The ZKB Prizes

One of the long-standing commitments of the Zürcher Kantonalbank as main partner of the Zürcher Theater Spektakel has been the funding of the ZKB Patronage and the ZKB Acknowledgement Prizes, which have awarded young artists and companies worthy of support for over twenty years. In 2016, the Zürcher Kantonalbank launched the ZKB Audience Prize. Since then, not only a jury of experts but also the audience have been able to cast their vote on productions nominated for the ZKB Patronage and ZKB Acknowledgment Prizes.


Mallika Taneja receives the ZKB Patronage Prize for her piece «Allegedly». The jury praised in particular the exemplary and powerful use of medium of this online performance. Edna Jaime reiceves the ZKB Acknowledgment Prize. «O Bom Combate (The Good Fight)», according to the jury, takes a look at the past, faces the present and opens up hope for a better and more equal future. The festival audience, however, was undecided. This year two productions share the ZKB Audience Award: «Zilin» by Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja's ensemble Tschuku Tschuku from Namibia and «FUCK ME» by the Argentinian choreographer Marina Otero. We warmly congratulate all award winners!

See here for the statements of the jury.

The ZKB Audience Prize CHF 10,000.-

Since 2016, spectators at the Zürcher Theater Spektakel have been able to cast their vote for the ZKB Audience Prize. At the entrance to the nominees’productions, they are handed out a ballot to rate the show. The prize is awarded to the production with the best audience ratings.

In this win-win situation, not only artists, but also the audience, can benefit. All voters automatically enter a raffle for one of the following prizes:

  • 1st prize: ZKB savings account with a credit of Fr. 1000
  • 2nd prize: VIP package for the ZKB award ceremony 2022
  • 3rd prize: Dinner voucher worth Fr. 100 for the Zürcher Theater Spektakel

ZKB Patronage Prize CHF 30,000.-

The ZKB Patronage Prize is awarded to a company or an artist working in theatre, dance or performance art. The aim of this prize is to support the chosen recipient in their future projects. It is awarded to a performance whose premiere has taken place within the past three years and represents independent theatre in a distinctive way. The festival board nominates productions. Precedence is given to artists who have yet to receive a level of public recognition commensurate with their achievements. Former prize-winners are excluded from nomination.


ZKB Acknowledgment Prize CHF 5000.-

The ZKB Acknowledgement Prize allows for additional recognition and support of a nominee. It is awarded to a company or artist for extraordinary achievement in such areas as choreography, dramaturgy, audience participation or acting. All productions shown in «Short Pieces» are nominated for the ZKB Acknowledgment Prize, unless they have previously been nominated.



An independent jury, consisting of five experts, decides on awarding the prizes. The jury panel is chosen by the festival management and is presided by one of its members. This person is not entitled to vote. The jury consultations are not public; the decision for the awarded production is substantiated. The jury’s decisions are announced on the last weekend of the festival at the occasion of an award ceremony.

Mamela Nyamza

Mamela Nyamza is a choreographer, artist and activist. In 2015, she presented «The Last Attitude» together with Nelisiwe Xaba at the Zürcher Theater Spektakel; in 2020, she participated in the international radio ballet.

Susanne Abelein

Zurich-based performer and performance-maker Susanne Abelein is a co-founder of CapriConnection, co-initiator of FAIRSPEC and director for the project «fremd?!».


Urška Brodar, dramaturg and translator, currently works at Mladinsko Theatre, Ljubljana. She co-devises original theatre, performance and talk formats. With Maska, she co-curates Nova pošta, venue for experimental performing arts and critical discourse.

Martha Hincapié Charry

Martha Hincapié Charry is a choreographer, dancer and curator as well as the artistic director of Plataforma/SurReal Berlin. As a Columbian with indigenous background, she reflects on processes of decolonialisation and forms of survival through in her work.


Hélène Mateev, who grew up in Canada, is a cultural educator, curator and producer, who has worked for organisations such as Festival Antigel, Swiss Dance Days and Les Urbaines. Currently they are co-curator at TU – Théâtre de l’Usine in Geneva.

Former Prize Winners


Due to the corona pandemic and the ensuing conditions for the festival, the criteria for nomination and awarding prizes could not be applied. Accordingly, Zürcher Kantonalbank and the festival direction have decided not to award any ZKB Prizes in 2020.


Patronage Prize: Samara Hersch & Lara Thoms, Australien: We All Know What's HappeningAcknowledgement Prize: Ira Melkonyan & The Rubberbodies Collective, Ukraine/Niederlande: Upstairs Geology 50/50Audience Prize: Samara Hersch & Lara Thoms, Australien: We All Know What's Happening


Patronage Prize: Silke Huysman & Hannes Dereere, Brazil, Belgium: Mining Stories
Acknowledgement Prize: Youness Atbane & Youness Aboulakoul, Morocco: The Architects
Audience Prize: Casus Circus, Australia: Driftwood


Patronage Prize: Wojtek Ziemilski & Nowy Teatr, Poland: Jeden gest (One Gesture)
Acknowledgement Prize: Fatoumata Bagayoko, Mali: Fatou t'as tout fait
Audience Prize: Lukas Avendaño, Mexico: No soy persona. Soy mariposa


Patronage Prize: Omar Abusaada & Mohammad Al Attar, Syria: While I Was Waiting
Acknowledgement Prize: Sorour Darabi, Iran: Farci.e
Audience Prize: Gravity & Other Myths, Australia: A Simple Space

For a complete list of the prize winners since 1996 please check here