What sets us apart?


How did actori come into being, what personal motivations and stories have contributed to it, what does it mean to be part of the actori family and what is the actori Spirit all about? We asked these and many other questions to the two managing directors Prof. Maurice Lausberg and Frank Schellenberg in a personal interview.

Dear Maurice, in 2005 you founded the strategy consultancy actori GmbH. Today we are the market leader in the fields of culture, education and entertainment in German-speaking countries. How come a physicist founded a strategy consultancy with a focus on the cultural and creative industries?
MAURICE: Art and music have always been very present in my life. I grew up in an artistic household, with classical music and painting. Then, at 15, I played guitar in a punk band to the delight of my parents. My professional life path resulted from a series of fortunate circumstances. As a physicist, I worked with mathematical models and complex systems in particle physics. When research at the Max Planck Institute became too lonely a business for me, I ended up in strategy consulting at Roland Berger. Because of my passion for opera, I was given the chance to lead a project for the Bavarian State Opera. Sir Peter Jonas poached me and so I became production manager there and later built up the sponsoring area. A former consultant colleague of mine, Stefan Mohr, and I then came up with the idea of founding a strategy consultancy for culture and sports, and so actori was born in 2005. Both subject areas grew well in the early days. We realised exciting projects: I still remember well when we tried to establish an investment fund for transfer rights in football or how we built up the largest European running event organiser with B2run. However, the sports consultancy was sold to a larger competitor. In terms of culture, we are now the largest strategy consultancy in the DACH region.

In 2012 you, Frank, became managing director at actori and have since successfully developed the business. We are growing continuously. How did you come to actori and why did you stay?
FRANK: Actually, I came to actori rather by chance. After working in concert and festival management, I came across an internship ad from actori. The combination of culture and sports appealed to me directly - I wanted to try something new. Both sports and culture have accompanied me throughout my life in various forms and manifestations: Whether as a historian or in my activities as a rowing coach, DJ or later as a festival manager. I am fascinated by the energy and dynamics that arise through art and culture. The diverse forms of expression of art and culture trigger emotions, reactions and thoughts in people, which is motivating and also "unique" in this form. In culture, these very aspects play a central role, far from financial issues.


"The actori spirit describes our entrepreneurial spirit and also the way we treat each other."

Prof. Maurice Lausberg, Founder and Managing Partner


Internally, we often speak of the "actori spirit" as our glue. What does that mean to you, Maurice?
M: The "actori spirit" describes our entrepreneurial spirit and also the way we deal with each other. All actori team members want to work on interesting and challenging topics with smart and likeable colleagues. Our ambition is to have a positive impact on the cultural landscape. This results in a strong team spirit and a distinct will to create. The latter is also evident in the successful spin-offs by former employees (Future Demand, TimeRide), who are realising their entrepreneurial dreams with our support. There are so many opportunities out there, you just have to seize them. We don't shy away from risks and are not easily discouraged. At actori, everyone has the chance to develop new consulting areas or to become a founder with a clever business idea.  I am an entrepreneur by conviction: Thinking ahead, making decisions and taking responsibility - Frank and I take great pleasure in this. For example, when I started in sponsoring at the Bavarian State Opera, there was nothing there to build on. We developed a concept, picked up the phone and started calling companies. It worked. The Bavarian State Opera became the benchmark for successful sponsorship in Germany. Entrepreneurship is about starting, trying, and if it doesn't work, looking for alternatives - that's an important part of actori's DNA. We are not a normal consultancy like others in the industry. In the cultural industry, only those who are really enthusiastic about culture and who offer solutions that find acceptance among the often multi-layered interest groups will gain a foothold. Furthermore, it requires sensitivity and the necessary understanding of how cultural policy decision-making processes take place.

"People can complement each other wonderfully with the different view on a topic, it makes the result better. We have defined these basic beliefs supplemented by a healthy error and feedback culture in our mission statement.”

