Why Theater !? XL at Het Huis

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Brigit Calls at Het Huis alerted me to another interesting event to be held there next week.

Why Theater !? XL is a discussion evening where the link between performing arts, society and politics is always central. 4 October sees a discussion centring upon autonomy, artistic freedom and responsibility. They will ask how do artists reflect on the world around them and how is art itself influenced by social reality?

It has never been a better time to talk about freedom of speech. It has been a continuous topic of conversation recently. The focus of the discussion is where the boundary lies between freedom of expression and insult. What responsibility does someone who makes a public expression have with regard to the recipient? With which sensibilities, power relations and social circumstances do they as a moral person have to consider if they express an opinion? We also begin to question what is truth? The rise of so called Fake news is there in front of us. Who can we believe? Our politicians? Can Theatre give us the truth? When we speak what do we actually say and who is listening?

Fascinating and deep stuff! I think this is a great event to attend to find out what these proponents think, but also to ask yourself the same questions. How does this affect you? Ask them questions get involved in the discussion.

This type of conversation also plays an increasingly important role in the performing arts. It raises the question about whether it is the intention of the artist leading, or should it consider the existing sensitivities surrounding certain signs and codes?

In the public debate, making your voice / opinion heard means being prepared to talk about your point of view. They ask what about the artist? What is ‘artistic freedom’, and responsibility in the 21st century?

Taking part will be Frank Mineur, who will make the introductions.

Frank Mineur works as a teacher at the drama academy in Maastricht. He is a member of the research group Autonomy & Publicity where he investigates the tension between the ideal of autonomy of theatre and the desire of the theatre to be of influence in public.

The discussion will be moderated by Anthony Heidweiller, who is the artistic director of Operamakers.

The invited speakers are:

Lara Staal, who is a researcher, writer and curator. Since 2017 she has been working as a freelance curator in the performing arts and has developed “The Evening of Anger” together with rapper Gideon Everduim and “Europe on Trial” together with human rights activist Yoonis Osman Nuur.

Erwin Jans, who is currently a dramaturge at Toneelhuis (Antwerp). He teaches theatre and drama at Artesis University College Antwerp. He publishes on theatre, literature and culture in eg Eutopia , Etcetera , Rekto, Verso and nY. Last year he published an anthology of the work of Flemish playwright and director Tone Brulin.

And Frank Mineur.

Why Theater XL is a collaboration between Het Huis Utrecht and the Theatre Studies department of Utrecht University (Media and Cultural Sciences department). The programme focuses on current and relevant topics in theatre and performance and brings theory and practice together.

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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