het Theater Festival

What would you wish Kaaitheater for its 40th birthday?

di 05 sep 2017


On Tuesday September 5th, it will be exactly 40 years from the first day of the first Kaaitheater Festival. Founded in 1977 by Hugo de Greef with an aim to nurture and support emerging theatre endeavors of that time, it became one of the biggest pillars of what was considered the alternative and
independent scene.

Nina Vurdelja

Even though its mission has changed over decades, its place in Belgian theatre landscape remains undisputable. Five festivals organized between 1977 and 1985 marked a birth of a new era and history in the making. In ‘the prospect of a new theatre climate in Flanders’, Jan Decorte, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Jan Fabre, and Jan Lauwers took their place at this festival next to Gerardjan Rijnders, Jürgen Gosch, The Wooster Group and Steve Paxton.

The last Kaaitheater festival from 1985 brought an ambition to evolve into a committed year-long theatre operation at the national level and more. This was the time when bigger changes first had started inside the already established house. In 1983 Kaaitheater obtained its first home, in an old Etoile brewery, nowadays the house of Kaaistudios; in 1988 Kaaitheater and the Flemish artists’ association Schaamte merged. New theatre productions were starting to be organized across the city of Brussels, and an urge for their own theatre infrastructure was growing. In 1993, Kaaitheater moved to the Lunatheater. In 1998, Johan Reyniers took over the leading position from Hugo de Greef, with Kaaitheater continuing its artistic service and production twofold, at the Lunatheater and Kaaistudios.

In its transition and negotiation between an artist’s centre and an art house, Kaaitheater has been shaping a non-profit, independent theatre, in the same time re-positioning itself in the milieu of the institutional scene and progressive performing policies on the domestic and international scale. Its productions deal closely with burning societal issues and engage new audiences, yet keeping old ones. In that way, it devotedly gathers and takes care of the community of theatre makers and admirers.

Make sure you show up at the birthday celebration (with the cake!), this Tuesday at 5pm in Kaaicafe! Next to the event on September 5th, the Kaaitheater prepared a three day anniversary program from the 3rd to the 7th of October, details to be announced soon.

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