Michael Schindhelm

Michael Schindhelm (1960) is a German-born Swiss national based in Ticino, Switzerland. He is a writer, filmmaker, curator and a cultural advisor for international organizations (incl. Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, UAE; West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong KongStrelka Institute, MoscowSkolkovo Innovation Center, MoscowZurich University of the Arts, Zurich; European Capital of Culture Dresden 2025, Germany; Tempelhof Projekt, Berlin, Germany; Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Under Schindhelm’s directorship, Theater Basel received the Bavarian Theatre Prize in 1999 and 2001 and was named Theatre of the Year in the German-speaking countries in 1999.

In 2022, Schindhelm received the Herbert Quandt Media Prize and the 3rd Award of the German Film Award on Economy for his documentary film “Revolution in Medicine – the Biontech Project”.

Schindhelm has been a member of the International Board of the Leadership Programme S.T.A.R.S. since 2016:

He has been married to Singaporean artist
Yeo Yawen (trueorigin.net) since 2019.

Since 2008 he was founding director of the 
Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, UAE.

Prior to this he was founding General Director for the Berliner Opernstiftung, Germany (2005 – 2007)
and CEO and Artistic Director of the Theater Basel, Switzerland (1996 – 2006).

He has previously worked as a theatre & opera director, playwright (librettist), TV presenter (Der Salon, Swiss TV) and translator.


In English: Dubai High (Arabian Publishing, London 2011); Lavapolis (Sternberg Press, Berlin 2014)

In German: Roberts Reise (dtv, Munich 2000), Zauber des Westens (DVA, Munich 2001), Das Kamel auf der Startbahn (Christoph Merian Verlag, Basel 2004), Die Herausforderung (DVA, Munich 2006), Mein Abenteuer Schweiz (Echtzeit Verlag, Zurich 2007), Dubai Speed (dtv, Munich 2009), Lavapolis (Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2014), Letzter Vorhang (Theater der Zeit, 2017), Walter Spies: Ein Exotisches Leben (Hirmer Verlag, Munich 2018)

Documentary Films: 

Chants of the Steppes (2004, arte, Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris) about music of nomads in the desert Gobi (Mongolia).

Bird’s Nest (2008, arte/Swiss TV, Berne, Paris) on the making of Beijing’s Olympic Games Stadium (designed by the Swiss architectural office Herzog & deMeuron).

The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg (Theatrical Release in Europe in February 2016, in Asia in March 2016) about the Swiss entrepreneur, diplomat and art collector Uli Sigg.

OUTLAND(Theatrical release Nov, 28 2021 Lugano, Switzerland)

Revolution in medicine. The Project Biontech(Swiss TV SRF 24 Oct. 2021; Arte Germany and France 30 Oct, 2021)


Consultancy, Research, Teaching, Advisory, Art:

Since 2019
Member of the Heritage & Culture Committee, Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


2010 – 2021
Honorary collaboration and member of board of trustees of the German Food Initiative Welthungerhilfe.

Since 2012
International Advisor to the Zurich University of the Arts.

2018 – 2019
Curator for Dresden’s application for the title of
European Capital of Culture 2025;

Advisor for 2018 – 2020
Tempelhof Projekt, Berlin.

Consultant on culture and sport for the Skolkovo Innovation Center, Moscow, on the development of culture and art within the concept of the Innovation City Skolkovo.

2010 – 2012
Head of research on Urban Culture in contemporary Moscow at Strelka Institute, Moscow, Russia.

Cultural advisor to the architectural firm OMA (Netherlands) in the development for a masterplan on the large-scale cultural project West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong.

2007 – 2009
Director to the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (and helped preparing its establishment) (Dubai, UAE).

2005 – 2007
Director General of the newly foundedStiftung Oper in Berlin“, Germany, world’s largest opera group, comprising three houses: Staatsoper Berlin, Deutsche Oper, Komische Oper.

1996 – 2006
CEO & Artistic Director at the Theatre Basel, Co-President Orchestra Sinfonieorchester Basel, Switzerland.

1994 – 1996
Director General and Artistic Director of the Theatre Altenburg Gera, Germany.

1992 – 1994
Artistic and Managing Director of the Theatre Gera, Germany.

1990 – 1992
Michael Schindhelm became Director and Head of Drama of the Theatre Nordhausen, Germany.

Academic Studies:

In 1979 he studied at the International University of Voronezh (USSR) and graduated 1984 with a Master of Science in Quantum Chemistry. From 1984 – 1986 he was Research Assistant at the Academy of Science in East Berlin.

Schindhelm was listed by the Stasi as an ‘unofficial contributor’ during a forced spell in the eighties. He was cleared by disciplinary councils in Switzerland (2001) and Germany (2004), which found that it had no bearing on his activities in public office and no one was harmed.

Twitter : @mischindy
Instagram : @michaelschindhelm