Born in Berlin. She did her training at today’s "Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Arts. She made her debut at the Deutsches Theater in 1974 with Gorky’s The Counterfeit Coin. This was followed by the role of Mabel in Two Bow Ties by Mischa Spoliansky (directed by Friedo Solter) and Piparkarcka in The Rats (directed by Klaus Piontek). From 1977 to 2018 she has been a permanent member of the DT ensemble. Here she has worked with Thomas Langhoff, Johanna Schall, Michael Thalheimer, Jürgen Kruse, Roland Schimmelpfennig, Jürgen Gosch, Stephan Kimmig and Tilmann Köhler. She has had key roles in Bitter Honey, Lonely People, Innocence,The Bitter Tears of Petra v. Kant, Salome and Ödipus.Stadt. Together with Gabriele Heinz, she worked on a monologue based on Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. Barbara Schnitzler is also noted for a rich repertoire of her own readings. In 2013 her song recital Fahr doch allein Karussell was premiered. Since February 2016 she has performed at various theatres across the country with the monologue Ein Gespräch im Hause Stein über den abwesenden Herrn v. Goethe by Peter Hacks.