Bruno Vanden Broecke, Valentijn Dhaenens & Vincent Stuer / KVS

They haven’t seen each other for five years, Leopold III and his minister of foreign affairs Paul-Henri Spaak, not since that night at the start of the war. The government fled the country, the king stayed. For five long years of occupation, it has been grating, seething, ripening, the so-called ‘tragic misunderstanding’ between them.

It’ll be another five years until the battle is concluded. Not with a compromise, but with a public consultation that forces every Belgian to pick sides and that brings the country to the brink of civil war.

The clash between Spaak and Leopold is not just a confrontation between two figures who made different choices during the war: it’s a clash of two different personalities with opposing world views. The conflict is the Big Bang that our current democracy was born from.

After Unsung, a razor-sharp dissection of the political state, Vincent Stuer (political spokesman and speechwriter) writes another play, together with Valentijn Dhaenens and Bruno Vanden Broecke. Together they get under the skin of the historical figures of Spaak and Leopold III.

Valentijn Dhaenens

Valentijn Dhaenens (°Ghent, 1976) is a theatre and film actor. He graduated from the Antwerp Conservatory in 2000 as a master in the Dramatic Arts under Dora Van der Groen.
He is a co-founder of theatre company SKaGeN and has acted in performances by, amongst others, NTGent, KVS, Kaaitheater and Ontroerend Goed. The wider audience may be more familiar with Dhaenens through his film and television work, including De helaasheid der dingen (Felix Van Groeningen), Stranger in Paradise (Guido Henderikx) and Girl (Lukas Dhont). The films De helaasheid der dingen and Girl received ample international acclaim, including at the Cannes film festival, whereGirl was awarded the Camera d’Or. Dhaenens took on the lead role in Dutch documentary fiction film Stranger in Paradise, which was nominated for the European Film Awards, opened the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2017 and took home the IDFA Special Jury Award. The film also received several accolades at international film festivals.

Dhaenens’ theatre breakthrough came with BigmoutH, an ode to rhetoric, which was followed by the equally successful monologue SmallWaR. Both productions were written by Dhaenens and toured worldwide.

For KVS, Dhaenens created Domestica and Onbezongen. The English version of the latter premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 as Unsung, which won him the Fringe First, one of the most important awards at the festival. 

In 2019 he performed in Knaus with Alexia Leysen and he joined the cast of Vita Siyo Muchezo Ya Watoto, a play by Frédérique Lecomte. Together with Lecomte, Dhaenens visited East Congo, where they created the performance together with local artists.

From 4 September 2020 you can see Dhaenens on our stage in collaboration with Bruno Vanden Broecke for the first time, in the performance Jonathan.

Bruno Vanden Broecke

Bruno Vanden Broecke is one of the KVS faces and a celebrated actor in theatre, movies and television. 
Bruno Vanden Broecke (°Sint-Niklaas, 1974) is a theatre and film actor. He graduated with a master’s and teaching degree in Classical Philology and a bachelor in Dramatic Arts. Bruno was a member of the SKaGeN collective (2000 to 2009), which he co-founded, and Compagnie De Koe (1999-2008). 

In 2007 he first performed the monologue Missie, about the missionary André Vervecken, for the KVS. It was written by David Van Reybrouck and directed by Raven Ruëll, and over the last seasons Vanden Broecke has performed it in four languages in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. An English translation was recently published. Its successor Para toured throughout Belgium and the Netherlands to great acclaim. The performance won Bruno Vanden Broecke the Louis d’Or prize for best lead actor at the Nederlands Theaterfestival 2018. Ouder Kind was the tenth play Vanden Broecke performed in collaboration with theatre creator Raven Ruëll, a milestone in their long relationship. The play portrays a fictionalised autobiographic portrait of the two friends and has received countless positive reviews.

From 4 September 2020 you can see Bruno on our stage in collaboration with Valentijn Dhaenens for the first time, in the performance Jonathan. 

He is best known to the general public for his television work. He has acted in de Ronde, Code 37, Duts, Katarakt, Matroesjka’s 2, Den elfde van den elfde, Callboys 1 and 2, Clinch and Safety First, shared the prizes (including an Emmy) won by Wat Als 1 & 2 & 3, and is addressed almost every day as Sammy Tanghe, a character from Het Eiland. On the big screen, he has appeared in Any Way the Wind Blows, Een Ander zijn Geluk and Loft. In 2018 he started the production company Brutteo with actors Ruth Beeckmans and Matteo Simoni. The first fruit of their labour is Trio, a film the trio produced, directed and performed in together.


Vincent Stuer

Vincent Stuer has worked behind the scenes in domestic and foreign politics for many years. He was speechwriter to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, and spokesman and penman for Karel De Gucht as Liberal Party president, as foreign minister and as European Commissioner. In addition, Vincent is a writer and theatre maker. In his award-winning theatre monologue Unsung, he talks about the psychology of the Homo Politicus. His book Haughtiness tells the story of former Verdinasolid Frantz Van Dorpe, and thus of Belgium from the 1930s onwards, through war and the Royal Question.

'Power you acquire by bad qualities 
and keep by good ones'

Paul-Henri Spaak

Chloé Wasselin-Dandre

Chloé Wasselin-Dandré was born in 1996 in Croix, France. In 2016, she obtained a degree in Communication and Printed Media from BTS Graphic Design in Paris. After several trips and projects in Latin America, she started the Bachelor Scenography and Costume Design in Maastricht in 2017. From this course, she studied in Istanbul and did an internship at NTGent. Since 2021, she has worked as a scenographer on several projects including Gruis aan de twijfel at NTGent, De Koer, De Studio and Tanz Station (Germany). In 2022, she joined forces with Marina de Blas García to set up the 'VerhalenLab' at De Koer. This initiative allows children to share their stories through art during workshops and summer camps.

Wasselin-Dandré has a great passion for storytelling. Through plays, videos, installations, drawings, photography and books, she aims to give a voice to people who are not normally heard. For Rexit! she designed the scenography.

The Monarchy of Belgium


DIRECTION & PERFORMANCE Bruno Vanden Broecke & Valentijn Dhaenens TEXT Valentijn Dhaenens, Vincent Stuer & Bruno Vanden Broecke CONCEPT Vincent Stuer COSTUME DESIGN & SCENOGRAPHY Chloé Wasselin-Dandre PRODUCTION MANAGER Ella De Gregoriis STAGE MANAGER Lieven Symaeys LIGHTING DESIGN Geert Drobe COMPOSITION & SOUND DESIGN Patrick Van Neck DRAMATURGY Dina Dooreman SURTITLING Inge Floré TRANSLATION Trevor Perri (NL > EN), Anne Vanderschueren (NL > FR) SPECIAL THANKS TO Els De Witte, Mark Eyskens & Rik Van Cauwelaert THANKS TO de Taxshelter van de Belgische Federale Overheid via BNPPFFF PRODUCTION KVS COPRODUCTION Perpodium