Theater director and dramaturge (born 1951 in Colognne/Germany). He began his theater carrier immediately after high school in 1970 as an assistant and dramaturge at the Westfälisches Landestheater Castrop-Rauxel. His path led him via the Freie Volksbühne Berlin, the Städtische Bühnen Nürnberg, the Nationaltheater Mannheim, and the Städtische Bühnen Dortmund to his first position as the artistic director of the Württembergische Landesbühne Esslingen (from 1985 onward). In 1989, Schirmer became the artistic director of the Städtische Bühnen Freiburg. From 1993 to 2005, he led the Schauspiel Staatstheater Stuttgart as artistic director. Starting in the season 2005/2006, Schirmer was the artistic director of the German Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. He resigned in 2010 because of undelivered financial promises and substantial funding cuts from the city of Hamburg.
In autumn 2012, he was once again appointed as the artistic director of the Württembergische Landesbühne Esslingen. He started his old and new office on September 1 at the beginning of the 2014/2015 season.