Esther van der Werf one of the founders of The English Theatre in Utrecht, continued with our chat about the theatre. At 26 she has taken on a lot of responsibility. The theatre cannot run itself and finances are a key part of the programme.
“As a producer of a newly found theatre foundation, I learned that it is not simple to raise enough money. Furthermore, it is a challenge to find a balance in doing what you really want from your creative and educational perspective and doing what you need to do an an entrepreneur, looking for an income to keep the company running.”
She continued: “However, I definitely do not think it is impossible. I think it is important to find the right connections and partners who are willing to help you, like for example cultural funds and citizens and people in your network who support your artistic vision.”
I think this is a constant battle for people in the creative arts. It is not just a hobby, it becomes a way of life and people start to rely on you. The weight of expectation is always on your shoulders and you have to deliver in so many areas, not just financial, but that may be the most crucial. However, due to a lot of time and effort, Esther says,
“We received great financial support from cultural funds like KF Hein Fonds, Carel Nengerman and VSB Fonds. We also raised an important sum of the money that we needed for our first production with a crowdfunding campaign.”
She is also really happy that they are surrounded by so many enthusiastic volunteers who make their work all possible.
We have not even mentioned the most important thing after the production and that is the audience,
“We started this foundation because of a lack of English language theatre in our region, even though the number of internationals in our city is huge and still growing.”
By selling out their first production, Pride and Prejudice, photograph from the performance below, Esther proved the need for her organisation many times over.
Esther is very inspiring and aspirational. She thinks long term as well as short. Her values are sky high,
“I believe it is important that the creative arts are accessible for all young children in the Netherlands, since an an interest in creative arts can already be triggered at a young age. Creative talent should be discovered and supported when they are still young. Prinses Christina Concours is a great example of a Dutch organisation that makes music accessible to kids and stimulates musical talent to develop themselves. It is the responsibility of parents and educational institutions to introduce kids to different forms of arts.”
I asked what one thing would she would introduce to promote the creative arts in the Netherlands. She is indeed aspirational!
“I believe it is important for the arts should be considered an important part of children’s education. Therefore, I really hope to be able to bring our English theatre to schools in the future to have them enjoy the magic of theatre and let them feel how incredibly fun and meaningful it can be to make art together.”
Finally I asked what plays were coming up in the near future and which would suit the English speaking audience?
“Our next play – Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile – will be in English. Death on the Nile will play in theatre De Berenkuil in Utrecht next February 8th, 9th and 10th. Follow our Facebook page to keep informed about ticket sales. Last year, tickets were sold out within a week, so do not wait too long.”
Utrecht is lucky to have Esther and the volunteers at the Theatre. You should all attend.
Pride & Prejudice photographs courtesy of photographer Leonard Schmal.
Will you be visiting the new production next year?
What English language performances would you like to see?
Would you like to be involved?
Contact the Theatre via their Facebook page and the plays and gain an insight into the dramatic work displayed.
Esther van der Werf gives permission for her photograph to be shown.