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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.

Created with DALL-E 3 at the prompt "Ravine year affecting the city of Utrecht"

Ravine year 2026: Utrecht shows what consequence austerity can have

We need to talk about the Ravine year for a moment. After all, in 2026, the government is cutting billions from the municipal fund. Until now, this has been quite abstract because, let's face it: do we have any idea what money in your city goes where and from whom it comes? Municipal spending is a black box. My city now has in a row... 

Utrecht arts education embroiled in fighting divorce (Part 2)

The Utrecht School of Music, also known as DUMS, has decided not to apply for a subsidy from the municipality. In a letter the school sent at the beginning of April to consultation partners in the Utrecht amateur arts field, the management states: "Our teachers indicated at its foundation that they did not want to be subsidised in order to guarantee independence from the municipality. However, Cultural Affairs gave... 

Forever - Campaign image

The NUT explores 'the future of death' in 2024 with theatre productions on endings and eternity

Utrecht, February 2024 - In 2024, NUT (Nieuw Utrechts Toneel) will produce a family production (6+), a location production with dinner in Utrecht and (for the first time!) a tour of major venues across the country. Every year, NUT explores the future of a particular theme. In 2023 this was the 'future of money' and in 2024 we dive into the... 

Created with DALL-E via the prompt: 'A brave female knight fighting against diversity advocates in the form of dragons.'

The Free Left fights against code diversity without sound arguments.

Free art is in danger. At least that is what the Free Left Foundation claims. The article goes around persistently on facebook: "Unfree art is not really art at all." Actress Femke Lakerveld breaks a lance for the free arts in this interview with journalist Joep van Ruiten. The occasion is a manifestation in Groningen, which will feature a number of speakers on whether... 

Photo opportunity at the end of Delft Fringe's first 'Makers Day' on 8-2-2024. Photo by author

How Delft Fringe Festival is reaching audiences open to experimentation: 'Away with theatrical codes'

'What makes your performance unique? Why should people come to see you, what will they take home from it?' At the Delft Fringe Festival's first 'Makersday', at the end of January, it's little about art, but a lot about speed dates, workshops in marketing, pitching and making flyers. The 30 or so makers present also get a lesson in handling theatre criticism from... 

still from the teaser for Stuntkont.

The best shit show in years comes from Rotterdam

It seems that at the inset performances of Maas Theatre&Dans' latest, 'Stuntkont', a few schools have already complained. Classes even walked out. Logical perhaps, at least for adult school teachers who can't take poop-and-pee jokes. Children from 6 to 106 can only laugh really hard at them. So poop-and-pee jokes turn out to be more amusing than I myself expected. At least when they are made... 

Floris Kortie on Podium Klassiek's new webpage

TV Sunday night is fun again for people who don't like farming and baking. 

The old domain of VPRO, established in decades of Meticulous and Desperate Simplism, Tegenlicht and Zomer- dan Wintergasten, languished for quite a while. Viewer terror fragmented the safely elitist offerings. BNNVARA searched for a tone and didn't find it. Cultural omnivores like yours truly could no longer turn on the TV to 2 with impunity and then, after an evening of content, turn it against... 

Jonas Staal (left) during his speech. Audience members from left to right: neske Beks, Charles Landvreugd and Karin Amatmoekrim. Photo: Wijbrand Schaap

Becoming a member of NSC? - Academy of Arts stage of desperate search for engagement

"The vote for Wilders may be a dissenting vote, but apparently explicit racism is not a dealbreaker for all those people. That's terrible for someone of colour." In the stately Trippenhuis, seat of the Academy of Arts, this high word from Karin Amatmoekrim sounded extra emphatic. She was responding from the stage to a late-arriving audience member, who felt that "we... 

Why the Culture Council's Design Thinking is going wrong

The 'Access to Culture' advice presented by the Council for Culture on Friday 25 January 2024 is causing quite a stir. The newsletter we wrote about it on Substack was eagerly received, even though it did not ask, let alone answer, all the questions raised by the advice. Since, at 230 pages, it has also become a rather voluminous document, it... 

Utrecht Arts Education embroiled in fighting divorce

It was a chilly Thursday evening before Christmas 2023 and a grim atmosphere hung in the wedding hall of the old Utrecht city hall. Where during the day countless Utrechters were saying yes to each other, two partners were now facing each other. They no longer looked at each other, each had gathered their own supporters. Angry words rang out from one, bewildered words from the other. Members... 

Edition: All Photography: Cees Elzenga/hetoog.nl CE20221018

Reisopera seeks new director. And an artistic colourist.

'Nina Hiddema and the supervisory board have concluded that this is a natural time for Nina to step down.' Nice sentence in the press release that appeared in the mailbox on 15 January. De Reisopera, the Enschede-based opera company that performs operas especially for everything outside Amsterdam and Maastricht, is bidding farewell to director Nina Hiddema after two years. Whether it... 

'Let's fill this town with artists', slogan on bookshop in Manchester. Photo by Wijbrand Schaap

New lesson from Manchester? 'Free the arts from colonisation by the middle class'

"There is a fear among the artistic middle class of oversimplification, as if working-class people are not smart enough for art. I find that really insulting. My great-grandfather would be offended." I found this combative quote in The Mill, an extremely successful local news site for the Greater Manchester Area, a kind of northern English Randstad with a few million inhabitants. It... 

