Afra Ernst - My religion doesn't define me
Choreographer Afra Ernst was born in Indonesia and grew up in the Netherlands. Despite having grown up in a Muslim family, she still struggles to practice her faith in a way that suits her while coping with the many prejudices of her environment. Dressed in white, the colour of neutrality, Afra goes on a quest to explore her relationship with religion.
ARK, the mobile artwork
The square features a large ark, a mobile vehicle in the form of a boat created by artist Ruben Arents. Over the course of ARK Utrecht, the ark will be transformed into a colourful flagship containing locals' valuable lessons for the future. Every visitor can add a flag with their own answer to the question 'Which valuable lessons will you be taking on board for the future?' A stage at the centre of the ark will host the ARK Radio talk show and other performances.
Theatre artists Linda Bosch, Jordy Roeten, Veerle van Dieren and Marieke Heerema ventured into six of Utrecht's neighbourhoods in search of residents with hopeful stories. They managed to find an ARK Ambassador in each neighbourhood; a local resident whose commitment to their neighbourhood makes everyone proud. Sara and Esther from Lunetten, Ahmet from Kanaleneiland, Sabiet from Leidsche Rijn, Dwight from Ondiep, Adam from Overvecht and Wafae from Lombok. Utrecht-based illustrator Joozy Art created portraits of the ambassadors. Pick up a free copy of the ARK Newspaper with stories and portraits of the ambassadors at the square. In the newspaper you will also find inspiring quotes from these figureheads in response to the question "What from the past year will you take with you into the future?"
Our theater makers have spoken to a lot of local residents. Read here the quotes/inspiring answers from more residents of Utrecht.
ARK Wish Bar
You may have seen us out and about, asking people to take part in the ARK greeting card relay. We asked local residents to write their wishes for a fellow local on a postcard. Did you already get a postcard with a wish? If not, visit our Wish Bar to receive a personal wish from a fellow resident of Utrecht. You can then write down your wishes for someone else on an empty card. Visit this mobile bar - organised in cooperation with Resto van Harte - and get a free snack or drink in exchange for your wish!
BANKRA BIKE SOUNDSYSTEM & Social Dance Club
Bounce to tracks from every corner of the world. You'll be sure to hear the Bankra Bike DJ crew approaching from far away as the ark arrives in your neighbourhood! DJing from sound systems on bicycles, they play tropical and global bass: world music with some serious beats. The crew will join forces with the Social Dance Club for a party at the end of each neighbourhood programme: groove along from the comfort of your own seat.
Betina Abi Habib – ARK Petition
Artist Betina Abi Habib will be at the square collecting signatures for her ''No First Class Travel on the Ark'' campaign. She believes everyone should be able to board the ARK as equals. You can sign the petition to show your support for a future without discrimination. Once all the signatures have been collected, the petition will be raised in the form of a flag, marking the end of the festival.
Five young musicians from BUI drew inspiration from their environment, travelling through all the city's neighbourhoods on behalf of ARK Utrecht. They managed to blend music, spoken word and dance with the sound of the birds and wind and the sunlight shining through the trees. Expect to see your own neighbourhood in a new light.
De Dansers – If you can stand on it, it's a floor
Utrecht-based dance company De Dansers will be closing ARK Utrecht with an exciting performance about trust. Two people lifting each other up in the air, supporting each other and playfully daring each other, all on a 2 by 3 metre carpet. They both need one another, but who is really helping who here?
DOX - Symphony of 21
We now live in a world where it's no longer normal to dance together. Still, people are always eager to party, touch each other and celebrate life. Step into the DOX nightclub and enjoy a hypnotic mix of European and African/Oeghan music: we're all one big family for a night. Let the beat take you on a journey and feel the energy: this is what we've been missing so much!
Rapper Dwinna has already reached one million streams on Spotify and was FunX's featured artist of the week in 2019. Now, he's set to perform on the ARK stage. Born in Amsterdam but raised in Ondiep/Zuilen, he released an EP/mixtape entitled 'Ondiep'. Dwinna is active in the neighbourhood and city, and uses his music to bring people - especially kids - together and highlight Utrecht's diversity. Bounce along to this rapper from our very own city.
Guiot Duermeijer - Between the cracks
Listen to people's stories about the year of the pandemic. Guiot has created a sound installation for ARK to mark the end of a lonely period. Listen to Utrecht locals' relatable lockdown experiences, filled with moments of despair and relief.
iona&rineke - YOU AND 899 OTHER PEOPLE FIT RIGHT IN HERE
There are so many feelings we all share but never talk about. For example, that feeling of loneliness you can experience when surrounded by a large crowd of people. You will receive a booklet, a pen and a mirror that you can attach to the artwork. By the end of the ARK Utrecht event, we will have created an artwork that reflects us all.
Nieuw Utrechts Toneel - Over coffee
This intimate performance in a living room near the ark involves an awkward encounter over coffee. A story about loneliness, social divides and connection, based on conversations with residents at Rijnsche Maan, a shelter for mentally vulnerable people whose lives have been (temporarily) turned upside down. Over coffee can be painfully familiar, but is mainly comforting and engaging. It inspires the audience to visit someone over coffee more often.
The performance will take place in a living room at walking distance from the ARK Square, with space for a small number of audience members. Free tickets are available at the square.
A talk show for every neighbourhood: listen live or from the comfort of your home. Host Dorothy Blokland and our neighbourhood ambassadors welcome different local residents to discuss their experiences during the pandemic and outlook for the future. With performances by local artists including Catching Cultures Orchestra, Jeugdorkest Leidsche Rijn and rapper Dwinna. Radio ARK is broadcast live from the Ark on the festival site or can be enjoyed at home via a Facebook livestream from @springutrecht.
Stut Theater - From up close
You can meet Elias, Ricardo or Christiaan up close in a large cube of mirrors measuring two by two metres. The three men share personal stories about their own feelings of loneliness. You can also join in a life-size game of Jenga, listen to audio stories or draw a portrait of the person you're sharing the cube with.
This performance will be held for a small number of audience members. Free tickets are available at the square.
Future Encounters - developed by Liedfs
What are you taking on board for the future? Various artists will be waiting by the ARK with trays full of pens, pencils and felt-tip pens, ready to talk with local residents and discuss their dreams, desires and ideas about the future. The artists will transform your own personal story into a work of art: a poem or drawing that you can then take home with you as a souvenir. A pocket-sized piece of the future.