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'Saigon' director (@hollandfestival) seeks extreme emotions: 'I don't want any more distance between the story and the audience.'

'Never, never would I make a performance about my mother, or about myself. Jamais.' Caroline Guiela Nguyen, child of 'a marriage between a Vietnamese mother and a 'pied-noir' (Algerian colonial) is not into personal stories. The theatre-maker captured audiences' hearts at last year's Avignon Festival with the play Saigon. This moving, deeply human play... 

Merlijn Twaalfhoven on SPOT-Live: 'Outside the Randstad lies a huge source of inspiration'

'I have knocked on the door of the Congress of Performing Arts a few times in recent years on my own initiative, really from the idea that we can do a lot more as venues in the Netherlands. But yes, every time I was there, people got enthusiastic, but does it stick?' Composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven is happy that he now serves as 'curator' of SPOT Live, the new... 

A fertile repertoire landscape.

Performing arts policy greatly determines what can be seen and heard on Dutch stages. It underpins government funding of theatre and music. This policy pays a lot of attention to the quality of performances, but it hardly discusses the choice of pieces played, let alone what kind of repertoire landscape... 

'Totally twarrel in the post after a fine combo of pills.' offers fine info on drugs in the festival scene

On Tuesday 17 April, Gerard Alderliefste performed at TivoliVredenburg. This time, the interpreter of French chansons had left his guitar and piano at home. This evening he was there in his capacity as an addiction doctor. On behalf of the Landelijk Medisch Spreekuur Partydrugs, he talked about the long-term consequences of party drugs such as XTC, MDMA, GHB and Cannabis. He was there at the invitation of, a voluntary organisation... 

Millennial Poets at Poetry International (@poetry_en) - Social Justice with Self-mockery and Laughing at Rape... Is it possible?

Poets Danez Smith and Patricia Lockwood once broke the internet with their virtuoso wordplay. Smith with a frothy tirade about ineradicable racism and police brutality in America (Dear White America) and Lockwood with a heartbreaking/funny poem about her rape (Rape Joke). Both have outgrown their hypes. They have secretly been doing a fantastic job for years, using Twitter, YouTube, paper and stage... 

'Stadium' at @hollandfestival: Meet the hardcore supporter core of Racing Club de Lens. But then for real.

Fifty-three 'ultras' from a football club in an art theatre. That might be asking for trouble. Especially if they were the hard core of, say, Ajax, FC Den Haag or FC Utrecht. But this is France. There are no hooligans in France. The 'ultra's' of Racing Club de Lens, for example: they are bound to throw a punch somewhere, but in... 

Number of film festivals down 20 per cent last year. Amsterdam still leading with 47 film festivals.

Where can you indulge as a film lover in the Netherlands? With 54 festival editions in 2017, North Holland appears to be the province where you can enjoy film festivals most often. Amsterdam takes the crown with a whopping 47 film festival editions, according to a study by the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA). Lecturer Harry van Vliet of the Crossmedia lectureship of the HvA faculty,... 

Poetry Performance Workshop teaches poets what 'taking a rest' means: 'my next performances will be a lot longer now.'

'There would be a difference between paper poems and poems that only fit into a recitation. I don't think it's a good poem in either case then. A good poem you can read well, and also reread, but it also fits very well in a performance.' Poet Anne van Winkelhof has clear views on what makes poetry good poetry.... 

Stef Aerts directs 3D show JR at @hollandfestival: 'To go from 700 pages of real literature to a manageable stage text doesn't just happen.'

Listen to an atmospheric impression and the full interview with Stef Aerts here. Children have the ability to turn adults' worlds upside down. Eleven-year-old JR is really getting into it. On a school trip, he learns how the stock market works and then turns it to his will. In doing so, unhampered by a prefrontal cortex, that part of the brain... 

Money does make happy, and writers' block is an illusion. Many myths busted on Evening of Herding.

Rather listen than read? Listen to the podcast here! (With lots of extra quotes from Ab Dijksterhuis) Money makes horribly happy. And that doesn't stop at 1 tonne. Those who earn half a million are considerably happier than those who earn 2 tonnes. The ING boss who would get 60 per cent more salary would also have become very much happier as a result. This... 

Live art is much more exciting than video and motivated goalies dive right. Learn this at The Evening of Herd Behaviour in Utrecht

The separation between the Netherlands and Belgium was due to an opera at the Brussels Monnaie Theatre in 1830. During a certain song in the opera De Stomme van Portici, the flame flared and the opera-goers ran out of the hall like an angry mob to chase Den 'Ollander out of town. Such behaviour turns out to be more logical than you... 

Martine Dekker (Cinedans): 'The new generation does not respect the demarcation between the arts at all. That's very fun and interesting for a festival like Cinedans.'

Cinedans has been around since 2003. Back then, it was a single evening, part of Amsterdam's Julidans festival. Pretty soon, it grew into something bigger. According to Martine Dekker, involved with the festival since the 2011 edition, this was due to the overwhelming supply of dance films: 'From the second edition, filmmakers were invited to submit films,... 

