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Dying drummer says it all in Tiago Rodrigues' Dans la Mesure de l'Impossible at the Holland Festival

Live music in the theatre, I long for it more and more. Performances in which actors are accompanied by a soundtrack, amplified with or without transmitter microphones, always only half captivate. You soon find yourself watching a kind of live performed film. But without the comfort of a cinema and the technical capabilities of the camera.... Sunday 9 June sat in... 

Music with balls for Beatrix at Holland Festival

Jazz-Rock, it still exists. In all those years of sitting in the theatre, reading books or listening to David Bowie or Rufus Wainwright, I had kind of forgotten about it. Music by real men, Heavy Metal for people who have studied for it, Gothic but with several conservatory degrees under their belt. Subtle chopping where the drummer's left hand is a 17/23rd... 

With Despois do Silencio, Christiane Jatahy commands deep respect at the Holland Festival

That's where Christiane Jatahy had me for a moment. When during her directed and devised story 'Despois do Silencio', one of the actresses falls into a Winti-like delirium, and her colleagues try to keep her from colliding unceremoniously with spectators in the front row, I briefly think it is real. That's how used to reality we are by now... 

Opening party Holland Festival drowns in Westergasfabriek

It was busy at Amsterdam's Westergas area, this Thursday, 6 June. Fantastic, of course, that not only do you have a couple of excellent running restaurants and clubs there, and the evening four-day march passes by while there is a big salsa party at the club near the world-famous Gashouder, but then it still feels a bit weird that the royal opening of the... 

Georgina Verbaan is let down hundreds of times by a different man each time during the final weekend of this Holland Festival. Photo Janiek Dam

The best chance of total bewilderment. Why you want to experience completely unknown performances at the Holland Festival.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the Holland Festival had a reputation for being elitist. The festival, which was founded in 1947 to get the culturally starved Netherlands back on track after World War II, had a bit of that about it because, for a long time, "being elitist" was also completely... 

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... 

Created with DALL-E 3 at the prompt: "An artist being watched by supervisors in black and white, without coloured-in figures, as in a pen drawing"

Ten tips to avoid a Governance disaster

According to the site, "more than a thousand times a year within associations and foundations something goes wrong, with major consequences. Think of financial mess, inattention of supervisors or entanglement of interests'. In the cultural sector, we are familiar with the Governance Code for Culture, which hopes to prevent 'things going wrong' with a series of recommendations. If an 'issue' hits the media... 

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... 

Rape under the carpet

What happens behind the scenes at organisations when they face allegations of (serious) cross-border behaviour? Trainee Emilia accuses a theatre technician at a well-known theatre company of rape. This piece is based on her story and her own research, anonymised for privacy reasons. June 2022, beer, vodka, joints and a share scooter It's party time in a city park; students... 

Sandor Somkuti: Budapest 1985. CCBY2.0Sandor Somkuti: Budapest 1985. CCBY2.0


In the series In Perspective, Erik Akkermans looks back and ahead at developments in cultural policy and practice. Today: the 1985 Budapest Cultural Forum and a renewed cold war. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Only a short time before, intense discussions between Warsaw Pact and NATO countries on security, disarmament and free cultural... 

In Perspective #19: The Branch and the Blossom

In the series In Perspective, Erik Akkermans looks back and ahead at developments in cultural policy and practice. Today: cultural education in primary education. Ambitions of a new cabinet Spring 2003. The sun began to shine a little more and branches began to blossom. Here presented the metaphor that could serve as a title for the report that... 

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... 

cover Friesland My Love by Oeds Westerhof.

One region, one love: Oeds Westerhof's political declaration of love

In Zutphen, I attended Jeroen den Herder's congenial small-scale cello festival. There, two young Portuguese students gave a lecture/recital on their research project on the music of the fado singer and composer José Zeca Afonso, an important voice in the 1974 Portuguese Revolution. At home, I looked up that music. It turned out to be the perfect background when reading "Friesland, my... 

Where does the Dutch cultural sector stand on 22 November? A first inventory

The Netherlands is a country of culture. Not an art country. Because the word 'art' appears in almost none of the election manifestos we have to choose from on 22 November. Only the VVD talks about 'art in depots'. It does talk about culture all the time. About whether we shouldn't once again start making a rock-hard distinction between art and culture,... 

Amersfoort Court

IN PERSPECTIVE 17: BEFORE Amersfoort was by the sea (Is it better for a municipality to stop embarking on large-scale new construction or renovation projects of art institutions?).

