Aftermovie SPRING 2022


This was SPRING 2022 - we are reminiscing about a wonderful tenth edition!.Thanks so much to all artists, partners, volunteers and audience!!


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Geslaagde tiende editie SPRING Succesful tenth edition SPRING

Last Saturday, the tenth edition of SPRING Performing Arts Festival concluded with the exceptional dancers of Brazilian company Grupo de Rua led by choreographer Bruno Beltrão. With 20 different performances, SPRING 2022 once again paid attention to both international and...


Succesful tenth edition SPRING


Last Saturday, the tenth edition of SPRING Performing Arts Festival concluded with the exceptional dancers of Brazilian company Grupo de Rua led by choreographer Bruno Beltrão. With 20 different performances, SPRING 2022 once again paid attention to both international and Utrecht makers and the connection we have with technology today.

Grzegorz Reske, artistic director SPRING: "SPRING 2022 showed us again that live art is about more than just presenting ready-made productions. It is about meeting and exchange. There were inspiring encounters between artists, moving encounters with audience and enlightening cross-generational exchanges. SPRING proved to be a space where we could practice, discuss and redefine our social closeness by creating a community that wants to think more deeply and look beyond. SPRING was as much about celebration and joy as it was about learning and reflection. We hope to continue to provide that in the future."

Check out the aftermovie here!

Still to be seen in Utrecht
Two of the audience favourites of SPRING 2022 can still be seen in Utrecht after the festival. Dries Verhoeven's The NarcoSexuals, a glimpse into the bittersweet world of sexual drug use, can be seen until 6 June at the Wisselspoorterrein near the Ping Pong Club. And the blisteringly rousing Eros by Schweigman& and DOX can be seen until May 26 at Locomotiefstraat 8.  

SPRING in Autumn 2022
In collaboration with Stadsschouwburg Utrecht, SPRING presents the sixth edition of SPRING in Autumn from 27 to 29 October. The program includes Moroccan choreographer Khalid Benghrib, Irish actor Barry McGovern and German performance collective She She Pop. The full program of SPRING in Autumn 2022 will be announced shortly.


Photo: Anna van Kooij
Video: Dominique Fraanje

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Cobie de Vos interim managing director SPRING


We are pleased to announce that Cobie de Vos will serve as SPRING's interim managing director. As of June 13, Cobie de Vos will succeed the current director Jeltsje In der Rieden, who will leave the organization after seven years. Cobie de Vos will remain interim managing director until October 31, 2022. In the coming period, we will take the time to find a permanent managing director. It's our wish the new director will start from October 1. The vacancy for this position will be published shortly.

Cobie de Vos has an extraordinary experience in business management and also broad recognition of the Utrecht performing arts sector. She was director of Huis en Festival a/d Werf. She led the successful transition from Huis a/d Werf to Het Huis Utrecht, where she subsequently served as general manager for nine years. She was also involved in the merger of Festival a/d Werf and Springdance into the SPRING Performing Arts Festival as we know it today.

Grzegorz Reske, artistic director SPRING: “Management change is always a challenging moment for organizations. I am very pleased that Cobie agreed to take on the role of interim. She has been an important support to me since I arrived in Utrecht and has helped me to better understand the local context. With her knowledge and experience, the organization will gain a major asset to get through the transition period."

Tanja Mlaker, chair of the SPRING Supervisory Board: “We are delighted that Cobie de Vos will be able to lead SPRING together with artistic director Grzegorz Reske in the coming months, working on the next edition of SPRING in Autumn and preparing plans for 2023.”

Cobie de Vos: “It is special to be part of the organization ten years after SPRING was founded. I look forward to shaping SPRING in Autumn with the team and continuing to work on the festival's ambitions.”

Photo: Nadine van de Berg

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Blog: SOUTHWIND - Maxime Berthou, Mark Požlep and Davis Freeman

This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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Blog: Presence - Royce Ng

This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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Blog: There Will Be Light - Julian Hetzel


A blog by reporter Migle Markulyte

Money. We think about it so much, but do we actually know what we need it for?

What is your first memory related with money?

