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Dutch and Flemish drama in the spotlight at festival in Graz

This year’s edition of the annual DramatikerInnenfestival in Graz (Austria) will include a special focus on theatre from the Low Countries. The event will feature staged readings of six theatre texts originally written in Dutch. These readings are aimed at German-speaking theatre professionals (directors, dramaturgs, press, publishers, etc.) and will give the authors a chance to discuss their work and do some international networking. Also on the festival programme are two plays from the Low Countries for the general public.

Dramatikerinnenfestival 2019 - poster

The DramatikerInnenfestival is a partnership between uniT and Schauspielhaus Graz and takes place in Graz in June. The staged readings have come about in collaboration with Flanders Literature, Flanders Arts Institute and Dutch Performing Arts. In 2018 the organising partners first travelled to the festival with a number of Flemish and Dutch theatre makers and dramaturgs to explore possible collaborations. From a longlist of texts from Flanders and the Netherlands, the Austrian organisers chose five pieces to present at the festival’s next edition. An external jury member also selected one of the nominees for the Toneelschrijfprijs 2018 for a reading at the festival. On Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 June, the following texts will be presented:

  • ‘Take a Left at the Canal’ (‘Bij het kanaal naar links’) – Alex van Warmerdam
  • MEN. The Revised Opinion (‘MEN. de mening herzien’) – BOG.
  • Aperçu de l´inconnu – Michael Bijnens
  • Us/Them (‘Wij / Zij’) – Carly Wijs
  • ‘True colors’ – Maaike Bergstra
  • ‘The Nation’ – Eric De Vroedt (winner of the Toneelschrijfprijs 2018 and directly selected)

Alongside this focus on the Low Countries aimed at professionals, the DramatikerInnenfestival has also decided to include two productions for the general public: ‘Conversation with the Rain’ (‘Gesprek met de regen’) by Stijn Devillé (het nieuwstedelijk) and ‘The Automated Sniper’ by Julian Hetzel (Frascati Theater Amsterdam). In addition, earlier this year uniT organised a workshop led by renowned translator Peter Waterhouse aimed at introducing playwrights from all countries involved to each other’s work and cultural context. Taking part alongside several Austrian writers were Benjamin Van Tourhout (BE), Annet Bremen (NL), Iona Daniel (NL) and Timen Jan Veenstra (NL).

As part of this promotional project Flanders Arts Institute, Flanders Literature and Dutch Performing Arts worked on an online dossier. ‘Theatre Texts from the Lowlands’ features an introductory essay by Peter Anthonissen on Flemish theatre today and a ‘Who’s Who’ with profiles of contemporary playwrights as well as a few translated excerpts from their work. In a future phase, the partners will continue to promote contemporary Dutch-language drama texts in French language areas, in close collaboration with Maison Antoine Vitez.

May 20th, 2019