Sietske Van Aerde

Sietske Van Aerde

Sietske Van Aerde (b. 1992) has worked as a designer, set and costume designer in the film and theatre sector since 2014. She also creates visual work: drawings, paintings, sculptural costumes and performances. 

Sietske received her Master's in Costume Design (Film and Theatre) from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp in 2018. Her Master project, Thousand Costumes Make One Hell of a Party, shown at Het Bos, consisted of a book containing one thousand drawings and designs of costumes. This book formed the basis for a video work whose scenario was entirely determined from the costumes. The work was later also shown live on the roof of DE SINGEL (Antwerp) during Momentum III (2018), organized by d e t h e a t e r m a k e r, and in 2019 it was shown at the Brakke Grond (Amsterdam).

At the Antwerp gallery LLS Paleis, curated by Stella Lohaus, Van Aerde participated in the five-yearly recurring exhibition NowBelgiumNow (2021), where Van Aerde's paintings were on display for the first time. That same year, she participated in the Wonderwall exhibition at Gallery Sofie Van de Velde (Antwerp) and was invited by Lieven Segers for Een blik achter de muur, a group exhibition on view at the Blikfabriek (Antwerp). 

In 2022, Sietske presented her first solo exhibition at the Antwerp gallery PONTI, where she showed paintings and a tableau. In the fall of '22, the artist Ria Pacquée invited her to participate in the group exhibition Old wine new bags at De Warande (Turnhout). During this exhibition, an animated film by Van Aerde was shown for the first time. 

In recent years, Sietske has also been active as a designer for various theatre productions. In 2016, Zita Swoon invited her for the visual design of their music theatre production The Ballad of Erol Klof (Kaaitheater, Brussels). For this project, she combined glam rock with folklore. Sietske worked closely for several years with Kuiperskaai (Lisaboa Houbrechts, Victor Afung Lauwers, et al), Hannah De Meyer (with the P.U.L.S trajectory at Toneelhuis) and Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe (d e t h e a t e r m a k e r, VIERNULVIER, Opera Ballet Gent, Muziektheater Transparant and Toneelhuis). 

For the first three years at Kuiperskaai, Sietske's visual style was part of the company's artistic identity. At Toneelhuis, Elsemieke Scholte paired her with director Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe. For his opera production Nachten (2018), Sietske designed costumes of haute couture calibre and a punk character as a free interpretation of the baroque attire of the Sun King. For Meirhaeghe's second production, the opera A Revue (2020), she collaborated with several designers to create latex costumes inspired by both aliens and overgrown plants, as well as more classical romantic costumes. In 2024, she again collaborated with Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe, this time for his Shelly Shonk Fiffit.

In the spring of 2023, Sietske worked on Thomas Verstraeten's big opera production Die Schöpfung (Haydn) for Theater Basel. For this, she created romantic silhouettes and also provided realistic styling for the group of young actors in the production. It was an important project, not only because of its great success in Basel, but especially because this collaboration gave Sietske the opportunity to develop further and to erase the contradiction between autonomous and applied art. 

Productions from/with ‘Sietske Van Aerde’

A Revue Theatre 13 June 2025 until 14 June 2025

A Revue

d e t h e a t e r m a k e r / Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe

1095 Theatre Archive


Kuiperskaai / Lisaboa Houbrechts / Toneelhuis / Monty