Emet Prize Laureates

Mr. Oded Kotler

2017 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Culture and Art
In Field: Acting and Directing in the Theater

Mr. Oded Kotler

Jury Statement

“The Emet Prize is awarded to Oded Kotler for his acting and directing talents, for his pivotal impact on the cultural scene in Israel and advancement of all forms of theatre arts, including fringe theatre.”


Oded Kotler was born in 1937, and began his career in Israeli theatre in his teens. In 1953, he founded and ran the Kla'im Youth Theatre, where he directed plays with social themes, including Uncle Tom's Cabin. He served in the IDF as Commander of the Central Command Troupe. In 1959, he studied under Hy Kalus and Peter Frye, while starting his career at the Cameri Theatre, acting in Twelfth Night. He continued to study theatre in New York and in 1965 he established the Actors' Stage theatre group, where he served as artistic director, stage director and actor. In 1970 he joined the Haifa Theatre, where he was artistic director and then general manager. In 1977, he established the drama department at Israel TV, later initiating the Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre, where he was general and artistic director. In 1980 he founded the Neve Zedek Theatre Center, which he directed for five years. In 1985 he was invited to direct the Israel Festival in Jerusalem, and five years later returned to direct the Haifa Theatre. He founded the Jerusalem Performing Arts Lab, an experimental venue aimed at encouraging theatre artists to work in Jerusalem. He also served for several years as artistic director and acting general director of the Herzliya Theatre Ensemble.

Over the years he directed scores of classical, modern and original plays, as well as films and TV productions. He also acted in a variety of roles in theatre, film and TV. His autobiography, Many Days A Few Minutes, was published in 2016.

His work has earned him numerous prizes. In 1967 he won the Golden Palm for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in Three Days and A Child. He received the Kinor David Award five times for acting and directing. He was also awarded a prize from the Council for Culture and the Arts for his direction of The Story of Uriah; the award of Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France; the Knesset Speaker's Prize for establishing the Neve Zedek Theatre Center; the Rosenblum Prize for the Performing Arts; the Meir Margalit Prize for his life work and contribution to theatre; and the Israel Theatre Prize. The Israel Artists Association recently announced it will be awarding him their prize for life achievement.