Mine is crashing a piggy bank. Saving up day by day, waiting till it fills up with the coins that are secretly handed to me by my grandmother or the occasional pocket money that is supposed to be spent on candies... I remember dreaming about things I would buy and getting frustrated by it never filling up. Finally, after many ideas that changed over time about how the money should be spent, the piggy is slaughtered. The rattling metal mass is pouring out of piggy’s belly – a bag of grey and yellow coins, which were so precious then, hardly make a reasonable amount now. So many cones of ice-cream missed. At least my baby teeth were saved from cavity… 

“Inflation” - states the jury member, who was living in the street before this project brought him into the set of installation. We are sitting on the chairs, our feet are resting on the heap of sand, thousands of grains, which are reflecting in the mirror walls around us. The endless tunnels of parallel mirrors and countless reflections reminds me of the infinite possibilities of every moment. And the person in front of me, a real-life character which you could never expect to be an interviewer, is going to decide if I could be one of the lucky ones who will get a chance to compete for 15 000 euros. 

What would be the first thing you would buy if you got 15 000 euros?

Another participant, after sharing his memory about first pocket money spent on candy, confesses that he would get cigarettes and good wine.

Each participant is confronted with a question: what would you do, if you didn’t have to care about money for a year? 

As our conversation is evolving, I’m running out of the ideas and a realisation begins to dawn on me, that actually, I do not know. Would it really change my life? Can I imagine a reality in which money does not play a role?
Not yet. And maybe that’s why I care about it so much.

I am allowed to give one question to my interviewer.

I ask him why is he here.

He answers me that it was money that he needed.

Though, was it really?

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Blog: Sunny Sunday - Rabih Mroué en Lina Majdalanie


A blog by Natalia Sedeleva

And I said to myself what a terrible world

Once upon a time, two Lebanese artists agreed to create a performance about Poland. It came out quite political. Or it didn’t.

Performance Sunny Sunday tells the story of one political event that took place in Poland in 2016 in a very colourful, yet minimalistic way. During the performance, a spectator is watching two artists changing roles accompanied by a photo, video, and audio sequence. Despite minimalism (which is expressed in the absence of any props or costumes), artists manage to demonstrate versatile extents of the story, moving from one extreme and exaggeration to another, from traditional storytelling methods to hilariously entertaining satire.

Fiction or non-fiction. To trust or not to trust. As artists highlight it themselves, “based on true events, this performance is purely fictional”. And yet, it can open your eyes to the ways political agenda or propaganda is being made in a very real way. By creating what can be called a one big theatre caricature of the creation of lies, Rabih and Lina show how truth can be twisted even when facts were clearly documented. To the point of one character saying, “And I said to myself what a terrible world”, since he was shocked to what extent his expectations were disappointed by the media creating a completely different image of the event. The truth as a metaphor accompanies performative characters as ghosts, reflecting as well on a fairytale tradition of storytelling, showing how the same story can be distinctively told by different people.

Was it really a sunny Sunday? Or maybe it was a snowy Friday? The audience could decide for itself during the after talk organized by the performance philosopher. And from the feedback that I’ve heard it doesn’t matter whether it was Poland, Lebanon, Hungary, or Russia chilling or stressing on a snowy sunny Monday – similar stories can be found anywhere for everyone to relate to as media will mostly always have influence created by political agenda. But of course, you always can come and watch it to decide for yourself.

You can read more about Sunny Sunday and the “was/wasn’t” narrative here.

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Blog: I am from Reykjavik - Sonia Hughes


Blog by Natalia Sedeleva

Teapot with nails and a bunch of strangers

Where are you from? What brings you here? Was it difficult for you to build a home? What does it mean to be Dutch? Sonia Hughes asks all sorts of questions, creating a metaphor for building a sense of belonging in her performance “I am from Reykjavik”.

For 4 days during the SPRING festival, Sonia Hughes builds and takes down a shelter in different locations. It is not simply a sculpture, but a ceremonial investigation of humans’ identity, entitlement, freedom, and sense of home.

The site for the construction of the sculpture is outlined in yellow lines. In different corners, there are simple pieces of furniture in the colour white oak. In one of the corners stands a flower. Each time, Sonia starts small – she builds a foundation, then walls, windows, and a conditional roof of a small house. Against the background of light wood, bright elements of the construction become clearly visible – purple stripes holding back the beams, a green teapot with nails, as well as Sonya's green dress, developing in the wind like an insatiable force of creation.

