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Henri Drost

Henri Drost (1970) studied Dutch and American Studies in Utrecht. Sold CDs and books for years, then became a communications consultant. Writes for among others GPD magazines, Metro, LOS!, De Roskam, 8weekly, Mania, hetiskoers and Cultureel Persbureau/De Dodo about everything, but if possible about music (theatre) and sports. Other specialisms: figures, the United States and healthcare. Listens to Waits and Webern, Wagner and Dylan and pretty much everything in between.

Toothless culture debate offers few new insights

On Thursday morning 12 November, the culture spokespersons of Christen Unie, VVD, D'66 and Groen Links entered into a debate on culture. However, the debate organised by LACK (Landelijk Kennisinstituut Cultuureducatie en Amateurkunst) Kunsten '92, the Fund for Culture Participation and the Boekman Foundation did not become scintillating for a moment.

A plea for watching and guessing @tfboulevard

This edition, Theatre Festival Boulevard invited the audience to reflect on the two sides of identity: its immutability but especially its malleability. All this under the heading what you see is what you guess. If there is a performance to which this applies, it has to be Goat Song. A fascinating fifty-minute wordless performance by... 

A tense conversation about anxiety and sex early Sunday morning: The String Quartet's Guide to Sex and Anxiety @HollandFestival

It feels like a variation on a scene from a farce. On stage: Birmingham REP's public relations officer, a journalist flown in from the Netherlands for the premiere and the director's assistant rushed in. Location: an upmarket hotel in the heart of Birmingham. Time: Sunday morning a little after ten o'clock. The subject: sex and the all-encompassing concept of anxiety. Go! The big absentee is director Calixto... 

D66 votes against culture. Power games make distance from voter unbridgeable

Perplexity all round. How could D66 possibly vote against a minimal repair of the draconian cultural cuts of both Rutte cabinets? After all, only ten million is involved. That while party leader Alexander Pechtold, as culture spokesman, has been hammering on for an extra 10 million in every meeting for the past year. But exactly that happened last night. During the campaign, D66 went much further: from... 

Has Romeo Castellucci become accessible with Democracy in America? #HF17

A prologue, two dialogues and a long interlude. All clearly connected. In a performance by Romeo Castellucci - it doesn't have to get any crazier. Italian theatre maker Castellucci prefers to make theatre that is not easily or even misunderstood. He does not shy away from shock effects. Visually overwhelming, but a clear line is often hardly recognisable. So that promises... 

New Year's Eve lottery winner overturns culture cuts

A usually reliable source reports that the winner of the New Year's Eve lottery wants to dedicate a significant part of her prize to culture. In this way, she wants to undo the cuts made by Rutte I. Six million will go directly to the Dutch Travel Opera. Another four million is earmarked for a new integral performance of Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen. Also scheduled is a revival of Tristan und Isolde... 

Seven shows you wish you had seen in 2016 (but don't give up hope)

In The Hague, they think it's a waste of money. Let them. Here are seven performances that were more than worth 'that sin'. Mona, Ariadne, Mariken, but also breathtaking circus theatre, a secret marriage, genre-transcending satire and the greatest set ever. Mona, NTJong (youth theatre/drama) 1. It is the biggest pitfall of the age indication in theatre performances. Put 6+ and you... 

Bold. @martinbosma_pvv provokes threat unknown Dutch. #ikwilook

Geert Wilders was quick off the mark, after the attack in Berlin, posting a photoshopped picture of Angela Merkel with blood on her hands. The message was all too clear. Even more opportunistic and shocking was the list posted half a day later by Martin Bosma, media and culture spokesman. Bosma's tweet included a list of names. Caption "These... 

These five shows you really want to see in December

I tell you here why you should go to see Parsifal, and not even just because of the object by Anish Kapoor that plays a part in it. And you could also go to theatre one day, by the way. With The Girls. Fel theatre by our very best theatre company (according to Americans). The National Opera, Parsifal (opera) Four years ago, I attended Pierre Audi's... 

National Opera & Ballet seeks (almost) free help for general director

The National Opera & Ballet is among the showpieces of Dutch cultural policy. And rightly so. Like the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Rijksmuseum, the opera and dance company is among the absolute world's best. That comes with a price tag. A hefty price tag. In the case of The National Opera: €24,420,000, in the case of The National Ballet: €6,950,000. Soon there will be a... 

PvdA: 2x hundred million added for culture and NPO. Or not?

It really is there, although it is unclear whether there will be an additional 100 million twice or whether public broadcasting and the entire cultural sector will have to make do with one additional 100 million. But at least it is clear: as in the rest of the draft election programme, the party mainly distances itself from the VVD and the four-year... 

VVD: Cultural sector must do more for the same money. And hand in piggy bank.

OK, it is still more than former tolerant partner PVV, which managed to cram the entire draft election programme onto a single A4 sheet. But in the half-page that the VVD, the country's largest party, spends on culture, it is actually worse. Here the Wilders and Zijlstra-inspired rancorous line against anything that even smells of Dutch culture is still abundantly clear.... 

Heenvliet: Ravestein ruins photographer: Steenbergh, C. (source:

24 million extra for culture? Will do. Matter of 'cash shift'.