Still Amersfoort by the Sea is not a reality. Sea level rise is taking a bit longer to materialise. In the meantime, then, the city is still just centrally located in the country, with the largest national hub for train traffic, an average population profile, a historic city centre, a unique training programme for carillonneurs, as well as the 'music factory' in the Veerensmederij and the art gallery KAdE...., which scores well in reviews. 

Ivo van Hove in 2020. Photo by Jan Versweyveld


Even though they are not yet members at ITA, let me pass on this press release. Because of its (inter)national importance. Coming: Ivo van Hove (1958) will end his role as artistic director of ITA on 1 September 2023. This means that he will then hand over his position as statutory director and artistic director. The Supervisory Board (BoS) intends to appoint Eline... 

Culture Press podcast, the Holland Festival edition: the most feminine festival ever?

The first half of the Holland Festival is pretty much over, so time for Team Culture Press to take a look at what that first half has brought us. A lot, according to Helen Westerik and Wijbrand Schaap, and also many real highlights. 'Perhaps the best edition in years.' Among other things, we discuss the intimate installation 'Evolution of Fearlessness', look back... 

scene photo by Camilla Adams

'Drive Your Plough...' - Masterful narrative theatre by Simon McBurney is a lesson for every viewer #HF23

A word says more than a thousand images. This may seem strange in a world that thrives on visual culture, but it is a truism. If you have yet to see cows of all shapes and sizes, let the Holland Festival convince you. Yesterday, I saw the opening performance 'Drive Your Plough Over The Bones Of The Dead' and... 

Scene image Bacchae by Alex Kat

The Bacchae at the Holland Festival: Nietzsche, rock-hard beats and beautiful operatic voices in a wild plea for queerness.

'Simplicity is the problem of our time. Simplicity is labelling. It should be about fluidity and confusion.' Greek opera-maker Elli Papakonstantinou, whose star has risen rapidly in recent years, is performing a contemporary version of Euripides' classic tragedy 'Bacchantes' at this year's Holland Festival. In that 405 BC play, wine god Dionysus (also known... 

orchestra playing in a dutch modern neighbourhood, plain clothes, civil servants looking on

IN PERSPECTIVE 16: The Giro d 'Italia and how the Promenade Orchestra lost.

In the series In Perspective, Erik Akkermans looks back and ahead at developments in cultural policy and practice. Today: walk of the orchestras. In the Hall of Mirrors January 1980, the Hall of Mirrors in the Concertgebouw. Culture minister Til Gardeniers accepts the report "Possession in service" 1 presented by the Federation of Artists' Associations. I found it exciting because the report, commissioned by... 

Photo: Marc Haegeman

Tchaikovsky rules over Swan Lake at the National Ballet

You can see it right from the first portrait prominently displayed on the front screen during the prologue. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky looks towards the audience like a czar of ballet music, exactly as choreographer Rudi van Dantzig and master designer Toer van Schayk intended. Here is a man who struggled with his identity, his desires and the obligations that his... 

Benefit Ukraine: Light and Darkness

No easy task in dance performance Benefit Ukraine: Light in Darkness

Dancers are extraordinary creatures. Take Vlad Detiuchenko and Veronika Rakitina. Fled from Kyiv to The Hague last year, they are now both dancing in the performance of former prima ballerina of the Dutch National Ballet Igone de Jongh. They travel with it from Den Helder to Eindhoven, single-handedly organising the performance on 21 March Benefit Ukraine: Light in Darkness. I looked for the... 

Created with Midjourney AI at the prompt: a bass guitar player working as a teacher in a classroom

In Perspective #15: With bass guitar in cabinet or classroom

Cees van Leeuwen was a bass guitarist in the pop formation Kayak. Not for very long; soon he chose to study again: cultural anthropology and law. He specialised in labour and entertainment law and started working as a lawyer. In later years, he was the legal counsel of singer Anouk, among others. Cees van Leeuwen was also state secretary for culture for a year (on behalf of... 

Unesco logo

UNESCO: Killings of journalists increased by 50% by 2022, half targeted outside working hours

Eighty-six journalists and media workers were murdered worldwide in 2022 - one every four days, according to UNESCO data, highlighting the serious risks and vulnerabilities journalists continue to face in the course of their work. "After several years of consecutive decreases, the sharp rise in the number of journalists killed in 2022 is alarming. Authorities must step up their efforts... 

Amsterdam Museum - photo by Gert-Jan van Rooij

Amsterdam Museum books successful year 2022

The Amsterdam Museum - despite the impact of the corona pandemic and the move to a new temporary main location - had a successful year in 2022. The museum's exhibitions and public programmes attracted many visitors at various locations. The museum's pop-up exhibition at the National Monument on Dam Square was visited from mid-June to... 

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