meat by The Bread and Puppet Theater of Peter Schumann, and Deafman’s Glance by Robert Wilson.
  • 1971: Director, acting teacher, playwright, novelist and publicist on theater.
    • Became an expert on the ‘epic theater’ of Bertolt Brecht, and directed a number of his plays: a.o. The Measures Taken (1972), Man is Man (1988 and 2007) and Fear and Misery in the Third Reich (1981), which was televised nationwide 1983 (KRO-TV).
      Developed ‘real-time acting’ for the postmodern theater, in which actors, instead of ‘transforming’ into the characters they play, are, through their presence as themselves, the intermediary between their character, the performance and the audience.
      Worked with professional actors in a number of theater groups, and students of Drama schools and Universities in more than 75 productions.
    • As a playwright he wrote over 20 plays and directed most of them. Among others: LOST & FOUND (Westbeth/New York 2013), his second original play in English. Transit, his adaptation of the novel by Anna Seghers (Theater Willy Praml/Wu Wei Theater, Frankfurt A.M. 2015) is one of his plays in the German language. St. Louis Blues, libretto for the opera by Chiel Meijering.
    • As an acting/directing teacher, since 1968, he inspired several generations of actors, directors and playwrights. His teaching credits include theater schools in The Netherlands (Theaterschool Amsterdam, Toneelacademie Maastricht), Germany (Universität der Künste, Playwriting Department, Berlin) and universities in The Netherlands (Amsterdam, Utrecht), the US (Princeton University and New York University/Tisch/ITW).
    • Acting/directing workshops in The Netherlands, Germany, Israël, Japan, US. In 2013 he conducted an international acting workshop for LaMaMa/Umbria (It), alongside with Nancy Gabor and Kristin Linklater.
    • Wrote and published novels and several short stories (all in Dutch). His latest novel Het Leugenlabyrint (Labyrinth of Lies) is published in 2021 (see under: Literary works)
    • Reviews, articles and essays on theater and a book on acting, Acting in Real Time.
  • 1979-1985: Lived in Frankfurt am Main as co-founder and director of one of the first professional ‘free’ (= independent, not for profit) theater groups in Germany: Schlicksupp teatertrupp. Memorable performances were Der Brotladen/The Breadshop (1980), Drei Frauen and Flametti (1983), which toured Europe and were invited to international festivals. Flametti was televised nationwide (HR/ARD, 1985).
  • 1985: Published his first of three psychological thrillers: Intensive Care.
  • 1986: Returned to The Netherlands and founded Southern Comfort, for which he wrote and directed several plays, a.o. Forbidden Reproduction, Kassandra, De Tijgerin. Black Box and Mephisto were co-produced with Theaterbureau Hummelinck Stuurman.
  • 1992-1994: Editor in chief of Dutch theater magazine Toneel Theatraal. Chairman of the jury of the Theater festival.
  • 1992: Married to Nancy Gabor.
  • 2002: Based in New York and Amsterdam.
  • 2002: Publication of Toneelspelen in de Tegenwoordige Tijd – veldboek voor het vertellende toneel (IT&FB, Amsterdam).
  • 2002-2005: Associate Professor Drama at Princeton Universiy
  • 2007: Founded The Elephant Brigade in New York. Returned once more to Brecht with the production of Man is Man (Tisch/NYU and HERE Arts Center).
  • 2012: Publication of Acting in Real Time, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.
  • 2014: Publication of Real Time Acting für ein Theater der Gegenwärtigkeit – Spiel Zeit Raum, Schibri-Verlag, Uckerland/OT Milow.
  • 2015: Transit, based on the novel by Anna Seghers, Theater Willy Praml/Wu Wei Theater, Frankfurt a.m., Germany.
  • 2018: Toneelspelen in de Tegenwoordige Tijd, second revised edition,(Amsterdam, IT&FB)
  • 2021: Het Leugenlabyrint (Labyrinth of Lies), a novel, Prometheus, Amsterdam.

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New Books!

  • Het Leugenlabyrint (Eng. Labyrinth of Lies), a novel, Prometheus, Amsterdam, 2021.


‘The Hague, May 9th 1940. Bert Meijer van Leer becomes the proud owner of a German motorbike. Little does he know that the motorbike, a Zündapp, will save his life and cause his downfall. On May 10th the German army invades Holland. On that day Emmeke, Bert’s sister, celebrates her birthday. Emmeke and Bert are Jewish, but not practicing. Bert has been baptized and marries Lien who is Protestant. Emmeke is married to Joost, who isn’t Jewish either and anti-religious out of principle. Ingredients for a fatal chain of events.

Their ‘mixed marriages’ can’t protect them against the measures the Germans take against the Jews: excluding them from the society they live in through registration and public humiliation by forcing them to wear the Star of David; and, if they don’t comply, arrest, imprisonment, and deportation to a concentration camp.

In Labyrinth of Lies author Paul Binnerts witnesses how the Germans slowly tighten the screws. His characters are facing decisions, of which only afterwards can be said they were the wrong decisions. The only thing he can do is keeping them company.’