Skip to content


Scenic photo Rishi. Photo: Joris Jan Bos

The sharpest theatre of 2017 comes from The Hague: Rishi of Firma Mes

If theatre can do anything, it is to put us outside reality. Not even to make you dream away, but to stop that reality for a moment and look at it in a different way. Call it the Ti-Ta-Wizard moment. To stop the action at the dramatic climax, to take the sting out of the wasp, or the fuse out of the powder keg.... 

Beatles tour bus (replica) Photo: Chris Samson CC.BY 2.0

You had one chance to sustainably improve arts subsidies

The decision will be official in mid-September, but behind the scenes it has already been made. The Netherlands will have a very small basic cultural infrastructure for the performing arts, and a very large fund that anyone who wants to make theatre, dance, mime or music must apply to. I asked around a bit recently, and so that's what it's going to be. That way, politicians can't... 

Thriller writer Jo Nesbø: 'Harry Hole is a very intense character'

He is a tormented, loner and contrarian fellow, but also one of the best detectives the Oslo police force has to offer. And: a much-loved character. Harry Hole is back, in Jo Nesbø's new thriller The Thirst. The Norwegian Jo Nesbø is a successful thriller writer and musician ©Niklas R. Lello Whether the interview can take place a few hours later,... 

(Un)heard Spring: 'Waking up again, Xenakis is nothing like it.'

Each month, in the (Un)heard series, I present extraordinary sounds that do not go unnoticed and unsung. In this episode: Plan Kruutntoone, Horse Lords, Luc Ferrari, Anemone Tube, Jaap Vink and Kraftwerk in 3D. Plan Kruutntoone - What Do the Hands (LP on esc.rec.) "woke up again. xenakis is nothing like it. shoving myself and stuff in search of safety. how... 

The Britten Youth String Orchestra is 10 years old. Conductor Loes Visser: 'I'm still learning every day'

Already during her studies, Loes Visser (1959) formed the Alpha Chamber Orchestra. In 1990, she initiated the Adamello Ensemble and, seventeen years later, she founded the Britten Youth String Orchestra, with which she is now celebrating its second anniversary. What drives her and what are her best experiences? Chamber orchestra "I founded the Alpha Chamber Orchestra because there was a need",... 

Finds inside (Misha Mengelberg 1935 - 2017)

There is sound; a notion of impotence; a programme without a head or tail; there is power, chatter, compassion; there is nothing but also a vista, blurred image full of action and opposition. Moreover, the language seems a bit overwrought here and there. Of course, incoherent drivel can be cosy, or moving. Under circumstances, meaningfulness may be possible, but it will not... 

Joris Smit in Tasso, photo Kurt van der Elst

Joris Smit on Tasso and Joan of Arc: no theatre that puts the audience to bed

The National Theatre plays Jeanne d'Arc by Friedrich Schiller and simultaneously retakes Johann Goethe's Tasso. Joris Smit plays in both plays, even the title role in Tasso. We talk to him about German romantics, Sallie Harmsen, the new-fangled National Theatre and the importance of going down on your face. Tasso and Jeanne, Goethe and Schiller. Is German romance... 

Spirit of Trump haunts press presentation National Opera & Ballet

'Before we start the actual presentation, let me give you some facts & figures,' says Els van der Plas, general director of the National Opera & Ballet. 'No, not the alternative facts,' she adds wittily. The ghost of the US president will be through the Stopera more often this afternoon. Van der Plas recalls the successes that... 

Conductor Alan Gilbert makes Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra shine

Alan Gilbert conducted the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for the fifth time on Wednesday 8 February. He is chief of the New York Philharmonic until the end of this season, exuberantly expressing his love for contemporary music. He proved to be the ideal conductor to premiere Joey Roukens' new work, aptly leading the musicians through the exhilarating... 

Huub van der Lubbe and Christine Otten on love in times of racial hatred

We Had Love, We Had Guns by Christine Otten is about black resistance fighter Robert F. Williams, who fought for black equality. In the theatre adaptation of the same name, white actors - including Huub van der Lubbe - play black characters and vice versa. Double talk about personal sacrifice, skin colour and connection. Idlewild It is a remarkable coincidence. America is taking... 

Garry Feingold and Ger Jager, Dance Makers, 2012. Photo: Jean-Pierre Jans.

Extremely rare landslide possible in contemporary dance in the Netherlands.

In contemporary dance, artistic leaders are often in place for decades, at least in the Netherlands. This week, Leo Spreksel announced his departure from Korzo, as of September 2017. After 29 years, the director and programmer of dance at the theatre and production house in The Hague is calling it a day, because "in the Netherlands, commercialisation pushes away the voice of artists: procedures and formats are... 

Quirky Veem sets example for dance sector

Het Veem is a small but important theatre and unofficial production house overlooking the Houthavens in Amsterdam. The house has long been home to internationally operating contemporary performing arts. A place where the artist and his or her experimental work are still central. Since Anne Breure became director in 2014, it bears the addition House of Performance. With... 

Marie Goeminne (Dansmakers) reconciles you with death in 'Have I been here before'

You instinctively flee from death, but in 'Have I been here before' choreographer Marie Goeminne actually brings death close. Not threatening, but close to your skin and hand in hand with life. She shows death and life in an intimate entanglement. Photo: Eva Gjaltema Three dancers merge, concentrated and vulnerable, into a flow,... 