'Nothing to Hide' in Nijmegen. A dragnet festival to objectively inform citizens

Apart from a lot of confusion, the advisory referendum law has also created a new category of festivals. The 'Ukraine referendum' spawned at least one festival (at Amsterdam's De Balie debating centre) and the dragnet referendum on 21 March 2018 prompted the 'Niks te Verbergen' dragnet festival in Nijmegen. Prominent member of the organising team is Viola van Alphen. With her foundation Violavirus... 

'The current museum loan system leads to decisions based on prejudice rather than fact.'

Museums often manage more art objects than they can display. What they cannot display in the museum galleries they keep safely in the depot. Collections with motley collections of objects from different periods are a growing problem for museums. Marketers stress the need for focus, a clear story and strong branding. Objects that no longer fit the new vision... 

Success as a choice is one of the most dangerous fallacies of our time. The social implications of this fallacy are immense.

Late last year, the organisers of an alumni evening for research master's students asked me to defend a thesis from my current position as a cultural leader. It had to be about my position as a literary scholar by telling them about my professional path since graduation. I could frame this article hopefully and hopeful and elaborate on the competences that the... 

Remko van der Drift devised the Failure Festival: 'We think success is mainly 'not failing'. That's not true at all. Failure, like success, is part of life.

The Faal Festival at Utrecht's festival palace TivoliVredenburg, taking place on 3 March, is unique in many ways. Never before have so many famous people been willing to come and talk about their failures. Apparently, there is a big audience for it, in these times when quick success is actually mandatory. In the run-up to the festival, I spoke to Remko van der... 

Sadettin Kırmızıyüz creates theatre series 'Metropolis'. 'If you think, this can't be true, assume: this is true.'

It all starts at Orange College, of course. A fictional school with very real problems. For Sadettin Kırmızıyüz, the place where he commissions the opening part of Metropolis, a series that should eventually count four episodes. It is one of Het Nationale Theater's biggest projects over the next four years, in close cooperation with Kırmızıyüz's own company:... 

Publicity image Gesualdo. Photo: Sofie Knijff

At the Holland Festival, Mackenzie is opening the doors to a new avant-garde among the audience.

The neat couple next to me, in the front row at the Holland Festival press conference, hadn't counted on it for a moment. Four members of the Nederlands Kamerkoor starting to undress one by one down to their pecker-sized nakie. A giggle, a small cough, but hey, this is the Holland Festival, they said to each other. So too... 

Our curiosity about sand has uncovered more stories than we ever imagined.

I want to travel with you. Taking you to the beach. Imagine sitting on the beach, as the sun's rays warm you, listening to the sound of the surf, with rising and falling waves. You sniff the salty scent. A bird flies by. The sun casts its rays on the clear blue water. A big wave slams down on the... 

'Black' is unique collection of 'Afropean' literature: 'African-Dutch authors are directly compared to black American writers.'

The book may be called 'Black', but the stories collected in it make it clear that there are as many shades of black, as white and everything in between. We, and by that I mean myself and my largely white network, just need to look more closely. And listen. Take Olave Nduwanje's story, titled Imana Ikurinde (God save you), in the middle of the book. The... 

Keith Haring, Untitled (velum), 1986. Installation 2017. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

I call on the cultural sector of the Netherlands: put 80% of your marketing budget into cultural education.

In my work, I entice people to come into contact with art. And especially art with a big K. The art that is often marketed as 'difficult' or, in an attempt to get rid of its negative image, as 'vulnerable'. Liberal politicians would perhaps say art that 'doesn't act normal'. It is the kind of... 

Winternachten 2018 ended up being a beautiful ode to anger. #wu18

She is 14, heavily veiled and bespectacled, with a voice that can be heard in the farthest corners of The Hague. She wants to be a surgeon but first she wins the preliminary round of the school competition for young poets at Winternachten. What anger there is in that person. What maturity sounds from her cry... 

Is Emmanuel Macron's long arm sowing discord at a Hague Literature Festival? Just barely. (But should we all speak French again someday?) #wu18

Leïla Slimani, the Moroccan-French author whose novel A Soft Hand won the prestigious Prix Goncourt, has cancelled at the eleventh hour for Winternachten. The reason was not Thursday's storm. THE reason was personal. But could also be due to something else. The chief guest of the International Literary Festival in The Hague, Alain Mabanckou,... 

Opening Night at Winternachten celebrates the power of perseverance, and supports writers in captivity. (Why sometimes a cardboard TV can help)

'Writing and reading, like sex, are a form of fusion. Literature is the practice of impurity'. Pakistani-American author Mohsin Hamid can formulate. In his Free the Word speech at the opening of Winternachten in The Hague, the man, who wrote an international bestseller with The Fall of a Fundamentalist, made a case for impurity. 'Purity,' he told the... 

Carmien Michels, European Poetry Slam champion: 'I hope I can give many people that extra push to go on their own journey of discovery'

The best performers are a few heads taller on stage than in real life. This also applies to Carmien Michels. I knew the writer, performer, slam poet and jack-of-all-trades in cultural life mostly from her legendary performances at the 2016 NK Poetry Slam and the Night of Poetry in September 2017. Radiance and presence, which... 

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