Many people pass by. Someone stops only for a second, someone offers help and others sit around in the hope of starting a conversation or asking a question. At the same time, Sonia herself makes sure not only to thank people for offering help but ask them about their stories and ancestors.

It is not a secret that in Utrecht finding a place to live can be quite challenging. The same can be said about immigrants striving to build friendly connections or a sense of belonging in a new environment. How do you begin feeling at home in a new country? What does it mean to be Dutch? The second question is exactly what Sonia asked her Dutch audience – and while some of them believe that being Dutch is not even special enough to talk about it, Sonia finds it amazing that most of them do not mind speaking English all the time. “Everything is relative, she says, when you come to England, local people are very patient and open-minded about foreigners speaking English with mistakes”. While Dutch people, according to the audience, would rather switch to English than listen to a poorly learned native language.

However, no matter where you go and where you come from, there is always a question for you: where are you from? And for that, despite being English, Sonia found just a perfect answer: “I am from Reykjavik”, as on the opposite to many other places, it creates no tension, but simple pure interaction – the same Sonia has with her construction – no bolts, no power tools, just hands and a pure desire to feel home anywhere.

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Blog: The Waves - Khadija El Kharraz Alami


A blog by Molly Field

The Waves, by theatre-maker and performer Khadija El Kharraz Alami, is urgent, ruthless and daring. Crashing together and upon the audience in this open, interactive space; the performers are electric, howling to the heavens for their mothers, a share of power or anything more than this. As El Kharraz Alami explains herself, this experimental piece focuses on the reclaiming of the female space through mourning and celebration - and that is exactly what it feels like. The performers hum, quietly and then deafening all at once - songs of joy or sorrow? Probably both, El Kharraz Alami revelling in spaces of feminine contradiction.

The piece takes many forms, beginning in the fashion of a choose-your-own adventure. The audience are invited to join one of the five performers waiting, solemnly, in different areas of the city. I joined ‘children of the river’ outside Stadsschouwburg Theatre whereby they, quietly, let sand slip from their hands in the warm breeze and into unravelling patterns in the grass below. Against the push of the spitting fountain behind them, the performer twisted and blew with the garden around us, pulling in an audience from beyond the festival; bikes abandoned on the pavement. 

After being led by our child of the river into the theatre space itself, and joined by the rest of the audience and performers, The Waves’ trajectory escalated. In a sprawling stage that screamed earth and ritual, the five artists (including El Kharraz Alami herself) sang, screamed, moaned and whispered in tongues - throwing themself, teeth-baring, towards spectators who sat amongst the set. The piece explored the vast expanses of feminine emotion and really connected with the audience, who laughed, felt and experienced along with them.

This performance was The Waves’ Dutch premiere, performed at Stadsschouwburg as part of the ongoing, performing arts programme of the 2022 SPRING Festival. Our interview with the talented, outspoken El Kharraz Alami can be read here, and our agenda (for other, similarly experimental performances) can be found here

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Blog: If every rock is a hole - Amparo Gonzalez Sola


A blog by Molly Field

Argentinian choreographer Amparo González Sola’s newest piece If Every Rock is a Hole does not shy away from its quietly-deafening potential. Inviting the audience to sit with her in contemplative silence, González Sola explores the bright, white space through a series of gestures, unsettling sequences and seemingly impossible poses. Meditative in practice, the artist stretches, writhing, towards the overhead lights. She is reminiscent of nature, reaching towards the sun for warmth, grounding and visibility. 

As part of a larger project on reciprocity, González Sola locates her piece within discussions questioning colonial and patriarchal thought. I was particularly struck by ideas of voyeurism and female performativity as we, the audience, allowed (and even, willed) González to stretch herself into unnatural shapes for us, all contorted limbs and flexed feet. Shapes that, with desperate exertion, left the artist shaking and avoiding the surrounding eyes. As if privy to her own gender performance, González Sola would often join the audience, sitting amongst the cushions and voyeurs, contemplating.

