The Art of co-production – mutual love

Author: Marc Maris & Merel Heering

Just like previous summers, the temperatures are rising while we (Erin, Merel and Marc) are trying to put together the programme for the upcoming festival. We only have a few weeks to go before the job has to be done.  Our programme includes 25 to 30 different performances every year. Four or five of these are co-productions. But what are co-productions exactly? And why do we make co-productions?

Co-productions aren’t different from other performances in our programme. We do, however, invest a bit more in these shows: we give them more attention, more time and more money. A coproduction is a message from both the makers and us to you, our visitors. It depends on the makers and their motivation whether we decide to make a coproduction. We always meet new (theatre) makers; this is one of the wonderful things that comes with our job. Sometimes it turns out that we have a special connection with these makers. So co-productions usually result from a mutual love between the makers, with whom we share similar views, and us. This doesn’t mean that we always have the same opinions; in fact these makers often challenge us to look at things in a different way.

Just like in the rest of the programme our main focus is on theatre makers who have already made a number of shows in the past. Artists whose work can take on many different forms. These include dancers, makers of installations and of textual theatre; they all help us to create a future with an open-minded approach. Some do this by telling stories that help us deal with discomfort; others have more radical ideas regarding freedom of identity. Let me illustrate this by introducing the four makers that we will be working with us for the upcoming festival.

Silke van Kamp (Dutch)
Silke graduated from the Institute of Performing Arts in Maastricht only last year. Merel saw her graduation piece, and immediately fell for her. Silke knows exactly what she wants and what is important to her. Her work is balanced and subtle, but at the same time it is raw and straightforward. That’s why we admire Silke. Last year we were blown away by her piece Chimo zei Lila, and this year she’s back with a piece called Zusje. Again it’s not a very uplifting piece, but we guarantee that you’ll be touched by it. Silke’s characters are always people of flesh and blood, just like you and me. And we’re so head over heels in love with Silke that she might be with us again next year. #tobecontinued

Ariah Lester (English)
Ariah is a radical and an activist with strong opinions. He generously fights for inclusiveness and reaches out to people with his magnetic personality, with open arms. He is rigorous and relentless. Merel has known him for a number of years. Marc met him last year when visiting Theater aan Zee, a festival in Belgium. During this first meeting Marc was brought to tears by him. Ariah and his work offer an intimate view into things that cannot be avoided. Last year he presented the hypnotizing show WHITE [ARIANE] at Jonge Harten. Ariah Lester is a rising star, and that’s why we decided to work with him again on the piece EL NACIMENTO or [REBIRTH]. We’re not quite sure how it’s going to turn out, as he’s still working on the piece, but we know for certain that you shouldn’t miss this super star’s next move.

De Noorderlingen (Dutch)
Unfortunately for some people it’s not easy to visit a theatre performance. If you’re deaf, for instance, it can be quite a challenge. Together with De Noorderlingen we want to try and change this during the upcoming festival. In the show KIJK ME (‘Look me’), we will examine how hearing and non-hearing young people communicate with each other. This will be quite a challenge, but we believe it’s for an important cause. It can be hard to understand what other people mean, but see what happens if you make the effort.

PeerGrouP (Dutch)
We love the north, and so does PeerGrouP. It is our home: the space, the vast landscape and its possibilities. We love it. PeerGrouP also responds to current (northern) issues, just like we do. We both believe that it is important to initiate discussions about topics that we’d rather not discuss. Loneliness is one of these taboos. Loneliness is spreading over the world, and it targets the young and old. And we never see, to talk about it. Are we too embarrassed? These two generations hardly ever have contact with each other. But they share a sense of loneliness. Niemand is hier eenzaam (No one here is lonely.) What can we learn from each other? Can we offer each other comfort? Let’s talk about it!

We are extremely proud to present these co-productions for 2019! Ticket sales will start soon, so make sure you check our website and social media.  

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Festival Heart

We have a Festival Heart!! You can either drop by for a chat, for a dance or a drink. For inquiries, you can turn to our information point that is also located here. You can also purchase tickets here. All very convenient! Location of the Festival Heart is Oosterstraat 13a.

Stop by for some coffee or a drink!