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International Theatre Amsterdam

ITA leaves exactly the wrong things to the imagination in Age of Rage. #HF21

In Electra, one of the finest tragedies handed down to us by the ancient Greeks, there is at least one piece of text that made history. It is the account of a horse race. You see nothing, but the language puts your imagination to work. 25 centuries later, they tried to turn the images described into real images for the... 

'This new law means even more obstacles and restrictions for visiting culture.'

Honourable members of the House of Representatives, It is with great concern that we look at the Temporary Test Act that will be voted on in your House on Tuesday 11 May. This new law means even more hurdles and restrictions for visiting culture. Restrictions that will be introduced but where the end date is not given. This new testing law could be a godsend for... 

Museum directors: is their role as figureheads and media artists becoming more important than as art history experts?

Dutch museums, partly due to the recent digital Museum Week, have been able to retain a large part of their audience. There is - reports the Museum Association on its website - a slight turnover though. And the hitherto loyal public will not find their way to museums automatically and to the same extent. But the picture is that the... 

ITAlive reached 871,000 twitter followers via stream #romantragedies anyway. And special it was.

That Shakespeare is still relevant after four centuries doesn't even require putting him in modern clothes, but of course it helps. The worldwide success of Ivo van Hove and his 'Internationaal Theater Amsterdam' is therefore partly due to his Shakespeare adaptations 'Kings of War' and 'Roman Tragedies'. Marathons, hours of theatre with food in between. Valentine's Day 2021... 

Eddy Bellegueule live. Still impressive, but also makes you yearn for the real thing.

Yesterday, I finally saw 'Away with Eddy Bellegueule', the theatre hit of the previous broken and devastated theatre season, and saw that its creators had effortlessly bridged the gap between youth and grown-up theatre. The show is a nineties grunge concert with brilliant actors and intense visual direction by rising star Eline Arbo.

Chosen to enjoy magisterial Hans Kesting

The restless head in front of the torso, fists nervously searching for grip under the pale blue jumper. His life a relentless affliction of generations of oppression under factory labour, alcoholism and domestic violence. And deep love nonetheless, between this tormented father and son. Until almost the end of the monologue "Who killed my father?", the high bed remains untouched. Only then do they learn... 

Why the art world, subsidised and commercial, must stop campaigning NOW

A few months ago, I reported via this site that Eurovision Song Contest wanted an orchestra to perform, for less than no money. The post, including follow-ups, was read just under a hundred thousand times, so can be assumed somewhat familiar. Yesterday, I received a press release from a rather expensive public relations agency, which the culture world took action on... 


From 4 to 28 June 2020, Amsterdam will host the 73rd edition of the Holland Festival. Associate Artist this year is American choreographer, director, writer and dancer Bill T. Jones. His work will include the new show Deep Blue Sea, in which Jones himself dances and, assisted by a hundred mostly local... 

A great 2020 with the Holland Festival, vacancies and aus LICHT Opera of the Year

The Holland Festival wishes you a happy 2020! The full programme of the 73rd festival edition will be announced on 11 February. You can already order tickets for the five productions below. Also in this newsletter: vacancies for a head of operations/controller, an employee development and interns for the communication & marketing and production departments; and aus LICHT named Opera of the Year 2019.... 

Threatened theatre directors speaking: 'It literally hurts me when I hear that something like this is going to be abolished.'

'I didn't know you could also be digitised away in this sector, but so you can.' Susanne Visser and Annemiek Lely sounded the alarm on Saturday 7 December. Their jobs as ushers at theatre performances are in jeopardy. Companies would rather keep people engaged through podcasts, and such an usher only costs money. On Monday, December 9, we obtained... 

Open letter from theatre directors: 'Spectators want human contact'

"Over the past year, we, Annemiek Lely and Susanne Visser, heard various noises about boring introductions and useless fringe programmes that would add nothing. Such comments pass the revue in the artist foyer, at the bar or find their way onto social media. 'I want after-shows led by a local presentation talent instead of a drawling dramaturge,' wrote an already established director 

Shout out! The big fill-in for the new arts plan.

The Council for Culture has just proposed the new Basic Infrastructure (BIS), and it has become a very big, in traditional terms 'prosperous', baby. Since the Council is not allowed to name names, and can only list functions, we have already made a fill-in list here, in which we list (very briefly, because little time and not knowing about everything) which existing cultural... 

