Gisela May (born May 31, 1924 in Wetzlar, Rhine Province) is a German character actress of theatre and a singer, who has performed songs written by Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler, and Kurt Weill. She also appeared as a film and TV actress in a number of movies between 1951 and 1991.
May studied at the drama school in Leipzig. She was employed for nine years at various theatres, including the State Theatre of Schwerin and the State Theatre in Halle. From 1951, she was engaged at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, Max Reinhardt's former workplace. She played a variety of roles from the classics to modern.
In 1962, May moved to Bertolt Brecht's theatre group, the Berliner Ensemble, to which she belonged for 30 years. Here she played many roles including Madame Cabet in The Days of the Commune, Mrs Peachum in The Threepenny Opera and "Mrs Kopecka in Schweik in the Second World War. The theatrical highlight in Brecht's stage work was her personification of Mother Courage. This performance was for about 13 years until the end of 1992 central to the repertoire of the Berliner Ensemble. Since 1992, the artist has been freelance, often working at Berlin's Renaissance Theatre.
- 1991 Deutscher Filmpreis (German Film Award) Film Award in Gold for outstanding individual achievement: Category actress for: Die Hallo-Sisters (1990)
- 2002 Bundesverdienstkreuz
- imdb awards Accessed August 6, 2008