Adam Donen

Jury year(s) 2023

Described by BBC News as “either a genius or a madman”, Adam Donen invents artforms, writes, directs and composes.

Though creating notable specific theatre, Donen was best known as a rock musician, releasing four albums and touring extensively. He switched to classical music in 2012, collaborating with Roger O’Donnell of The Cure on two orchestral works before moving on to writing symphonies.

In 2016, he created, directed and composed Symphony to a Lost Generation, the world’s first fully holographic drama, which featured a cast of 250 actors and dancers (including ballet superstars Sergei Polunin and Natalia Osipova), the Lithuanian Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Choir all appearing as holograms on an empty stage. He followed this with Nixon in Agony, the world’s first binaural audio drama, with Steven Berkoff in the lead, a headline commission for the South African National Arts Festival. Alice, Through the Looking (2021), Donen’s first feature, was characterised by Tallinn Black Nights, at which it premiered, as, “Imagine that you are sitting at a table in a crowded and bustling café, having your eighth consecutive espresso and debating with David Lynch, Woody Allen and Jean-Luc Godard.

Photo Credit: Magnus Arrevad