Monday, June 20, 2011

Theatre Institute Netherlands Forced to Close?

Studying theater design at the Rietveld academy in Amsterdam involved regular visits to the Netherlands Theatre Institute as TIN (Theater Instituut Nederland) was called back then. The ITI was the place to borrow published plays, books on theater history, costuming, set design and the likes. The institute made a tremendous impression on me.
ITI then /TIN now: Theater Arts are Important!

Today you can find TIN on the Sarphatistraat, back then the Amsterdam institution was situated in a monumental building on the Herengracht that breathed history, even before you had opened a book, or laid eyes on the museum collection. ITI was about the past, the present and the future of Dutch theater arts. At the time my questions were answered by Hanna Oberman, a budding dramaturge who fulfilled her internship at the ITI library. Oberman who already held a Law degree, did not take her oratory talents to the court stage, but co-created with Rob Klinkenberg the indispensable handbook of monologues for actors "Nu ben ik alleen" (Now I'm by myself). It's not difficult to guess where the authors (pre-Internet) conducted part of their research ...

The role of ITI as an international liaison became clear when I joined Taller Amsterdam, an artists collective headed by Armando Bergallo and Hector Vilche. When we took Taller's multimedia show The Desert to Le Théâtre des Amandiers in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, we ran into a big problem. The incoming director, Patrice Chéreau, was going to bring in his own people and fire staff members. The ensuing strike threatened to keep our show from opening. Ruud Engelander the representative of the International Theatre Institute in the Netherlands came to our rescue and The Desert did have its premiere in Nanterre.

ITI was one of the destinations to take visitors from out of town and abroad, to share highlights in the museum collections, and watch registrations of avant garde as well as traditional theater performances stored in the video bank. And one summer I worked a few days as a costumer with the touring company of the American Repertory Theatre, no doubt thanks to my connections at ITI.

Theater Instituut Nederland is the hub for theater lovers and theater makers, national and international thespians alike.

Over the years TIN has become a more and more important player in the international theater world. And yet Halbe Zeilstra, Secretary of State for Culture wants to cut the subsidies for this institution. Completely. The gall!

Sign the petition for the Government to reconsider!
Tweet your solidarity #steunTIN (#supportTIN).

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
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