The performance ended with darkness; liquid ink dripping from González Sola’s pores. The words she did not say but implored us to hear, rendering herself both active and passive, both object and subject, both strong and fragile. 

If Every Rock is a Hole is currently undergoing its Dutch premiere at Theater Kikker, Utrecht, as part of the ongoing, performing arts programme of the 2022 SPRING Festival. To learn more about Gonzalez Sola’s politically-poetic piece, read our interview with the artist here as well as having a browse of the rest of SPRING’s agenda here.

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10th edition SPRING performing Arts Festival started!

This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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Fuck Me - Marina Otero Fuck Me - Marina Otero

Blog written by Tessa Kraijer


The NarcoSexuals - Dries Verhoeven


This information is only avalaible in Dutch.

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Opening Dronude Utrecht Project


This information is only available in Dutch.

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Fuck Me - Marina Otero


This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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Context Programme


This SPRING edition there are different context programs that you can visit next to the regular performances.

Between my name and me

Michikazu Matsune’s ongoing project Between my name and me is based on the simple idea of asking people to share small episodes about their own given names. Full of unspectacularly spectacular anecdotes, these personal stories evolve into a collective portrait of diverse individuals. The project is currently in progress with an aim to result in an installation, book and performance, that features name-stories of 100 people from various cities in the world. Sign up here for a conversation with Michikazu.

Playful Robots

Playful Robots is an interactive installation where participants can interact with robots through movement. Inspired by rule-based dance improvisation, this installation offers the visitor the opportunity to engage in three games with two Pepper robots. No previous experience is required, just the willingness and curiosity to explore how we can move with and alongside machines. Would you like to dance with a robot? Sign up here!

Landing on Feathers

Jija Sohn and Aleksandra Lemm are currently working with Julia Reist on a second instalment of the Landing on Feathers project, in which they continue their exploration of inclusivity and compassion in interhuman relationships and in society. During SPRING Performing Arts Festival they will be sharing their research with the audience and create a very special safe space where the audience is invited to reflect and exchange about care, proximity, and our relationship with the other. Together they aim to discuss all forms of impairment, challenge or discomfort. Are you interested? Click here for more information and sign-up options.



OPEN EXPERT TALKS are in-depth conversations on urgent themes of the SPRING festival. The moderator will talk to artists of the festival. The Talks are there for the curious listener, the critical connaiseur, the student and the professional. They are well combined with visiting performances but you can also visit them separately. The Talks are free of charge and open to everybody.

Feminist Voices

Marina Otero opens SPRING with a powerful feminist statement and that’s not the end. Only in the first weekend work of Khadija El Kharraz Alami, Boukje Schweigman, Mette Ingvartsen is presented. Works that relate to feminism in diverse ways. Under guidance of moderator Arianne Perez-Koeleman, teacher at Utrecht University, Boukje Schweigman and Khadija El Kharraz Alami will talk about the relevance of feminism for their work and vice versa. Read more about Feminist Voices here.

Performing Radical Economies

This year at SPRING you can experience a provoking experiment with radical economies. Studio Julian Hetzel’s new project There Will Be Light repurposes his own cultural funding as a basic income given to one person for one year. In other words: someone will receive €15.000. Something for nothing. Taking this project as a point of departure, we open the discussion around wealth distribution and Universal Basic Income with Julian Hetzel, Denise Harleman from Collectief Kapitaal and Evelyn Wan, Assistant Professor in Media, Arts, and Society in the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University. We welcome anyone to join and think with us. Sign up here!

Postcolonial Performances

How do you, as a theater director, deal with the colonial past and its resonance in the present? How do you work as an antroplogist-choreographer and prevent cultural appropriation? Under the guidance of moderator Amal Alhaag (curator and researcher) makers Choy Ka Fai, Eko Supriyanto and Sadiah Boonstra (curator and historian) will enter a dialogue. Eko and Sadiah will participate via an online connection. At the end of the talk, there will be a viewing of a short documentary Antara Dua Bulan van Arnaud Kokosky Deforchaux and Beyond Walls about the visit of Eko and the dancers of IBUIBU BELU: BODIES OF BORDERS to SPRING in Autumn 2021. You can register for this TALK here.

