Summer Banks is a California desert-born theater-maker and writer. After working in theater journalism, including a four-year stint as the stage editor for EXBERLINER, she went back to university to get her M.A. in Vergleichende Literatur- und Kunstwissenschaft (Comparative Art and Literature) at the Universität Potsdam, with a focus on art and performance in public spaces. Her thesis analyzes the techniques used by the German action art group Zentrum für Politische Schönheit. While she continues to write about theater and art, she’s now focusing more on creating texts for the theater and installations. She also works with storytelling and improv theater formats in traditional and experimental contexts.
As producer and performer for A Spoonful of Deutschland, Summer is part of Berlin’s favorite Disney parody group – whose no-budget video Under the Sea parody “East Germany” has slowly made it to 45,000 views. Her interest in developing communities for performance led to her running two open stages (and earning a mention in Lonely Planet) and finally founding the Berlin English Improv Network.
Summer’s articles have been published in Newsweek, HowlRound and The Local. In 2013 she was selected to be part of the blog for the 50th anniversary of the German theater festival Theatertreffen. The Department of Useful Art is the working title for her new podcast project in which activist artists delve into the motivations behind their work. She also translates from German to English and writes and edits supplementary texts for theaters and other arts organizations, including the Maxim Gorki Theatre and Volksbühne Berlin.