„Erwin Piscator is the greatest theater man of all time. He will leave a legacy that we should use.“
In December 1985, Gregorij von Leïtis, founding artistic director of Elysium, established the Erwin Piscator Award to honor and keep alive the artistic and human legacy of the great theatrical pioneer Erwin Piscator and his lasting influence on theater on both sides of the Atlantic. Like Leo Tolstoy, whose epic novel War and Peace he adapted for the stage, Piscator was convinced: “Art has purpose only when it contributes to the betterment of man.” Since the first award ceremony on April 22, 1986, the annual Erwin Piscator Award has been given to artists who – like Piscator – contribute to the betterment of mankind through their art.
Ten years later, in 1996, the Erwin Piscator Honorary Award was created in memory of Maria Ley Piscator to honor personalities and institutions that support art and culture in a special way.