Once there was De Keuze van de Rotterdamse Schouwburg. A festival with, in our opinion, leading theatre performances from the Netherlands and Belgium. In 2001, when Rotterdam was the Cultural Capital of Europe, we started with the Internationale Keuze van de Rotterdamse Schouwburg, with remarkable, exciting and exceptional performances from all over the world.
Now, twelve years have passed. And we have decided to call the festival De Keuze again. Rotterdam-like: brief and to the point. Because choice forms the essence. And, in our opinion, international is an obvious and necessary aspect for a festival that wants to touch the character of the age. An age that is changing. Just like the world and that stalwart, precocious city of Rotterdam - old and new at the same time - which has offered the platform, the audience and the inspiration for a new team of programmers, who have travelled around the world, searching for artists who are essential, both now and in the future.
Our boundaries are fading and new boundaries are drawn. De Keuze wants to be the set where we reflect upon what is changing. In art and in the world. Reflect upon freedom and the choices that are made to defend that freedom. But whose freedom? And whose boundaries? ‘Imagine there’s no countries’ once sang the assassinated John Lennon. In the yearly Keuze Debat we will discuss all this. About the bounds of freedom and the importance of choosing. The freedom to do what exactly?
Choose young talents, who are far from passively waiting for things to come. Tiago Rodrigues has distorted the concept of censorship: censors’ reports are transformed into a new meaningful theatre text. Lizzy Timmers tests the revolutionary possibilities of her own generation. Choose for America, the imagedistinguishing continent of freedom. During the first weekend, you can refine your European view on America, thanks to the musical performances of Fabrice Murgia and Wunderbaum. Nature Theater of Oklahoma provides the view from within,with their epic performance about growing up in a perfectly normal American village.
Choose for good food and deep reflection. A healthy mind cannot live in a hungry body. Whilst enjoying a good meal, we will strike up a conversation about themes from the performances, led by a Keuze expert. This programme cannot be heaped together under one label. Together with the theatre pioneers, the festival is crossing borders that have been fading away for quite some time. To celebrate this, every night you can hear music in the Hal Theater, for this occasion renamed as Music Hall. Music that gives colour and uproar.
Never before has theatre been so closely connected to the world in which it is enacted. We are going to celebrate this with De Keuze. De Keuze as a summary of all the choices we are confronted with, every day. De Keuze as a means to plunge into 12 days of theatre, music, media, reflection and festive meetings. Choose and feel welcome.
(director Rotterdamse Schouwburg)