Michael Thalheimer was born in Frankfurt, Germany and began his theatre career as an actor. He made his directing debut in 1997 at the Theater Chemnitz, followed by productions at theatres in Basel (Switzerland), Leipzig and Freiburg (Germany). His big breakthrough came in the year 2000 with Ferenc Molnár’s Liliom at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg and the family drama The Celebration at the Dresden Playhouse. In 2001, both productions were invited to Berlin's »Theatertreffen«, a festival highlighting the year's best German-language productions.
Thalheimer's productions are performed regularly at the Deutsches Theater Berlin, where he was the Head Director and a member of the Artistic Board from 2005 to 2008. He made his DT debut in 2001 with Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s Emilia Galotti, followed by Chekhov's Three Sisters, Gerhart Hauptmann's Lonely Lives, Goethe’s Faust (Parts 1 & 2), Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Jon Fosse’s Sleep, Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Gerhart Hauptmann’s The Rats and Ibsen’s The Wild Duck. Most recently he staged Dea Loher’s Innocence (2011), Gerhart Hauptmann’s The Weavers (2011) and Ödön von Horváth’s Tales from the Vienna Woods (2013).
Michael Thalheimer’s stagings have won numerous awards, such as the Innovation Prize from the public television station 3Sat for Liliom, the Friedrich Luft Prize (awarded to Berlin’s most outstanding production of the year), a Nestroy (Vienna’s most prestigious theatre prize) and the Golden Mask (for the best international production) in Russia in 2005 for Emilia Galotti. Thalheimer’s stagings of Aeschylus’ The Oresteia and Gerhart Hauptmann’s The Rats for the Deutsches Theater Berlin, were also invited to the Theatertreffen festival in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Thalheimer’s productions have been staged at the Salzburg Festival, Vienna’s »Festwochen« and the Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro. Guest performances of his productions have also been mounted in Athens, New York, Tokyo, Moscow, Rome, Kiev, Budapest, Belgrade, Prague, Madrid, Mexico City and Bogotá.