The Harvest of the Month: Grandes, Hulst, Otten, Smith, Winterson, Noorduijn and Vanden Bosch, Van Mersbergen and Van Zomeren

The cost of crisis Small heroes is the title of the new novel by Almudena Grandes, one of Spain's greatest writers. And little heroes it is all about: the novel is actually a collection of interrelated stories about people like all of us, only these people all live in Madrid. Rich and poor, young... 

Concert Jarre was everything but unforgettable. And that's a compliment.

Jean-Michel Jarre was visiting the Netherlands. At the Heineken Music Hall, old and new fans could enjoy his hypnotic work. I went there to listen, but of course also to watch. Forty years ago, Jean-Michel Jarre, pioneer in synthesiser music, released Oxygène. Anno 2016, we are 12 million copies sold. On that huge scale, the Frenchman produces... 

Our actors are burnt out, audiences have lost their way. Save the theatre!

This play is going to cost me a lot of friends, but it needs to get out. After all, the theatre industry is doing badly. And I can see more and more clearly where that is due to. And for once it's not Halbe Zijlstra. Or the VVD, or the population, or the Netherlands in general, or the zeitgeist. And it's not because of Netflix either... 

NDT 1 in top form with season opener 'Stage One', but end disappoints

Nederlands Dans Theater 1 opens the season with Stage One. A triptych without resident choreographers Léon & Lightfoot, but with three mostly young, adventurous dance makers. Music is an important factor in all three ballets. The evening opens with Thin Skin, choreographer Marco Goecke's ode to punk icon Patti Smith. Culture Press reviewed the piece last year (€). The now flemish,... 

Bazart on Night of Poetry

Female poets dominate unprecedentedly captivating Night of Poetry #night16

'Have you really been listening to poems for three hours?' Asaf Avidan had not yet experienced anything like that. The musical headliner of the 34th Night of Poetry has yet another story to take with him on his tour. In the Netherlands, you can quiet a full hall by reading a poem. This year, that even succeeded ... 

Due to success re-runs: Conversations with my Mother

In 2013, production group Diamantfabriek and ensemble Nieuw Amsterdams Peil presented the full-length performance Conversations with my Mother. Director Matthias Mooij (1976-2014) and composer Benedict Weisser (1967) asked seven male authors to write a fictional telephone conversation with their mother. At the heart of the piece is the fundamental inequality of communication between mother and son. 'I advise all mothers and... 

Programmer to talk: Astrid in 't Veld's dream season

When you go to a concert, you think about the music, the ensemble, the soloist and/or the conductor. Maybe you look up something about the composer but you never think about the programmer who made the concert possible. Astrid in 't Veld is someone who thinks about the range of concerts on offer years in advance in order to help you with... 

André Manuel and Ben Duke: craftsmanship of the highest order on #tfboulevard

Being the best at your craft, and then not in one craft, but in three or so. That, too, is what makes an artist an artist. Ben Duke is a great artist. He is a gifted dancer, a phenomenal actor and a cum laude graduate in English literature. It is therefore logical that he wrote the greatest poem in British history, the... 

The Back Door, publicity image. Photo: Jan Dirk van der Burg

'Return Turkey': brave confession from a gutmensch on #tfboulevard

The world is changing quite a bit and it's nice when artists do something with it. Festival Boulevard gives Lizzy Timmers the opportunity to make an attempt. That attempt, performed in a somewhat run-down cultural centre in a real Bossche power district, is quite something. Backurk is the name of this semi-documentary performance. Timmers has immersed herself in young, well-educated, well-integrated Turks who have come to the Netherlands to... 

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... 

Zvizdal - Chernobyl so far so close, by Berlin/The Zuidelijk Toneel

If you have nothing but love - Zvizdal is stunning highlight of Festival Boulevard #tfboulevard

I experienced by far one of the most impressive theatre experiences of my life on Friday 5 August 2016. I was a guest at 'Zvizdal - Chernobyl so far, so close' by the Flemish company Berlin, in co-production with Het Zuidelijk Toneel. I saw this 'documentary installation' in an empty factory hall in Den Bosch, where the work is a beautiful resting point in... 

Poubelle, fragment of cover

Poubelle by Pieter Waterdrinker: MH17 and the stench of Europe

The Netherlands is commemorating the MH17 disaster this month. Two years on, the question of guilt is still not unequivocally answered. The protagonist of Pieter Waterdrinker's novel Poubelle has less trouble with that: who holds himself mostly responsible. A conversation with correspondent novelist Waterdrinker: on modern European history, the Russian mentality, Great Literature and the shit of contemporary Europe.

Private Membership (month)
5 / Maand
For natural persons and self-employed persons.
No annoying banners
A special newsletter
Own mastodon account
Access to our archives
Small Membership (month)
18 / Maand
For cultural institutions with a turnover/subsidy of less than €250,000 per year
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
All our podcasts
Your own Mastodon account
Access to archives
Posting press releases yourself
Extra attention in news coverage
Large Membership (month)
36 / Maand
For cultural institutions with a turnover/subsidy of more than €250,000 per year.
No annoying banners
A special newsletter
Your own Mastodon account
Access to archives
Share press releases with our audience
Extra attention in news coverage
Premium Newsletter (substack)
5 trial subscriptions
All our podcasts

Payments are made via iDeal, Paypal, Credit Card, Bancontact or Direct Debit. If you prefer to pay manually, based on an invoice in advance, we charge a 10€ administration fee

*Only for annual membership or after 12 monthly payments

en_GBEnglish (UK)