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theatre group Amsterdam revives thanks to De Warme Winkel (so not an April fool after all)

Update April 2022: Turns out it's not an April fool's joke, so all the beats we initially took proved unnecessary.

Since 2018, Toneelgroep Amsterdam no longer exists, as does the Capital City Theatre. Together, they have since formed 'Internationaal Theater Amsterdam', as that better suits the global ambitions of Ivo van Hove's Amsterdam city theatre. So it was to be expected that someone would hijack the old name. That honour now belongs to the Amsterdam-based company De Warme Winkel. In a press release, the club announces it will go through life as 'theatre group Amsterdam' from as soon as possible.

An April fool's joke, of course, with possibly a serious edge. That is well entrusted to the makers who previously presented themselves in deadly earnest as a city company of Utrecht, only to barely show up in that city after winning the subsidy race from groups like 't Barre Land. To immediately outwit claims of name protection by the old Toneelgroep Amsterdam, De Warme Winkel presents the new name without a capital letter, making it a generic word again, and not a name.

Good joke too, and possibly causing some fuss again.

Read the entire press release here:

Amsterdam, 14 March 2022
EMBARGOED UNTIL 14 MARCH 14:00De Warme Winkel becomes theatre group Amsterdam
The Warm Shop has been as extreme as it is accessible for 20 years. They are regularly called the country's quirkiest theatre group and mhe Amsterdam as their home base, their multifaceted work goes into Holland and Europe. So it should come as no surprise that after all these years they wondered why not every Amsterdammer knows them. Now a historical name became vacant that better reflects their identity, ambitions and the anarchy of the city. Therefore, from now on, De Warme Winkel is called 'theatre group Amsterdam'.

Despite De Warme Winkel's good reputation in modest circles, since its inception it has been looking for a name that better communicates what it stands for. Connoisseurs associate the name with artistic adventure, but outside it creates a very different impression. Twenty years they brooded on an alternative. The new name had to convey what they are good at, appeal to a wide audience and be an umbrella for the multiplicity of their work and the company's diverse artistic voices. An all-encompassing name that tells at a glance who they are and that fits seamlessly with their reputation for appropriation and art-historical awareness, boldness and experimentation.

There was, of course, a theatre group that called itself that before. But in 2018, the then Toneelgroep Amsterdam said goodbye to its name and continued as Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA) after a merger with the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam.

ITA has outgrown Toneelgroep Amsterdam's coat, but throwing it away is a waste. So The Warm Shop picks up the coat ITA left lying around with love and reverence and puts it on.

toneelgroep Amsterdam (with a small t) is a name with a rich history, and toneelgroep Amsterdam (formerly De Warme Winkel) is a company that likes to be accountable to history. The initially uninspired fusion name from Toneelgroep Centrum and Publiekstheater soon gained significance through Gerardjan Rijnders, Sam Bogaerts and Jan Ritsema as pole stars of progressive theatre. Ivo van Hove allowed the company to spread its wings in every possible way and saw its audience multiply. The new drama group Amsterdam aims to flourish in both traditions. It was always as extreme as it was accessible, except for 'that crazy name' De Warme Winkel.

Given the company's reputation, this could be interpreted as a joke. It isn't. Audiences will have to get used to it -even though the name has been dormant for four years- and might be surprised once by a misplaced visit, which is why a reference to the old name will be added in all expressions until further notice. Other than that, they are hopeful that it will quickly become established: next season, no one will be talking about it.

It is a gift to the city. That bold, loving city that has always been tolerant of anarchy. The city that breathes history and the city where borders can be pushed par excellence. Doesn't Amsterdam stand for bravado, leading the way, mercy, heroism and determination? Surely such a city deserves a 'drama group Amsterdam'.

About theatre group Amsterdam (formerly De Warme Winkel)
The artistic core of theatre group Amsterdam (formerly De Warme Winkel) is formed by Vincent Rietveld, Ward Weemhoff and Florian Myjer, but around them circle a lot of relatives who are also part of the group's DNA.
Playing both large and small venues, they create a national and international furore with witty, cheeky and intelligent performances that bear witness to a great love of literature and history and seek interpretation in their own confusing and multifarious times. For instance, they plagiarised integrally Café Müller By Pina Bausch in The Warm Shop plays The Warm Shop, did away with repertory theatre during a performance by Ivo van Hove in Backside, they marked a turning point for the climate in Vincent Rietveld goes for the Louis d'Or, put the (sexual) identity debate on edge in Lady Chatterley's Lover and pulverised audience records at the Amsterdam Bostheater with The Three Musketeers.
In the middle of the first lockdown, they built the Peepshow Palace in Amsterdam, a coronaproof theatre where audiences could enjoy more than 120 performances and concerts in a disinfected private booth by artists who no longer had venues to play because of corona.In May, theatre group Amsterdam (formerly De Warme Winkel), together with theatre collective BOG. will open the first Amsterdam theatre incubator behind Sloterdijk station: De Sloot. A workshop for theatre makers, a full-fledged flat-floor theatre hall and a smaller auditorium, rehearsal rooms, work studios and a large café/restaurant.This theatre season, four more productions by theatre group Amsterdam (formerly De Warme Winkel) are on stage:
Premeditated: the concluding part of a philosophical satirical triptych on overpopulation
Mann Mann: A family epic about the descendants of Thomas Mann
Casting at the Holland Festival: based on TV and film casting invitations from the three core members
A heartfelt ode to irony: a high-profile show in which they share the stage with reality TV stars from the likes of Temptation Island and Ex on the Beach.
-- end of press release -

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Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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