Because vulnerability and love are our only hope

Oh, how we looked forward to our newly-rewon freedom. The freedom to come together and experience culture again, unfettered and carefree. Here and there, rumours of a new ‘roaring twenties’ abounded – not that I ever put much stock in those. But going from one global crisis right into the next? No, no one saw that coming.

While we put the finishing touches on this season’s brochure, bombs rain down on Ukraine and an all-encompassing war is raging on European soil. A war – and this is something all wars have in common – that destroys any trace of humanity, beauty and comfort, and razes it to the ground. Civilian targets, schools, care homes and theatres ... Cities are wiped off the map. I can’t not talk about it. Here we are, with our futile artworks. Anything of value is defenceless in the face of callous barbarism.

One of the most moving moments of last spring took place in the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, when Arno, during one of his farewell concerts, was joined by another Brussels icon: Stromae. Together they sang Putain, putain, c’est vachement bien, nous sommes quand-même tous des Européens [I’ll be damned, it’s pretty grand, we’re all Europeans anyway]. Our Europe has many rooms, with room for everyone to be themselves.

And yet, even in these gloomy and uncertain times, we will continue to create theatre with and for you. Because vulnerability and love are our only hope.

That’s what we fight for, with emotion, honesty, and sometimes outrage and anger as our main weapons.

That’s why we bring you the best possible theatre. And that’s not just about virtuosity. We don’t do it for admiration, or as a look-what-we- can-do. We do it by making space for people who want to tell a story. Artists who search, dare to fail, hesitate, fumble, doubt, don’t know, but feel, and want to share that with you. Together with all of you, we are a community.

This season also marks the start of a new round of subsidies. That’s why this autumn we’re looking back over our shoulders and making space for some of the works we have created in the past years. Some have become classics, others haven’t been able to show their full strength due to the pandemic. We have Bruno Vanden Broecke’s Para and Moya Michael’s Outwalkers, Who’s Tupac? by Jr.cE.sA.r, Metamorphoses by Manuela Infante. Pitcho Womba Konga reprises Fire Will Become Ashes, But Not Now, which had a glorious premiere earlier this year after three forced postponements. Voetvolk let their hair down in Into The Open, a roaring party that’s not to be missed.

In spring, our focus shifts to new creations by our KVS ensemble. Choreographer and dancer Bahar Temiz continues her exploration: after surveying Antarctica in ICE, in her new creation PUNKT she casts her eyes to the sky in a ground-breaking choreography. Meanwhile, Alesandra Seutin explores the legacy of the South African star and staunch anti-Apartheid activist Miriam Makeba in a powerful dance-theatre creation: Mimi’s Shebeen. And we’re happy to introduce you to up-and-coming talent in De Duivels: Mats Van Droogenbroeck, Nona Demey-Gallagher and Timo Sterckx, aka the company Krapp, translate one of history’s most controversial witch trials to the present.

This magazine offers an overview of the entire season. Because we are proud of what we have in store, and because we need you. We need you to be part of this huge, diverse community we create together.

- Michael De Cock

© Saskia Vanderstichelen