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Guide Me


Do you have stress of choice and no idea wich SPRING performances will fit you? Use the Guide Me! With our online tool you can answer a number of questions and we will give you personal advise about the performances you must see.

Do you chose familiar territory or ubeaten paths? Do you prefer theater of dance? Wich image appeals to you the most? Go to the Guide Me!

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Jeltjes In der Rieden is leaving SPRING

This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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Naked in Utrecht


This information is only available in Dutch.

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Podcast series SPRING in het diepe


Have you always wondered how the brain of an artist works? After the first two series of the podcast SPRING in het Diepe, art journalist Luuk Heezen gives for the third time a digital, but very intimate exploration of the weird and wonderful ways of thinking of the artists featured at SPRING. Immerse yourself in their world.

This time he will talk to Mette Ingvartsen about her performance The Dancing Public. Next to that, the journalist speaks with Bruno Beltrão (New Creation), Michikazu Matsune (All Together), Eisa Jocson (Manila Zoo) and Ezra Veldhuis & Bosse Provoost (Indoor Weather). What fascination underlies their work? How did the performance take shape? Which scene cost the most blood, sweat and tears? Sit back and let yourself be carried away by the brainwaves of the most eminent creatives. An in-depth conversation that is interesting to hear both before and after seeing the performance. A new episode appears online every Thursday.

You can listen the podcasts here.

Podcast The Dancing Public (Engels)

Podcast Indoor Weather (Dutch)

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Online Magazine 2022


Our digital magazine is online! Dive deeper into the program of the upcoming SPRING Performing Arts Festival through interviews with Julian Hetzel, Khadija El Kharraz Alami, Royce Ng and other performers. Our artistic director Grzegorz Reske tells more about his background and plans. And that's not all! The SPRING team will give you great festival tips and you can read all about one of the most important contemporary choreographers in Latin America: Marina Otero: she opens SPRING this year with her performance Fuck Me. Grab a cup of tea and enjoy! Read the magazine here.

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SPRING celebrates tenth edition with daring program throughout the entire city of Utrecht


The tenth edition of SPRING Performing Arts Festival opens on May 12th with the energetic and powerful performance Fuck Me by Argentinian choreographer Marina Otero in Stadsschouwburg Utrecht.  For ten days, the audience will be introduced to daring, contemporary, raw and politically performances in various theatres and public spaces in Utrecht. SPRING presents a mix of established and young makers. The tenth edition of SPRING Performing Arts Festival will take place from 12 to 21 May.

The festival presents world premieres of different Dutch makers. Dries Verhoeven shows us the bittersweet world of having sex on drugs in The NarcoSexuals. Boukje Schweigman shows us that she is done with all the taboos and clichés surrounding the female sexuality in her latest work. The performance The Waves by Khadija El Kharraz Alami is revolved around female beauty, pain and vulnerability.

The special Dutch premieres are from choreographers Bruno Beltrão (Brazil) and Mette Ingvartsen (Denmark, Belgium). Bruno Beltrão responds to the far-right action of the Bolsonaro management in Brazil with his mix of hip-hop and contemporary dance. In The Dancing Public, Mette Ingvarsten dances off the pandemic by mixing unstoppable movement in an incessant flow of music.

The program also gives attention to the connection that we make remotely nowadays. In Manila Zoo by Filipino creator Eisa Jocson, you will see a unique Zoom performance about forced isolation and consumerism. During the theatrical lecture Presence Royce Ng will be present from a distance, investigating the meaning of what 'presence' exactly is. And for Postcolonial Spirits, Choy Ka Fai delved into the Indonesian dance ritual Dolalak. Vincent Riebeek, who will be live on stage, is connected with Dolalak dancer Andri Kurniawan in Surakarta.

SPRING presents works that are rooted in Utrecht. Nieuwe Helden takes you on a bike ride through the fastest growing city in the Netherlands with an interactive app, The Village Utrecht. For the exhibition Dronude Utrecht Project by drone photographer Tom Durden are hundred naked people pose on an iconic spot in the city center. And finally, theatre maker Julian Hetzel his view on the world with us once again. This time through There Will Be Light, a project about the precarious economy of hope. He took a year income from his own cultural funding and gives it to the lucky someone that will convince a multiheaded jury.

