Tom Kühnel was born in 1971 in the eastern German city of Cottbus. From 1992 to 1996 he studied theatre directing at the Ernst Busch School for Performing Arts in Berlin. During his studies he began collaborating with puppeteer Suse Wächter and fellow director Robert Schuster. In 1995 Kühnel and Schuster won the Friedrich Luft Prize, which honours Berlin’s best theatre production of the year, for their staging of Alexander Vvedensky's Christmas at the Ivanovs. Kühnel and Schuster directed further productions in Berlin and at the Theater am Turm (TAT) in Frankfurt. In 1998 they teamed up with Soeren Voima to both adapt classic plays and write new ones. Tom Kühnel, Robert Schuster and Bernd Stegemann served as artistic directors of the TAT in Frankfurt from 1999 to 2002. Kühnel began staging solo productions in 2000; he’s created works for Berlin’s Schaubühne and Volksbühne, Theater Basel, the Deutsches Theater Berlin, Hamburg’s Thalia Theater, Schauspiel Graz and Cologne’s Schauspiel Köln. In 2005 he began co-directing with Berlin-based radio host Jürgen Kuttner. Their first production together was Heroes of the 20th Century, a “hysterical play with puppets”. Tom Kühnel has been a resident director at Schauspiel Hannover since the 2009/2010 season. Recently he and Jürgen Kuttner have also mounted three productions at the Deutsches Theater Berlin: the Peter Hacks drama Anxieties and Power, Michael Frayn’s Democracy and Capitalista, Baby!, based on Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead.