Theater Rotterdam is the city theatre of Rotterdam. We present every year around 500 productions of theatre, music, opera, youth theatre, festivals and dance. We invite a diverse and urban audience to our own three venues, offer our hall as a commons, and present artistic productions on site, throughout the city.
In 2017 a merger of four theatre organizations in Rotterdam resulted in Theater Rotterdam. A city theatre, first of its kind in the Netherlands.
Theater Rotterdam allows to be more than a station where companies pass from time to time. In addition to unconventional programming where quality is paramount, we also create new work ourselves. Young talent has a special role to play in this. With our own Productiehuis we support emerging artists in building their career, allowing them to develop skills and feed their artistic work with engagement and activism. In addition to these emerging artists, 13 artists and collectives were in diverse ways connected to Theater Rotterdam. For the coming four years a new artistic perspective will be built, on the foundations that were created in the recent years.
The themes of diversity and generosity are at the heart of our working. Theater Rotterdam celebrates the difference, the diversity and the change. We don’t want to harmonize, equalize, but add things up and literally create space, a lab. We belief that emphasising differences lead to new thoughts, imaginaries, perspectives. It enables ‘Moglichkeitsdenken’, as Robert Musil calls it.
“Nobody lives everywhere; everybody lives somewhere. Nothing is connected to everything; everything is connected to something.”Donna Haraway
In the past period we have been partner in the Imagine2020 project. We have built with our Club Imagine a community of engaged and committed ‘agents of change’, crossing the borders of science, philosophy, long term policies and instant action. We developed with our artists a wider understanding of the idea of ecology. Find it in the constellations of Lotte van den Berg’s work, the generation Z of Zarah Bracht, in the non-human agencies that are explored in the work of Boogaerdt/Van der Schoot. We value the possibility of connecting this artistic development to a wider European discourse on the connection of artistic activism with ecological awareness. The deepening of the agenda that ACT proposes, connects this for us even more to the deeply rooted local issues of inequality and injustice in our world-city. It gives hope to connect this with artistic practices and tactics throughout Europe.
Theater Rotterdam hosted the second Network Meeting of the ACT – art, climate, transition project. Apart from strategic and operational decisions that took place at this gathering, Theater Rotterdam designed a special two days program to welcome all the partners. This program included exchanges with resident artists Boogaerdt / VanderSchoot and
Zarah Bracht, as well as the guerrilla curation program with Maureen de Jong and Rodrigo Batista.
Locked down at home during the first wave of Covid-19, David Weber-Krebs kept on thinking about the day when theatres would open their doors again. At that point, it was somehow difficult to even picture that moment. On the 8th of April, 2020, in the middle of the lockdown, David sent an e-mail to his peers: artists, scholars, curators, and spectators belonging to different art communities. In this e-mail, there was a simple question: What will happen on your first theatre visit after the lockdown? It was an invitation to imagine the future of theatre from this very specific moment when theatres were all closed and when it was not clear how and when and if they would open again.
The Art of Walking is a durational performance walk of 312 km. Departing from Amsterdam, the artists walk through the borders of the city of Rotterdam, all the way to Calais. The Art of Walking is a performative project that raises awareness to the ongoing struggle of migrant laborers displaced. Indeed, after the COVID-19 lockdown in India, countless migrant workers have been walking long distances from big cities to their native villages.
If the current situation teaches us anything, it is that we should never make the distance
between us so big that we cannot longer find our way back. Under the artistic leadership of Alida Dors, Theater Rotterdam is developing a program with the overarching theme: The Careful Re-Encounter. The opening parcours has the theme TRANSITION, in which TR artists-in-residency co-curate and execute their contributions.
To the voices of Timo and Helene and inspired by the lockdown, Dalton Jansen made a choreography about the animal that hides inside in every human being, and that emerges as soon as we feel trapped.
HICCUP was developed in a residence at Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam during Welcome To Our Guesthouse 2019 and is about male and female roles, as they are handed down and recorded in myths and other repertoire.
Alida Dors has been the artistic director of Theater Rotterdam since April 2020. She curated the Opening track and created a choreography that can be seen during this track, inspired by her earlier performance Or Die Trying. An energetic performance in which dance and Thai boxing complement each other. This new tailor-made choreography is about transformation, and is made for all dreamers and the fighters among us.
The Grande Loge Foundation is a producer of socially inspired and innovative, contemporary performances for a wide audience and a brother sisterhood – brozilians – for young adults. Grande Loge offers space to makers with an art training and to (urban) self-taught artists. It brings together popular street culture with more classical forms of art and culture and uses the combination and power of individuality and education to bind audiences and cultures.
URLAND’s contribution to the opening week is in the light of finiteness. Thomas Dudkiewicz, in the embodiment of the British philosopher Alan Watts, gives a seminar on death and the way it is viewed in the East and West. A guide to reflect on death together.
Stephan Bontje (known as Sbontje) grew up in Rotterdam, the number 2 city when it comes to diversity in cultures. He has always had a great fascination for the history of these cultures. He is therefore inspired by the many types of visual languages that these cultures carry with them. He investigates patterns, architecture and religious prints and tries to transform them into a new image in the form of illustrations, paintings and sculptures.
We throw it away and like to keep it out of sight, but our trash is everywhere. In this performative intervention, new life grows out of that which we discard. A mutating plastic entity that roams around and chases us. The performances of Davy Pieters (1988) are investigations into the future of humankind and the way in which they are influenced by technological developments and visual culture. Her performances are characterised by a strong visual, physical and cinematic style.
In Accusations: Walks & Fragments, Ann Van den Broek, together with the performers, dissects the meticulous puzzle that is Accusations. In 2017, the performance was based on the biographical material and character of Van den Broek. The Walks manifest as a continuous procession moving through space. Accusations: Walks & Fragments: Past / Present / Future draws the audience and the performers along in a critical (self) reflection, always on the way to a better version of themselves.
Specially for the openingstrack developed the Performance duo Boogaerdt / VanderSchoot in collaboration with Jimi Zoet (URLAND, composer) a dance ritual in antiseptic suits.
G-Roots originated in 2002 from an initiative of three black gospel soloists and has since grown into a gospel choir with talented singers and its own band.
The choir has performed on many stages and gained experience in different areas in the music world. G-Roots’ repertoire is very diverse and ranges from modern Blackgo games to Dutch songs. Alida Dors asked the choir to provide the final chord during Opening Week.
Welcome to… 2020!
As COVID-19 is not leaving anytime soon and has become part of our daily life, we approach a new edition of Welcome To Our Guesthouse. With this edition of our artist-in-residence program, we focus on the challenges that we face with the main theme How To Gather Together? With this theme we aim to unfold our routines and become a sustainable artistic platform for future ecologies. By doing so, we activate ourselves, the makers, our partners and the audience to construct our future from the present: careful, sustainable, radical, transnational and socially engaged!
AoPW is an international performing arts programme curated by TR programmer dance / performance Dave Schwab. In the newly created format, designed hand in hand with COVID-19 restrictions, theater makers create an alternative artistic proposal. Since most international artists can’t be present and perform physically, the challenge is to curate / act / create under the new circumstances. The invited artists are: Florentina Holzinger, Jan Martens, Hooman Sharifi, Rodrigo Batista.
In the new Theater Rotterdam production ANTIBODIES, the performance duo Boogaerdt/VanderSchoot honours feminine anatomy as the source of creation during a ritual meeting. In a technologically mediated séance, we see a woman moving in a closed capsule between reality, fiction, dream and hallucination. On the basis of her online data, she descends into twilight zones where she meets variants of herself.
Theater Rotterdam is warming up. Just like the rest of the world. But what does that mean? And how do we deal with it? How do we live together on a warming planet?
In collaboration with Impact Makers, Theater Rotterdam presents the Warming Up Track. Five days in a row that include an exciting theater programme with works from Lotte van den Berg, Emke Idema, Marjolijn van Heemstra, Boogaerdt/VanderSchoot and more. In these performances, the visitor is invited to think about possible future scenarios, with room for discussions and expeditions afterwards.
how to start a movement is a durational mail art project aiming at empowering the everyday life of the 60 participants. During 19 days each participant will receive 15 envelopes in their physical mailbox. The envelopes contain messages, instructions or traces that invite the participants to move, to act. Thus, they create opportunities to engage with their lives in Rotterdam in a different way. You might pick up some traces of their experiences while visiting the presentation days of Welcome To Our Guesthouse #4.
Who Cares? is an artistic project researching the place ‘care’ has in our society. In order to do that, Moha dives into 6 different professions, that deal with care one way or another. As part of the Welcome To Our Guesthouse residency, promoted by Theatre Rotterdam, Moha will open a temporary office, which will be open to discuss the topic of ‘care’ with people that pass by. During each presentation day of Welcome To Our Guesthouse #4 Moha is organizing a bingo around the topic of ‘care’.
In AKOMFRAHDIO we follow a character who receives messages from different timelines and dimensions in the past, present and future. The character receives the messages through radio waves. They contain directions and blueprints to ‘create’ something that should free the marginalized and doomed of the earth.
Call Me Anytime You Want is a conversation about being together, across physical and emotional distances and is an attempt to fantasize about all the things the future may or may not provide.
How to start a movement is a three-week letter project by the artist Merel Smitt. Over a period of three weeks, each participating household receives 14 envelopes in their letterbox. These envelopes contain instructions, (reading) materials, messages and traces of the movement that must be viewed, followed or executed. As a participant(s) you join a movement in which you relate to daily life in a different way. During three weeks you will research, observe, disrupt and question, alone and together, the dynamics of the city of Rotterdam and the rules that are followed and enforced in this society. A journey of discovery that is intimate and collective at the same time.
Last year, more than ever before, we were confronted by our mortality. The vulnerability of a body, but also of life on earth itself, was visible everywhere. In DO NOT LOOK BACK WITH REGRET, director Davy Pieters invites you to consider this. ‘It’s about seeing what we don’t want to see. Our relationship with mortality is not the same as 18 months ago. How do we relate to loss? How do we create the space to stop and process it?’
The project brings together 75 visions by artists, scholars, curators and spectators, created in response to a question sent to them by David Weber-Krebs in the middle of the first wave of Covid-19 in Europe: What will happen on your first theatre visit after the lockdown? While being confined at home, David found himself thinking about the day when theatres would open their doors again. It somehow seemed impossible to picture this moment.
Who are ‘WE’? And what would the world look like if we got rid of the supposed distinctions between humans, plants and things?
BVDS suggests we let go of our focus on the individual and instead practice forming groups in a technological playground. Inspired by the forest, the swarm and the herd, Crowd Simulation Room explores the possibilities for humans to playfully connect with the greater whole, a vast, multitudinous organism. In so called practice space surrounded by other humans, animals, plants and inanimate objects, visitors play ‘The Game of Life’, a simulation where not the survival of the fittest but rather co-existence is key.
As the natural illumination that we experience as human beings from the direct sunlight gets shorter, we approach a new edition of our artists – in – residence programme Welcome To Our Guesthouse. During this edition, with the overarching theme Illumination in Darkness, we focus on the interconnected nature of our actions, responses and decisions that cause different impacts. We aim to examine the function of the natural phenomena light and darkness in our daily life and question the conditions that control to a large extend how we work, create art and live.
Our Skin is a dance film by Yael Karavan and Rita Vilhena. Filmed in the wilderness of Coentral Grande, in Castanheira de Pêra (Portugal), the film is composed of images captured with micro and macro lenses of the skin of the trees, the veins of the rivers, and the bodies of the dancers, breaking the separation that exists in urban society. The film observes and questions how we influence each other: Body-Earth, Earth-Body as it explores the transformation of the female body merging with the natural landscape. The boundaries between the performers bodies and the landscape disappear, highlighting the continuity of our skin into the skin of the earth.
Three celestial bodies launched into orbit vibrate in a lascivious and hypnotic ritual. Dog Rising explores the circulation of physical matter and the passage of vibrations through our bodies. From primitive impulses to gestures that are at times sexual, at times mechanical, Clara Furey’s new creation comes together like a polyphony of pulsating bodies, in turns dissonant and in unison. The choreographer pursues her exploration of physical phenomena, initiated with Cosmic Love.
In December 2007, the front page of Germany’s most important tabloid and Europe’s bestselling newspaper Bild Zeitung, proclaimed with big letters: “Tonight lights out from 20:00 to 20:05!”. Participating in the symbolic act of switching off the lights, people felt part of a large community that cares for climate change and that is determined to solve this problem together. For the time of five minutes…
The last white male rhinoceros is extinct. Forest fires, floods and landslides are the order of the day all over the world. What can we do to turn the tide? Theater makers Anoek Nuyens and Rebekka de Wit have been closely following the climate debate for years. They attended shareholder meetings of multinationals, read speeches and interviews with Shell, plowed through government policy papers and agreements and systematically noted the comments of their uncles or neighbors whenever climate change was discussed at Christmas dinner. They want to know which images, arguments and rhetoric cause so little progress in solving the climate problem.
Emke Idema develops theater forms that expect an active role from the audience. Forest is about building a new world order in which the tree is central. We are on the threshold of the age of the tree, the Dendrocene. After the Turnaround, the tree was canonized worldwide, and cutting down, or even damaging trees, is considered murder. The world will soon be forested, and that will have major consequences for our way of life.
Welcome To Our Guesthouse is the beating heart of Production House Theater Rotterdam. Welcome To Our Guesthouse is a warm and heartfelt welcome to makers who think across borders, both geographically and artistically. It is also an invitation to the public to become acquainted with and be part of the processes of carefully researching artists who value social engagement. The overarching theme of this year’s edition is Illumination in Darkness.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, nightclubs have been closed and the right to demonstrate is under pressure. With RÆV rehearsals*, Tools for Action + Floor propose a hacking of the streets of Rotterdam, igniting the public space, reclaiming sociality, making the city beat through the pandemic. During their residency at Welcome To Our Guesthouse they will address questions relating to performing in public space in a workshop and rehearsals, that are partly open to the audience: how to interact with each other, the traffic, the architecture and the local residents? How to initiate patterns of movement in crowds? Which movements unleash energy and a sense of freedom.
Networking as part of the ACT project is an important segment, in which partners are sharing and discussing the activities’ state of the art. This meeting was organised and hosted by Culturgest, Lisbon with participation of other project partners and representatives from: Arts Admin/London, Bunker/Ljubljana, Kaaitheater/Brussels, COAL/Paris, Domino/Zagreb, Kampnagel/Hamburg, NTIL/Riga, Theater Rotterdam/Rotterdam, and Lokomotiva /Skopje.
It seems to be far away, but it’s getting closer than ever. We are able to precisely alter the genetic code of our body cells, embryos, bacteria, viruses and plants. With the CRISPR cas9 technology we can adjust the properties of any organism to our liking. A revolutionary development that will have major consequences for humans, plants and animals. The performance CRISPR zooms in on the children who are born after applying these ‘genetic scissors’. A search for identity in a world that has more and more control over the technical side of existence.
During this year’s edition of our artist – in residence program, with the overarching theme The Unknowns: An exploration beyond the mysteries of the fungi world, we will attempt to discover – yet unknown – alternative ways for understanding our planet as a shared space for fungi, microbes, humans and all other living beings.
ZOE is a temporary co-existence between the reishi mushrooms and a custom-made robotic system IIWA. Noor Stenfert Kroese and Amir Bastani explore with ZOE the possibilities of internal communication between its robotic system and reishi. Within this seeming paradox between nature and technology an ecosystem occurs, that cares for and affects each other through sensing technologies. A tactile space of data visualisations is created around ZOE in which visitors can explore ZOE’s outcome.
What kind of attention do we give to the sounds of the environment we inhabit?
The Silencing is a sensitive exploration of the role of the spectator in a theatre space. It mirrors what is happening outside of it – the profound impact that human activity has on its physical surroundings. On stage, a group of young storytellers establishes a shared practice of listening by interweaving autobiographical narrations, speculations, and audio recordings. They fill the theatre space with words and sounds. Until words fail them and there are no more stories to tell.
ZOE is a temporary co-existence between the reishi mushrooms and a custom-made robotic system. Noor Stenfert Kroese and Amir Bastani explore with ZOE the possibilities of internal communication between its robotic system and reishi mushrooms. During this live stream, one can follow the visualization of the communication between them and has an insight of their relation. Follow the live stream until the 5th November here.
Buried in forest litter or sprouting from trees, fungi might give the impression of being silent and relatively self-contained organisms. During these sessions with the overarching theme The Unknowns: An exploration beyond the mysteries of the fungi world, with invited artists, scientists, designers and activists, we dive into a collective process of examining the natural phenomenon fungi and its mysterious eco-social life.