Frank Schellenberg, Managing Director


We just heard a passionate plea for entrepreneurship (at actori) from Maurice, Frank, how would you describe the corporate culture, or rather what do we cultivate besides the actori spirit?
F: Even though many very different people work at actori, there are aspects that create a connection: For all of us it is important to work in a company where we feel comfortable; only then is it possible to perform well. We want to work in an industry that is essential for living and working together in our society. With our work and our projects, we are helping to ensure that this will continue to be the case in the future. We achieve good results for our clients through teamwork, and for that you simply have to want to work with people. A part of wellbeing is also talking about things apart of work here and there, was well as cultivating a healthy event culture. I think there are at least 10 team events spread over the year, from hiking to visits to exciting scientific and cultural institutions, to celebrations. What is important to us is the willingness to deal with different topics or to show a general willingness to perform. Employees should take responsibility for topics on their own, because when you feel responsible, you do things well and better. Incidentally, this creates focus and concentration on the result. Of course, methodological and content-related competencies also play a role in actori's overall performance. People bring diverse competences with them and approach tasks differently. This results in a special quality in consulting: people can complement each other wonderfully with their different views on a topic, it makes the result better. We have defined these basic convictions, supplemented by a healthy error and feedback culture, in our mission statement. And we continuously put this to the test in the team - leadership is not only to be shaped unilaterally, the working space is shaped by the team.

The topics of vision and added value play an important role for you as an entrepreneur, but also for the employees, what would you say, Maurice, is the essence of the actori approach?
M: Our mission is to help our clients to better position themselves in changing environments with new challenges and conditions. In many of our projects, we create a basis for cultural policy decisions that is rooted on facts and well-founded analyses and objectifies political discussions. We initiate change processes and in some cases continue to support the change process beyond the development of the concept. We advise state governments, municipalities, cultural enterprises and companies in the cultural and creative industries, thereby taking an active part in the development of the cultural landscape. Our topics range from strategy processes for federal states and municipalities, feasibility studies, preparations for architectural competitions to future concepts for theatres, museums or festivals. Our way of working is fact-based and analytical, we get to the core of issues, screen them and offer well thought-out solutions. The intrinsic enthusiasm for culture, closely linked to the fact that we deal responsibly with figures, forecasts and specific cultural contexts, is what I believe appeals to our clients.

What challenges will actori face in the coming years and how do we meet these challenges, dear Frank?
F: We are in a process of social transformation: climate change, new work, different lifestyles, artificial intelligence are just a few examples that have an influence on our interaction and our work. In concrete terms, the needs of our customers as well as the framework conditions of our work (together) within the company are changing continuously and ever faster. As a company, we must learn to help shape this transformation and to develop ourselves in the process. This doesn't mean chasing after everything, but taking into account relevant developments, integrating new people and approaches and at the same time maintaining the actori DNA as best as possible. This is challenging, because it requires the willingness to change and to critically question ourselves again and again. At the same time, we are growing, which is a task in itself. But it is precisely this challenge that makes it so exciting and interesting. But in all this, we should not forget one thing: It is a privilege to be able to deal with such special issues in the context of art and culture.


"As a company, we have to learn to help shape this transformation and evolve ourselves in the process."

Frank Schellenberg, Managing Director


Teamwork creates new perspectives, we have already heard that before, now we are of course interested in whether that is also true for the two of you. How would you both say your collaboration plays a role in actori's success story?
M: Frank is a stroke of luck for me as a fellow director. We complement each other in our skills and that is very important. Each of us knows what he can do well and what the other can do better. With his razor-sharp mind, Frank is dives into the issues and knows every number. His enthusiasm for our projects and the unconditional will to find the best solution - that is Frank. And he has endless energy to push things forward and not let go. We both think and act in a very entrepreneurial and goal-oriented way. For both of us, the only thing that counts is the result, and we are usually quick to agree on how to get there.

F:The crucial thing is the backing and support Maurice gives. I have felt this since my early days in different functions and times in this company. A lot comes out of this support: everyone has the chance to help shape actori, which has also influenced my development - Maurice lives this credo. He manages like no other to emotionally and sensitively take people along and inspire them for an undertaking. In short: He convinces!