The Théâtre Benno Besson
in Yverdon, named in his honour
Benno Besson (born René-Benjamin Besson; 4 November 1922 in Yverdon-les-Bains; died 16 February 2006 in Berlin, Germany) was a Swiss actor and director. He had great success as director at Volksbühne Berlin, Deutsches Theater and Berliner Ensemble in East-Berlin, where he went by an invitation of Bertolt Brecht in 1949. Some of his acquainted stagings were "The Dragon" by Evgeny Schwartz, so that he travelled with Deutsches Theater all-around Europe and Asia (also in Japan), and "Der Frieden" (Aristophanes edited by Peter Hacks). He became the Intendant at Volksbühne in the 1960s and worked often with Heiner Müller. In his plays, he worked amongst others with the popular actors Fred Düren, Eberhard Esche and Ursula Karusseit.
He was the father of six children, one of them is the popular German actress Katharina Thalbach.