Tickets for SPRING 2022 are now available through where the entire program also can be found. The festival is from 12 to 21 May.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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Mail from Grzegorz #3


A monthly blog by Grzegorz Reske, the new artistic director of SPRING

It has been quite a while since I planned a new entry for my SPRING blog. And the topic I’d planned was completely different. But 24 February changed the scope and dynamic of the topic, and my perspective on it.

I am writing these words as the invasion of the Russian Federation army on Ukraine moves into its third week. I don’t know what the situation will be when this text comes back from translation, or when it is published on the website. I can only pray that Ukraine will stand in resistance, and that there will be no more grim news from there.

I have spent these last two weeks in growing schizophrenia between the reality on my social media and the reality outside my window. I moved to the Netherlands from eastern Poland, and over the past years I’ve travelled across Ukraine many times, for art related reasons and non-art related ones. The reality of war takes on a different dimension when the pictures of ruined buildings are actually places you once visited; when the faces of the people fleeing the horrors of war, or those of the unfortunate victims, are the faces of your friends. Your response to the violence of the invasion, to the horror of the refugees and the absurdity of war - all of these are much more personal. And between anxiety about the lives of friends, and anger towards the aggressors, reflection grows. Did we do all we could to avoid this war? ‘We’ meaning European society, the artistic community? Is our response today different from our responses to other wars that we’ve observed from a distance over the last decades? Is our fear bigger this time, because the bombs are falling much too close to our safe and comfortable houses? Is this war any different from all the other wars? Or is it rooted like all others in the still-not-accomplished postcolonial reality and the comfortable wealth of the western world?

I don’t have any smart answers on how to react to today’s tragedy. As much as we manifest our partnership with the Ukrainian community and stress the place of Ukraine in European society - we did not listen carefully enough to Ukrainian artists. If we had, we would have heard their fear of the coming terror. And also, had we looked carefully into Ukrainian culture, we wouldn’t be so surprised by their determination and resistance.

We turn away from misery and terror, yet war is more a reality then an exception. Who wants to remember the victims of the Balkan Wars? The annexation of the Crimea? Or the underground terrorist attacks in Brussels, Paris and London, or state terrorist actions in London or Berlin (the last two orchestrated by the same decision makers sending troops to Kyiv today).

No matter how difficult it is to think about art in times of war, I believe art hasn’t lost its transgressive power. We may have forgotten how to use it, but it is still there. We desperately need to look for narratives that explain, warn and offer solutions. And we need artists who are deeply rooted in our communities, to help us name the dangers and practice hope. They will help us understand ourselves, by understanding our neighbours. Partnerships with such artists have always been among the goals of SPRING, and I truly believe we need even more such partnerships in the near future. We need to understand what Europe is, what the world is, today when Ukraine is fighting to hold onto European values.

And even though we cannot predict the state of the world within the next eight weeks, I hope the upcoming SPRING festival will also be an opportunity to discuss how to do it together. For the sake of those values, people in Ukraine (as well as so many other places around the world) are giving too many of their lives.

Picture by Anna van Kooij

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About the Festival Campaign

written by designer Sacha van den Haak / LAVA
In the past decade, the ways in which we interact started to change, with the past two years as an accelerator: there is no need to travel to see each other, we can find one another online. Covid-19 made it difficult to come together and experience each other in the same space. Now that it is possible again, we wonder which space we can take up.
Online we are in constant contact with the world, but as a result we need to process a lot of images and impressions every day. We can lose ourselves in the ‘infinite scroll’ and therefore think less consciously about each other and ourselves: are you there?
We use these elements as fuel for the interactive campaign of SPRING Performing Arts Festival 2022. We ask the question where you, as a passer-by and spectator, really are and ask you to help build a new living statue. Images of you and other contributors won’t compete with each other for attention, but need one another to achieve their full glory. We have to do it together.
We developed an application where visitors can upload images of their bodies and contribute to a living statue. This creates a geamtkunstwerk, a place where we can come together and build something. We leave a part of ourselves behind with which we show that we were there, and thus claim space: I am here.
The living statue is a body full of visuals curated by the contributors, and is used as a campaign image. This is how the SPRING 2022 campaign belongs to all of us.

