Toneelhuis is not only a place for creation and presentation, it also wants to contribute to reflection on the development of theatre in a rapidly changing society. During the 2023-2024 season, we will be focusing on four burning issues: repertoire, urbanism, generations and artistic processes. A number of lectures, talks and discussions are being organized around these themes. We will be reporting extensively on these activities on our website. Full details coming in September 2023.
At one time – not even that long ago – repertory was the beating heart of theatre. Staging the great classics (from the Greek tragedies and Shakespeare through Molière and Schiller to Ibsen and Pinter) was a key function of theatre. Now 'repertory' has become a loaded term – for many reasons. Theatre no longer derives its legitimacy from the dramatic canon, but from its theatrical and performative potential. After all, making theatre is much more than delivering a text. Moreover, repertory plays have come under fire as the expression of a body of ideas that is too white, Western and patriarchal. A discussion is urgently needed. Are the classics nothing more than a dangerous beauty from the past? Does studying repertory still make sense? Where is the new repertory? Or can we not entirely do without those Old Masters after all?
Our cities, with their issues of liveability and sustainability, diversity and mobility, are the biggest challenges for our future. In the coming years, an important part of Toneelhuis’s urban activities will be its participation in the European project UNLOCK THE CITY!, which aims to link theatre practice to scientific research. Through multidisciplinary cooperation, the project aims to instigate sustainable development processes in the post-pandemic city. In the 2023-2024 season, Toneelhuis will participate in the project with two productions. With Seefhoek Series, Thomas Verstraeten pays a loving tribute to a hyper-diverse neighbourhood in the northern part of Antwerp, where he himself lives. Commonplace scenes and events – street football, food stalls, picking up trash, an African preacher, etc. – are his inspiration to create performances, videos and installations. In Honderd, Bart Van Nuffelen invites one hundred residents of Deurne Noord onto the Bourla stage.
During our ‘House of the flying generations’ festival in the 2022-2023 season, we invited theatre makers from different generations to gather around the table. It became a casual talk about theatre-making since the early 1980s, the meaning of the word 'generation', the changed approach to diversity, etc. A transcript of the talk will soon be on our website. Next season, we want to continue that intergenerational discussion in the context of the Love at first Sight festival and the Antwerp Kleppers. To be covered extensively on our site also.
How does a show come about? From what seed does a theatre-maker's creativity spring? What influences an artist? In a number of Soirées Artistiques, Toneelhuis theatre-makers talk candidly about their sources of inspiration and influences. Sometimes they invite an artist friend or someone in the field to discuss things with them. Using images, music, and text, they give a unique glimpse into their artistic processes.