Without memory, our theatre continues to innovate mindlessly, it turns out at the @theatrefestival

Dutch theatre is remembering less and less. This was evident last Friday during two meetings at ITA, the building that once housed the Stadsschouwburg. During Nieuwe Grond, part of the Dutch Theatre Festival, the topic was heritage. One meeting will possibly be remembered by the six attendees: the two guests plus presenter, and their three audience members. The other... 

Amsterdam has the @HollandFestival. Ask yourself why that is. And whether that's ok.

Last week, while walking the dog, my neighbour Stefanie asked, "What is that anyway, this Holland Festival?", and I almost caught myself wearily going to explain that it was the most important performing arts festival the Netherlands and its environs and that everyone with a bit of education should know it. But I held back. And wondered: how... 

Peter Brook: everything in the universe can be extraordinary.

In the early 1990s, I am sitting in a small auditorium at The National Theatre in London. Before the performance starts, someone on stage asks if you want to greet the visitors next to you. This immediately creates a different, more intimate dynamic in the auditorium. On a tight stage with only a few props are four actors and an Arab musician. Yoshi Oida... 

ITA is a hopeless name for an art house. But there is no alternative for Amsterdam's city theatre

Toneelgroep Amsterdam and Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam will continue together as 'Internationa(a)l Theater Amsterdam' (ITA). Not to be confused with the just-removed Internationaal Danstheater Amsterdam. I find the name 'ITA' rather chilly. Maybe as cold as Toneelgroep, but at least that still contained the word 'group'. That has something cosy about it. ITA is something like ING. Great ambition and no roots. For a moment... 

Maria Kraakman: "You have Couperus before and after Bas Heijne"

In recent years, the artistic director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Ivo van Hove, made three performances of works by Couperus. In three short interviews, I look back at the last part, Little Souls. Despite the long meandering sentences and the romantic, sometimes very passive characters, this book (or actually it's four books)is a timeless masterpiece that, as far as I'm concerned, all... 

Jan Peter Gerrits: loyal louse on Couperus adaptation Toneelgroep Amsterdam

In the final part of 'books of little souls', the once disgraced Constance sits in the dark and draughty country house where her reluctant parents-in-law used to live. Constance married their only child, Baron Henri van der Welcke, against their wishes. Constance's and Henri's son Addy is the only thing that connects these two people. Love for each other is never... 

Art that is not about anything. Greek spectacle The Great Tamer was a delight on #HF17

During the first two weeks of this Holland Festival, almost all art was about something. The festival theme of 'democracy', conceived for the occasion, appears to have penetrated just about every hairline. Sometimes painful and highly topical, as in the National Theatre's phenomenal 'The Nation', sometimes downright embarrassing, as in Romeo's heavily overrated 'Democracy in America'... 

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... 

Tefer, Itamar Serussi, Balletto di Roma, photo: Matteo Carratoni

Julidans double bill with Levi and Serussi mostly raises questions

It is a new and important trend within the programming of international dance and performance festivals in the Netherlands: not only showing relevant work by international choreographers, but also paying explicit attention to dance makers connected to Dutch dance practice. Spring Utrecht opened in May with Nicole Beutler and closed with Jan Martens, while during Julidans Pere Faura was allowed to kick off with sin baile no hay paraíso (no dance, no paradise).

Though dated, Pina Bausch' Nelken still impresses #HF16

This way from row nine, it is like being knee-deep in carnations yourself. The heads of the audience in front of me merge silently into a forest of stems crowned with pink, through which dancers carefully step back and forth like leggy chickens.

The find is great: Nelken by Pina Bausch depicts paradise as a place where you have to be careful or things will go wrong. The carnations force the dancers to be careful. As a spectator, you go along with them, without all the underlying thoughts immediately coming through to you.

This is not a review of the Holland Festival opening (HF16)

So you can get too close to a work of art. I don't even know if it really applies to paintings, that toxic fumes can rise from them, as some claim, but it certainly applies to theatre art. During the opening of the Holland Festival 2016, I was sitting in the front row of the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg. Normally already not the best place for those who want to keep a bit of an overview of what is happening on stage. For the occasion of 'Die Stunde da wir nichts voneinander wussten', I was ...

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Turn on your livestream and get a pack of tissues ready

Next Friday is the day. Then, speakers in the fields of technology, economy and design will climb the stage in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam to talk about their 'ideas worth spreading'. This year's theme is 'the perfect trifecta', because if there is anything magical according to founder Jim Stolze, it is the interaction between audience, speakers and performers. Notable... 

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