Afterword in TR8 foyer. Flnr: Brecht de Backer, Samuel D. Hunter and Erik Whien. photo: Wijbrand Schaap

Samuel D. Hunter's Proof of God at Theatre Rotterdam: "Since I'm a father, I have to be hopeful, I can't be cynical anymore."

"In America, when you put two guys on stage, the audience expects them to beat each other up, or fuck each other. In this play, neither happens, but in the theatre it's almost always about two men fighting or fucking." Legendary words from Samuel D. Hunter. He wrote the play 'A Case for the Existence... 

The sacred must of Andrea Voets: "I really am the most difficult client of my own work"

"I never thought just playing music was enough." Andrea Voets (34) is a rising star in the arts, but cannot be pigeonholed. She has now found a form she calls musical journalism. And next year she will come out with For Real, a live concert-cum-talk show that will generate dozens of new podcasts, as many as... 

scene photo by Sanne Peper

Reinout Bussemaker is the dream JP in Aluin's 'This is ours'

You must be a white man of a certain age. Some of us are so fed up with being blamed for everything that they voted PVV or worse in the last elections out of sheer desperation. That is why it is good that playwright Erik Snel, himself a white man of a certain age, has written a play about the archetype of the Dutch... 

screenshot of committee meeting on 11 November 2013

Before we forget everything: this is how the new Chamber president thinks about culture

"In the short term, the threat comes from black-racial activists and their leftist slaves. A very small group of activists with an obsession with skin colour have opened the frontal attack on the symbols of Western culture. They claim to speak for all of black Holland. This must eventually end in reparations because of slavery and job quotas against whites, like in South Africa.... 

In Brabant, arts subsidies are already going under

In North Brabant, the annual provincial subsidy for professional art will go down by €629,000 a year from 2025. Whereas prestigious, and very vital, organisations such as Boulevard, Bosch parade and Matzer could count on an amount of 8.25 million until now, from the new culture plan period it will be only 7.6 million. The Brabant cultural institutions, united in The Art of... 

pr image The Christmas Dinner by Wilmink Theatre

In Enschede, I realised again how important own actors are for a city theatre

It is one of my worst guilty pleasures. Egg salad from the better-filled mayonnaise manufacturer from Twente, with a close second to their tuna salad. I can't get enough of those. And now let them have both of those on the table at Het Kerstdiner in Theater Kleine Willem in Enschede. Chic is different, but in the... 

cover I Say Sorry Anyway

'I say sorry' is now a book. Go read it, together. 

"Listening, not always understanding, but trying to go along with (the black) voices ensured that, in my opinion, there was a beautiful text at the heart of the performance Ik zeg toch sorry." If a short preface to a play has as much meaning as this quote by Raymi Sambo, the text itself must offer much more.... 

Roy Kemmers by Michelle Muus

Sociologist Roy Kemmers: 'It is not the cultural institutions that should be protected, but the values they stand for.'

"The unease of the voters who gave Wilders 37 seats is not solved by the position of power the PVV has now achieved." Roy Kemmers (43) is an associate professor at the sociology faculty of Erasmus University in Rotterdam. On Tuesday 28 November, he wrote an opinion piece in De Volkskrant, commenting on the rise of populism. He obtained his PhD... 

pr image Closed Eyes

With Closed Eyes, Alida Dors unleashes a revolution

I used the word 'revolutionary' when a camera crew from Theatre Rotterdam asked me what I thought of Closed Eyes. I don't know if my otherwise extraordinarily enthusiastic response will make it to the final edit, but a day later, that feeling is not gone. What Alida Dors, artistic director of Theatre Rotterdam, has shown is a revolution in the world of... 

DALL-E 2023-12-01 11.58.18 - A photorealistic image of an elephant rampaging through a china shop, with shelves of delicate porcelain items being knocked over and shattered. The e

The Arts and Culture discount can start as early as 13 December

On 6 December, the new House of Representatives will be sworn in. a week later, the deliberations on the budget tabled by the incumbent caretaker cabinet in September will begin. The then secretary of state for culture, Gunay Uslu, has since flown the coop and cannot be challenged on her budget. Someone else will now have to defend that budget. Those who wondered whether the peace... 

scene photo rhapsody © Kurt Van der Elst,

Josse de Pauw and Asko|Schönberg bring heaven a little closer

It was 2000 and Wim Kayzer, of the VPRO, brought a series of television evenings that went against everything commercial. It was called 'Of Beauty and Consolation' and featured evening-long interviews with people like Jane Goodall, J.M. Coetzee, Karel Appel and George Steiner. Intellectuals, artists, thinkers. On 23 November 2023, the day after 22/11, when the Netherlands held an open... 

Overview of additional costs per sector (Source Kunsten92)

Research: fair pay in arts sector will cost an extra 180 million by 2025

The research is there, and the figures are not uplifting. In the arts sector, underpaying especially freelancers and not honouring overtime is standing policy. If this is to be made up from now on, with the existing budget, small institutions and festivals in particular will fall over immediately. The study on this was presented yesterday to outgoing Culture Secretary Uslu. Principal Arts... 

graph sales figures children's book week 2019-2023 (source: KVB Boekwerk)

Children's Book Week figures drop, but KVB Boekwerk likes to tell it otherwise.

"Sales of children's books during Children's Book Week edition 2023 are higher than in 2019, 2020 and 2021. This applies to both sales through physical shops and e-commerce." KVB-Boekwerk, the research institute of Dutch Booksellers, has been publishing trend reports on the book market for a few years now. This year, for the first time, these include figures on sales of children's books,... 

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