Sven is a graduate of Harvard and Carnegie Mellon Universities. With a 4.03 GPA Sven graduated at the top of his class from Carnegie Mellon in 2006, and was invited into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Pittsburgh Chapter. A native of Germany, Sven attended Schule Schloss Salem, Germany's most prominent boarding school, from Grade 10 through 13. Sven graduated cum laude from Salem in the subject area of Political Science. From 1985 to 1987 Sven was trained as a tank commander and tank platoon leader with the German Bundeswehr. Subsequently he became a liaison officer and worked in the rank of a 2nd Lieutenant, at the US Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. As a liaison Sven accompanied the international press and high ranking military officials from NATO during the military exercises USAREUR and REFORGER 88.
Starting in 1989, Sven began his training in Physical Theatre at Performance Arts Zentrum Munich, Germany. Prior to his training as an actor, Sven spent one year at the Ludwigs-Maximilians-University of Munich, where he studied Philosophy, Political Science, and Ancient History. While in theatre training in Munich, Sven began to work professionally in theatre, film and television. After the completion of his state acting degree in Germany, Sven continued his theatre education at the American Repertory Theatre Institute at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While receiving a scholarship from Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Theater Training, Sven appeared as Oliver in Ron Daniels AS YOU LIKE IT, as Lenox in Alvin Epstein's MACBETH, starring Christopher Lloyd, and as Aegisthus in THE ORESTEIA, directed by Francois Rochaix. Upon graduation from A.R.T.,
Sven worked for 10 years in New York as an actor and teaching artist in theatre, film, television and radio. From 1998 to 2003 he was a resident actor with the Off-Broadway theatre Irondale Ensemble Project, founded by Illinois Wesleyan University alumnus Jim Niesen (class of 1968). At Irondale, Sven originated lead roles, and led workshops and residencies with Irondale's education program. During the five years that Sven worked as a teaching artist with Irondale in New York City's Inner City Schools, from K through 12, he also taught classes and workshops in prisons and hospitals, helping under-served and high need populations. During that time he directed the Bellevue Hospital's P.S. 801 SHAKESPEARE PLAY CYCLE, which consisted of MACBETH in 1999, and ROMEO & JULIET in 2000.
In 2006 Sven received his Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University. At CMU he directed HAMLET'S WOMEN and CUT FAUST!, his directing debut at the German National Theater of Weimar, Edward Albee's THE GOAT OR WHO IS SYLVIA?, took place in March of 2006. Sven returned to the German National Theater in 2007 to direct MY GOD RIDES A SKATEBOARD and JUDITH. MY GOD RIDES A SKATEBOARD received the German Presidential Medal for Artistic Innovation, Excellence, and Social Change. Due to his committed and passionate work and contribution, Sven was asked to become an Associate Artist at the German National Theater from 2006 to 2010.
In the fall of 2006 Sven joined the faculty of the School of Theatre Arts at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he taught theatre and writing. He conceived and directed INTO AN UNLULLED SLEEP at Illinois Wesleyan. The show was inspired by Barbara Ehrenreich's book NICKEL AND DIMED, and developed collaboratively with the students and faculty of the School of Theatre Arts, the Political Science Department, and two local homeless shelters in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. In 2008 Sven created PUPPET HAMLET at Theater Waidspeicher, using Open Puppetry, Video, and Live Performance. The show intertextualized F.K. Waechter, Shakespeare, and Kleist, and ran during the International Puppet Theater Festival Synergia 2008, in Erfurt, Germany.
2010 saw the highly acclaimed multi-media dance theater piece Grenztaenzer at the German National Theater Weimar. 120 students from different educational and social backgrounds danced to the music of John Adams, played by the German National Theater's Orchestra, under the direction of Sven, conducted by Erasmus Baumann, and choreographed by Ayman Harper (William Forsythe Company). In October 2011 Copenhagen opened at the Deutsches Theater Goettingen, again under the direction of Sven. In December 2008, Sven joined the drama faculty at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada. He taught practice and theory seminars and classes in the M.F.A./ M.A., and B.F.A./ B.A. areas until June 2012. He was in charge of graduate supervision for the M.F.A. Directing and Theatre Practice programs, and chaired oral defense committees for the M.A. Theatre History and Criticism programs at the University of Alberta.
Sven is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Laboratory in New York City, and is a member of the professional American actor unions AEA, SAG-AFTRA, as well as an associate of the union for American stage directors and choreographers, SDC. Sven now resides in Chicago, Illinois, where he teaches German, Reading and Writing, and pursues his career as an artist and educator in theatre. He is currently in the process of certification for teaching German at the Goethe Institute in Chicago. For the curious and super-curious: Sven has acted opposite Christopher Lloyd from BACK TO THE FUTURE, has been on set with Annette Benning, Denzel Washington, and Bruce Willis, and has appeared opposite Susan Lucci in ALL MY CHILDREN!
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