Lisaboa Houbrechts

Lisaboa Houbrechts

Lisaboa Houbrechts (°1992) is a writer and director of theatrical works that are a cross between visual art, opera, music and dramatic text. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in Drama from the School of Arts Ghent|KASK in 2016. Four years prior to that, working together with Romy Louise Lauwers, Victor Lauwers and Oscar van der Put, she founded her own company, Kuiperskaai, making an ambitious entrance in the world of theatre with shows like The Goldberg Chronicles (2014) en The Winter’s Tale (2016). A large cast, whimsical interaction between visuals and text, and an intelligent mix of different disciplines – performance, music, choreography, literature and visual art – were typical aspects of her work even then.

Her love of the grand gesture did not go unnoticed. In 2017, Guy Cassiers invited Lisaboa Houbrechts to take part in P.U.L.S. (Project for Upcoming Talent for the Large Stage) at Toneelhuis. She worked with Alain Platel, Ivo van Hove and Jan Lauwers, creating a raw and idiosyncratic adaptation of Hamlet in 2018. In it, she opened new perspectives, focusing on the destructive relationship between Hamlet and his mother, Queen Gertrude. By pointing out Gertrude’s innocence, Houbrechts placed her at the heart of the performance. This was followed in 2019 by the spectacular and musical Bruegel, a kaleidoscopic portrait of Pieter Bruegel the Elder and the era in which he created Dulle Griet (also known as Mad Meg), the woman denigrated as a ‘battle-axe’ because she went out plundering for the sake of Hell. But what if she was not stealing those objects, but actually trying to save them? Houbrechts wants to re-examine tales from the past – which are invariably manipulated, erased, forgotten or reduced to an unambiguous event – with fresh eyes. Bruegel, like her other work, is baroque and bold, but also playful and charming. 

Music is a constant throughout Houbrechts' work. With I Silenti (Théâtre de Namur, 2021), she pursues her interest in live music on stage. Together with composer Fabrizio Cassol, she zooms in on the under-reported genocide of the Roma during World War II, which she connects with Monteverdi's madrigals about war and love.

In 2023, working with laGeste, Lisaboa Houbrechts made the gripping Vake Poes; of hoe God verdween, in which – using Bach's music as a guideline – she explores the limits of the divine and exposes a dark trauma. In her narrative, which spans three generations, she reflects on respective eras of her grandparents, her parents and her own generation respectively, exploring how the personal is intertwined with the historical, the intimate with the monumental, the private with the political and the past with the present. Baroque chaos and intense theatricality go hand in hand with quietude and a vague spirituality in this family epic. Vake Poes; of hoe God verdween was selected for the TheaterFestival 2023.

Houbrechts is a rising star in the international theatre circuit. In 2023 she adapted and directed Euripides' Médée for the renowned Comédie-Française in Paris. In the 2024 season she will stage Yerma at Dramaten in Stockholm and Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice for Staatoper Hannover.

Lisaboa Houbrechts' work is supported by KVS and Toneelhuis. Since 2022, she is responsible for the artistic direction of Toneelhuis together with Gorges Ocloo, FC Bergman, Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe and Olympique Dramatique. 

Productions from/with ‘Lisaboa Houbrechts’

I Silenti Theatre Archive

I Silenti

Toneelhuis / Otto Productions / Lisaboa Houbrechts / Fabrizio Cassol / Tcha Limberger

1095 Theatre Archive


Kuiperskaai / Lisaboa Houbrechts / Toneelhuis / Monty