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.
Participatory storytelling has become a central part of her work, leading to collaborations on climate fiction with Heat Resilient Cities and Dandelion Spaces. She also continues to work in improvised theater in traditional and experimental contexts: teaching around Berlin and Europe for Instant Improv Berlin, Impro Bubble, MAD Improv and more; producing sold-out shows at 800a and La Escalera de Jacob; and participating in the LAB at the English Theatre Berlin with Nicole Ratjen’s Women on a Mound.
In 2020 she experimented with international collaborations through digital formats, producing the Virtual Classics series in 2020 and The Time Capsule in 2021, a collaboration with artists in India and the U.S. The former was featured in the Social Distancing Festival and the latter was invited to the Impro Festival Online.
As producer and performer for A Spoonful of Deutschland, Summer is one-third of Berlin’s favorite Disney parody group – whose no-budget video Under the Sea parody “East Germany” has slowly made it to over 80,000 views. Her interest in developing communities for live arts led to her two open stages (which earned a mention in the Lonely Planet guide to Berlin), founding the Berlin English Improv Network, and maintaining a weekly digital jam session with actors from across the globe from Israel to the Philippines.
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 her new podcast about works at the intersection between art and activism. 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 wearedoingit e.V.