With Chris Julien, Prof. Andrew Adamatzky, Noor Stenfert Kroese, Weaving Realities & Amir Basani
The impact and disastrous consequences of war remain a painful and often underexposed topic in the debate on global warming. Access to raw materials is often the root cause of conflict and ecological warfare, such as the draining of rivers, is increasingly used as an instrument of violence. Military exercises and operations waste enormous amounts of energy and leave behind hallucinatory amounts of debris. It is both cynical and ironic, but some exercise areas and war zones are so polluted that no one is allowed to enter them. They are instead declared nature zones where nature is given free rein and can heal.
In Not all is lost, Davy Pieters links the element earth to the young adult stage of
life. In doing so, she creates room for growth, but also for decay, death and
silence. The performers share the floor with a living, earthly landscape. In this evocative physical performance, body and landscape together tell a panoramic story about care and neglect.
PREY will consist of three solos by three generations of women. Each has its own focus: text/language, song/music and dance/performance. With every solo, the tension between the human and the landscape, performer and scenography, becomes more intense and intimate. The essence of PREY is finding solace in the frightening fact that we too are food, that we too belong to an ecological cycle of life and death.
After their acclaimed performances, Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere present the final part of their trilogy on mining. This time they focus on a completely new industry, deep sea mining, with the performance Out Of The Blue. ‘We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the bottom of the ocean.’ At a moment in history when the planet we live on seems to have been explored extensively, some places remain unstudied and untouched.
PL3MONS is a hybrid, Afro-futuristic, 3D-style multimedia performance that floats on a post-apocalyptic scenario: climate change is a reality and the population is in survival mode. FOKOVISME immerses the audience in a new reality, where plastic lives and plants gaze at you.
In this new work, Samara Hersch continues her practice of staging intergenerational conversation as performance, working with teenagers and seniors who will meet for the first time, in the dark. Taking place in a shifting landscape of appearances and disappearances, twilight and shadows, here, the performers ask questions about change, uncertainty and impending darkness. Together reflecting on how time invisibly shapes who we are and who we will become. Through this work, Samara and her collaborators question how the darkness (and the theatre) might reveal alternative ways of gathering and listening to cultivate curiosity, vulnerability, intimacy and resilience.
UDIV & IDNI is a visually charged trip with room for experimentation and interpretation. The performance mixes elements, tendencies and experiences from our living world in a speculative universe with fiction, movement, light, costumes, Sound, scenography and video mapping. Fokovisme challenges the audience to question and take a look at transhumanism that seeks to push the boundaries of the universe and one’s own life.
For the 5th edition of TRipp [space], Merel Smitt will travel to Skopje to participate the SummerLab #4 where she will encounter with urbanists, ecologists, activists and other 10 artists of ACT ) Art, Climate Transition Network. After that she will return to Rotterdam and start to collaborate with Floor van Leeuwen for the preparation of new cycles of How To Start A Movement? In collaboration with Humanistisch Verbond from Ecohumanist perspective. Floor van Leeuwen will participate to Relay Lecture in Rotterdam and will kick off their Swarming project in collaboration with Arts Admin in London in the end of June during What Shall We Build Here – a festival of art, climate and community – and will continue to work there with the LGBTQ+ community till end of August’23.
Moving in Concert envisions a universe in which people, technologies and natural materials coexist to create an abstract series of movements. Inspired by the way bodies are sensory influenced by living in a digitized world, the performance explores a poetics of plasticity, abstraction and imagination.
A wet terrain that is the stage and the training ground to find out how to become like Ophelia – embodying the laws that govern a special environment to satisfy the desires and fantasies of others. Water is the element of assimilation and adaptation, a symbol of the limitless capacity for expansion, of an eternal, inseparable unity with the outside world. Symbolically, water is associated with femininity – and with death. An oceanic landscape emerges, full of illusions, cultural and historical references to all kinds of aquatic creatures and drowned strangers, a scenario that not only asks the question… whether training and exercise can help us escape the precarious conditions of the present with climate catastrophes and other disasters to come. It also invites speculation about future life forms that have assimilated these conditions, transformed them and created new forms of being.