Contribute and upload your image:

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Mail from Grzegorz #2


A monthly blog by Grzegorz Reske, the new artistic director of SPRING

In my life there’s a certain scenario that will repeat itself every now and then. Often in a new constellation of acquaintances, the moment I tell people that I work for a festival, I’ll hear this phrase: “That’s cool! So what do you do the rest of the year?”.

Sure, when we look at it from the outside, a festival is this bombastic, once-a-year moment (one, two or three weeks) when it forms this exceptional presence in the city. But to deliver this momentary eruption of events takes a lot of work – some of it visible, but even more of it invisible. Preparations start months in advance, and further work awaits long after the last piece of scenography is taken down from the stage and the last light has dimmed. SPRING’s core team works year-round, doing production work, providing the logistics and technical support, and curating and communicating the programme.

SPRING was never a shopping mall where readymade productions have been displayed. It is a festival that not only presents artists, but supports them first and foremost, so that together we create the best conditions for their work. And so that this work raises the most essential questions for our times, and resonates best with the current state of debate among the local communities around us.

This is also why new work that we plan to present during the festival is often created in conversation with us, and with us working alongside the artists. 2022 is no exception. Some works that will open during SPRING in May are now in development somewhere far away, in artists’ studios. But others are in development right here, among the Utrecht community. And these often need direct input from Utrecht society if they are to have a strong and legitimate voice.

Before the final photograph of the Dronude Utrecht Project is displayed, Tom Durden will create a temporary community of voluntary models to make a group portrait of the Utrecht communities today. And before Julian Hetzel can set up his ‘There Will Be Light’ installation, dozens of people in the city will be approached and asked for their contribution to this social experiment that will take place during all the festival days. Another project which has already been conducting a comprehensive research all across Utrecht is ‘The Village’ by Stichting Nieuwe Helden. The company has been here since late fall, collaborating with SPRING. In partnership with community centres and libraries, Nieuwe Helden have been mapping the city and the story of its current growth and development. They have been reaching out to some of us living in Utrecht, looking for the most vital stories. As the final outcome of the project, visitors will go on an audio tour in which they are led though the city, tale by tale, by people from Utrecht.

In each of these works, anyone can be a contributor, before becoming an audience member. Each of these works originated around us and went into development long before the first flags across the city appear, to mark another edition of the festival. They will be presented along with many other artistic projects that are being prepared, or that are already touring, all around the Netherlands, Europe, and the world.

We are preparing a full programme that will encourage us to celebrate the Utrecht community, and to discuss together what we can do to create a better society and make the world we live in a better place.

Picture by Anna van Kooij

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Samira Elagoz wins Silver Lion at Biënnale di Venezia


We are very proud! Samira Elagoz has won the Silver Lion at the Biennale di Venezia for SEEK BROMANCE! This cinematic performance about a romance between two transmasculine individuals was produced by SPRING (with the help of the FPK New Maker grant) and was shown at last SPRING in Autumn 2021.

"Investigating the effects of love, gender, femininity, desire, its consequent annihilation and the brutal covert power plays, Samira Elagoz embarks on a journey that is intimate and poetic, yet ironic and perturbing at the same time, exploring the clichés and issues that concern not only self-representation in the media, the behaviour of the male in his attempts at seduction in a relationship of domination and/or submission, as well as the tool-body as the terrain for a necessary and inevitable artistic experimentation," thus the jury.

SEEK BROMANCE can still be seen in Frascati Theater and Theater Rotterdam.

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Mail from Grzegorz #1


One morning, almost six months ago, I was sitting in an airplane slowly descending towards a heavily overcast Amsterdam. I was slightly distracted with the fact that I forgot to bring waterproof clothes from home, and at the same time my mind was occupied by the unusual nature of my trip. Not only was this my first flight in a long time, due to the  lockdowns and consecutive waves of the pandemic, but my final destination was also very special. Just a few days earlier I had received a phone call from Utrecht telling me that, after an extensive three-month process, I had been chosen as the new artistic director of SPRING. When the shapes and contours of Schiphol and its surroundings slowly came into view, I took my first look at this landscape not as visitor, but as someone who would be moving here soon. I was looking at my new home.

