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The Grief of Red Granny

Toneelhuis, LOD muziektheater, Gorges Ocloo

17 February 1934: King Albert of Belgium climbs the cliffs of Rocher du Bon Dieu in Marche-les-Dames and falls to his death. Whereas two million Belgians reportedly witness the funeral procession, Queen Elisabeth, because of protocol is not even allowed to attend the funeral of her own husband. 
The Grief of Red Granny is the first part of a diptych on individual and collective grief. In his new AfrOpera, Gorges Ocloo places the central focus on Elisabeth, the third Queen of Belgium, aka the Red Granny. Through her story, he gives space and a voice to those who do not have an opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones in person: the victims of wars, pandemics, terrorist attacks….

With his characteristic surreal imagery, Ocloo presents the enigmatic queen in the Garden of Eden. Here, in her ‘after death’, Elisabeth looks back on her life and speaks to us, accompanied by six angels: three vocalists and three instrumentalists, all from South Africa. The musical leitmotif is Stabat Mater by Pergolesi. “I will bring Pergolesi to my Voodoo church”, says Ocloo. His radical arrangement of this famous composition draws inspiration from African funerals. A musical confrontation between cultures. A universal sound of sorrow and celebration. 

text, director, composition

  • Gorges Ocloo


  • Tine Joustra


  • Nobulumko Mngxekeza-Nziramasanga


  • Nonkululeko Nkwinti

basso profondo

  • Ntuthuko Ziqubu


  • Charlton Daniels


  • Dane Coetzee


  • Carla Williams

sound design

  • Victor Hidalgo


  • Toneelhuis
  • LOD muziektheater

in collaboration with

  • Artscape Theatre Centre Cape Town

with the support of

  • de Tax Shelter maatregel v/d Belgische federale overheid via Gallop Tax Shelter
  • de Diplomatieke Representatie van Vlaanderen in Zuid-Afrika
  • Sabam for Culture

All data

  1. Friday 14 February 2025 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen Belgian premiere
  2. Saturday 15 February 2025 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  3. Thursday 20 February 2025 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  4. Friday 21 February 2025 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen With interpreters Flemish Sign Language
  5. Saturday 22 February 2025 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  6. Sunday 23 February 2025 — 15h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen With audio description
  7. Thursday 27 February 2025 — 20h00 — CC De Werf, Aalst
  8. Wednesday 5 March 2025 — 20h00 — NTGent/Schouwburg, Gent
  9. Friday 7 March 2025 — 20h00 — 30CC/Schouwburg, Leuven
  10. Thursday 13 March 2025 — 20h00 — HNT/Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag Nederlandse première
  11. Tuesday 18 March 2025 — 20h15 — C-mine/Grote zaal, Genk
  12. Friday 21 March 2025 — 20h00 — CC Sint-Niklaas, Sint-Niklaas
  13. Wednesday 26 March 2025 — 19h30 — Grote zaal ITA, Amsterdam

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