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Famous Playwrights from Germany

Updated June 14, 2019 11.6k views55 items

List of notable or famous playwrights from Germany, with bios and photos, including the top playwrights born in Germany and even some popular playwrights who immigrated to Germany. If you're trying to find out the names of famous German playwrights then this list is the perfect resource for you. These playwrights are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known playwright from Germany is included when available.

List is made up of people like Hans Henny Jahnn and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

This historic playwrights from Germany list can help answer the questions "Who are some German playwrights of note?" and "Who are the most famous playwrights from Germany?" These prominent playwrights of Germany may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected German playwrights.

Use this list of renowned German playwrights to discover some new playwrights that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
  • 1
    Dec. at 62 (1771-1834)

    BirthplacePrague, Europe, Czech Republic, Central Europe, Czechoslovakia

    NationalityAustria, Germany

    Johann Alois Senefelder (6 November 1771 – 26 February 1834) was a German actor and playwright who invented the printing technique of lithography in the 1790s....  more
  • 2
    Dec. at 41 (1874-1915)

    BirthplaceMünster, Germany


    August Stramm (29 July 1874 – 1 September 1915) was a German poet and playwright who is considered one of the first of the expressionists. He also served in the German Army and was killed in action...  more
  • 3
    Dec. at 58 (1898-1956)

    BirthplaceAugsburg, Germany

    NationalityAustria, German Empire, German Democratic Republic

    Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht (, German: [ˈbɛɐ̯tɔlt ˈbʁɛçt] (listen); 10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956), known professionally as Bertolt Brecht, was a German theatre practitioner, playwright, and...  more

    #271 of 1,172 The Best Writers of All Time#50 of 153 The Best Poets of the 20th Century#79 of 250 The Best Gay Authors

  • 4
    Dec. at 64 (1878-1942)

    BirthplaceLeipzig, Germany


    Carl Sternheim (born William Adolph Carl Francke; 1 April 1878 – 3 November 1942) was a German playwright and short story writer. One of the major exponents of German Expressionism, he especially...  more
  • 5
    Dec. at 80 (1896-1977)

    BirthplaceNackenheim, Germany

    NationalityGerman Reich, Switzerland, German Empire, United States of America

    Carl Zuckmayer (27 December 1896 – 18 January 1977) was a German writer and playwright. His older brother was the pedagogue, composer, conductor and pianist Eduard Zuckmayer....  more
  • 6
    Dec. at 34 (1801-1836)

    BirthplaceDetmold, Germany


    Christian Dietrich Grabbe (11 December 1801 – 12 September 1836) was a German dramatist of the Vormärz era. He wrote many historical plays conceiving a disillusioned and pessimistic world view, with...  more
  • 7
    Dec. at 50 (1813-1863)

    BirthplaceWesselburen, Germany


    Christian Friedrich Hebbel (18 March 1813 – 13 December 1863), was a German poet and dramatist....  more
  • 8
    Dec. at 56 (1878-1934)

    BirthplaceBerlin, Germany


    Erich Mühsam (6 April 1878 – 10 July 1934) was a German-Jewish antimilitarist anarchist essayist, poet and playwright. He emerged at the end of World War I as one of the leading agitators for a...  more
  • 9
    Dec. at 70 (1876-1947)

    BirthplaceGrudziądz, Poland


    Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Hardt (9 May 1876 – 3 January 1947), born Ernst Stöckhardt, was a German playwright, poet, and novelist. Hardt was born in Graudenz, West Prussia (now Grudziądz, Poland). He...  more
  • 10
    Dec. at 41 (1901-1943)

    BirthplaceSypniewo, Złotów County, Poland


    Ernst Ottwalt was the pen name of German writer and playwright Ernst Gottwalt Nicolas. A communist, he fled Nazi Germany in 1934 and went into exile in the Soviet Union, where he fell victim to the...  more
  • 11
    Dec. at 45 (1893-1939)

    BirthplaceSzamocin, Poland

    NationalityPoland, Germany

    Ernst Toller (1 December 1893 – 22 May 1939) was a German left-wing playwright, best known for his Expressionist plays. He served in 1919 for six days as President of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet...  more
  • 12
    Dec. at 53 (1864-1918)

    BirthplaceHanover, Germany


    Benjamin Franklin Wedekind (July 24, 1864 – March 9, 1918), usually known as Frank Wedekind, was a German playwright. His work, which often criticizes bourgeois attitudes (particularly towards sex),...  more
  • 13

    BirthplaceMunich, Germany


    Franz Xaver Kroetz (born 25 February 1946 in Munich) is a German author, playwright, actor and film director. His plays have been translated and performed internationally....  more
  • 14
    Dec. at 61 (1939-2001)

    BirthplaceRussia, Moscow


    Friedel von Wangenheim was a screenwriter, songwriter, actor and playwright....  more
  • 15

    BirthplaceKirn, Germany


    Fritz Oswald Bilse (31 March 1878 in Kirn, Rhine Province – 1951) was a German novelist, playwright and a lieutenant in the Prussian Army. He also used the pseudonyms Fritz von der Kyrburg and Fritz...  more
  • 16
    Dec. at 66 (1878-1945)

    BirthplaceMagdeburg, Germany


    Friedrich Carl Georg Kaiser, called Georg Kaiser, (25 November 1878 – 4 June 1945) was a German dramatist....  more
  • 17
    Dec. at 75 (1932-2008)

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    George Furth (December 14, 1932 – August 11, 2008) was an American librettist, playwright, and actor....  more
  • 18
    Dec. at 83 (1862-1946)

    BirthplaceSzczawno-Zdrój, Poland


    Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann (15 November 1862 – 6 June 1946) was a German dramatist and novelist. He is counted among the most important promoters of literary naturalism, though he integrated...  more
  • 19
    Dec. at 52 (1729-1781)

    BirthplaceKamenz, Germany


    Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (; German: [ˈlɛsɪŋ]; 22 January 1729 – 15 February 1781) was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist and art critic, and an outstanding representative of the...  more
  • 20
    Dec. at 78 (1816-1895)

    BirthplaceKluczbork, Poland


    Gustav Freytag (German: [ˈfʁaɪˌtaːk]; 13 July 1816 – 30 April 1895) was a German novelist and playwright....  more
  • 21
    Dec. at 64 (1894-1959)

    BirthplaceHamburg, Germany


    Hans Henny Jahnn (17 December 1894, Stellingen – 29 November 1959, Hamburg) was a German playwright, novelist, and organ-builder. As a playwright, he wrote: Pastor Ephraim Magnus (1917), which The...  more
  • 22
    Dec. at 61 (1901-1963)

    BirthplacePoznań, Poland


    Hans Rehberg was a writer and playwright....
  • 23
    Dec. at 81 (1494-1576)

    BirthplaceNuremberg, Germany


    Hans Sachs (5 November 1494 – 19 January 1576) was a German Meistersinger ("mastersinger"), poet, playwright, and shoemaker....  more
  • 24
    Dec. at 66 (1929-1995)

    BirthplaceEppendorf, Saxony, Germany


    Heiner Müller (German: [haɪnɐ mʏlɐ]; 9 January 1929 – 30 December 1995) was a German (formerly East German) dramatist, poet, writer, essayist and theatre director. His "enigmatic, fragmentary pieces"...  more
  • 25
    Dec. at 43 (1760-1803)

    BirthplaceGotha, Germany


    Heinrich Christian Beck (19 February 1760 in Gotha – 7 May 1803 in Mannheim) was a German actor and playwright. Beck began his theatrical career with August Iffland and Johann David Beil at the...  more