There is no such thing as free money. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has shown that many times. Extra money turns out to be a cigar from its own pocket. The ministry has elevated cash shifting to an art. Of course, it sounds so nice, all that extra money for the cultural sector, but where does it actually come from? Simple: by abolishing tax breaks for private individuals with listed buildings.... 

Ariadne auf Naxos by the Nederlandse Reisopera is making history.

Many a director is at a loss when it comes to Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. This is not surprising. In the prologue, about three quarters of an hour long, the composer is told, via the 'Haushoffmeister' of Vienna's richest man, that he is supposed to perform his opera buffa simultaneously with the opera seria of the commedia dell'arte-like dance troupe of Zerbinetta.... 

Laurence Dale's Ariadne auf Naxos: an opera full of unusual couples

The main auditorium of Enschede's Wilminktheatre is empty, as is the orchestra pit. On the immense stage the set for the prologue of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. Theatre technicians discuss lighting and supertitling cues, everyone looks relaxed. Including director Laurence Dale. It is four o'clock Friday afternoon, two weeks before the premiere on 10 September. Earlier that Friday, the prologue - which... 

Five legendary shows you must see in September

September, the month of the Dutch Theatre Festival and the Fringe Festival full of old and new performances you must see. But a lot is also happening in the rest of the country at the start of the new theatre season. Five must-sees. Toneelgroep Maastricht, Eyes wide shut (theatre) 'The new Shakespeare' he has been called, I already called him 'devil's advocate'. Fact... 

24 million for culture added! Or 80 euros! Or 0.0015 euro!

In these election times, it is just how you put it and calculate it. That 24 million extra for culture, which Pechtold triumphantly mentioned with the addition that 'the journey through the desert is over after 2016', has, for the time being, as much value as Rutte's illustrious 1,000 euros: first see, then believe. And since Pechtold gave no further explanation,... 

NOS, Phoebe: Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' is not blind flag-waving.

That US athletes are also dominating these Olympics no surprise. And especially after the suspension of many Russian athletes due to the biggest doping scandal since the former GDR and ahead, Lance Armstrong, no more than logical. That those American athletes are also highlighted in the NOS daily talk show is therefore justified. Putting them on screen with the... 

Being different: Theatre Sonnevanck's house brand on #tfboulevard

The hero who does not know his own strength (Wildman); a mad scientist who goes too fast for everyone (Galileo); a dream empress who gives thanks for the fairy-tale wedding and steps out of her role (Sisi); guinea pigs who rebel against the popularity contest they are caught up in (Guinea pig!) and an ugly duckling who accepts the chaos, but doubts that the chaos... 

Griet Op de Beeck's MONA will blow you away at Festival Boulevard #TFBoulevard

No, these sentences are not in Griet Op de Beeck's theatre monologue Mona, but nicely sum up the bestseller Come Here That I Kiss You (28 printings in just under two years). Op de Beeck adapted the first part into one of Festival Boulevard's most impressive performances. We do see nine-year-old Mona's sentence as a backdrop, complete... 

Ed Spanjaard is the ideal new leader of the Orchestra of the East

After it was announced in January this year that Jan Willem de Vriend was leaving at the end of the 2016/2017 season, the Orchestra of the East announced that it was in no hurry to find a successor. One would start working with "renowned guest conductors". Just over six months later, a few months before the departure of interim director Bart van Meijl, a successor was still presented. That this successor, Ed Spanjaard, is given the title of 'permanent conductor' seems mainly a semantic issue.

Gardens Speak ©-Tania-El-Khoury-1-

Digging in the earth stays on the surface in Gardens Speak #HF16

There I am. Next to Holland Festival director Ruth Mackenzie, on a grave, as part of the installation Gardens Speak on the stage of the main hall of Theatre Bellevue in Amsterdam. There is nothing to see, little to hear. Tone lights suggest a rising sun after a few minutes. I get up together with the ten other visitors. Quite a shame, because I was actually quite comfortable lying there.

The programme booklet sounded promising:

Education, education, education. But with an ideological basis.

No, the culture debate on 8 June in the province of Overijssel was not uplifting. The Cultuurnota 2017-2020 was adopted unanimously, except for two votes from the SGP. No fireworks about, for instance, the forced cooperation between the Orkest van het Oosten and Het Gelders Orkest. No hefty investments to fix national and provincial cuts. All spokespersons came up with predictable monologues, comparisons were made with other regions and, above all, they looked enviously at the Randstad, but there was no debate. The Christian parties are worried about empty churches, and the PVV, which is of course actually against subsidies, made some obligatory remarks about safeguarding the Overijsselian identity.

Which identity?

Art in the pincers. Why theatres do have to come up with jubilant figures.

A week ago, the theatres affiliated to the VSCD presented beautiful figures. Although the number of performances fell, average attendance had risen again. Many in the industry frowned, and after some arithmetic, Wijbrand Schaap, after initially good news to the conclusion that it was entirely not is going so well with the performing arts. And again, that message can be criticised; the VSCD does not include all theatres, some have merged etc. Another day later, Jeffrey Meulman explained in his blog the finger on the sore spot:

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