If you travel a lot to the same places, you’ll know that some of those places offer their visitors specific sensory experiences. And you can sometimes be mentally transported back to those locations through the same impulse. The smell of rotten oranges always takes me back to Tel Aviv airport, while my first encounter with Venice will always be marked by this unique punch of humidity when I first exited the airplane. There is no particular smell or physical experience I associate with Amsterdam airport. However, there is a unique trademark. When you step into the terminal building, you will be told to “mind your step” numerous times. A friendly and melodic voice delivers the warning. The notion of care for passengers, for me, had a special meaning this time. As it still did whenever I have returned to Amsterdam from my trips over the past six months.

I am slowly landing in my new reality. I am trying to map the local artistic community and understand the Utrecht audience. I’m trying to grasp the genius loci of my new hometown. I’m trying to understand the festival itself - the identity that has to be protected and the elements in it that could be changed.

And with each step of my new daily routines, I keep hearing the sparkly Schiphol Airport voice: “Mind your step”. I arrived at Utrecht with new ideas and plenty of energy to make changes. But I also arrived with a deep respect for what has been established here over the past ten years, and a sense of humility towards the local context which I have yet to grasp and acquaint myself with.

This process is an exciting journey in itself. In this blog, I would like to share some images, thoughts and ideas from my journey with you. And also slowly reveal new topics, concepts and artists I’d like to invite for encounters with the Utrecht audience. I hope this blog will help me articulate my thoughts and discuss the relevant role of SPRING over the next years with the festival community – audiences and artists.

I also hope at this will not be a one-way conversation. With this blog I’d like to encourage you to write to me, or come up to talk to me and share your thoughts about art and society, or Utrecht and its communities. I will be more than happy to hear from you. You can reach me at And it will help me, for sure, to settle better among you.

Picture by Anna van Kooij

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Post van Grzegorz #2 Mail from Grzegorz #2

A monthly blog by Grzegorz Reske, the new artistic director of SPRING


Aftermovie SPRING in Autumn 2021


We are reminiscing SPRING in Autumn and we would like to share this feeling with you too! So here's the aftermovie!

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 Het dubbele perspectief van Benjamin Kahn The different perspectives of Benjamin Kahn

In this interview dancer, choreographer and theatre maker Benjamin Kahn talks about his performance “Sorry, But I Feel Slightly Disidentified…”, representation and power relations.


Together - Leja Jurišić en Marko Mandić


This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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Common Ground - Anouk van Dijk


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The Ecstatic - Jeremy Nedd en Impilo Mapantsula


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Ensaio Para Uma Cartografia


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Ensaio Para Uma Cartografia - Monica Calle


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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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any attempt will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones - Jan Martens


Silence. A boy, almost a man approaches the audience alone. The emptiness seeps into the stage's foundations. Suddenly, the sound of loud violins creates a demagogic atmosphere in the theater, and the performance gains a great surge of energy. There's silence once more, but this time it's in the audience rather than on the stage. Everyone knows it began, but they are too astonished to believe it. The entire performance of Jan Martens' "Any attempt will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones" may be described as "shocking."

Jan Maartens, a Belgian choreographer, stages a protest with seventeen performers ranging in age from 15 to 68. He communicates with their bodies, which is a different, probably more informative language than words. Every motion is planned to convey a story that will leave people with more than just a few words in their heads. Not only are the movements fascinating, but so is the thought behind them. Jan Maartens began construction with the intention of staging a large-scale protest, which he did - here, on the stage. There are no words, only the body.Many social and political topics in today's society are addressed in the show. Polarisation, prejudice, and racism were all addressed in the most effective way possible, with very few or no words.

The performance states the main problems, which have to be solved, but people, simply don't care about them or care too less, because for most of us it doesn't make any impact. But for some it does. And the message is for everyone to understand that we are not living alone, there are millions of problems and other people, who don't feel the way we do and it needs changes.       Performance identifies the most pressing issues that must be addressed, but people either don't care or care too little about them because they have no impact on the majority of us. However, for some people, it does. And the message is for everyone to realize that we are not alone; there are millions of problems and people who do not feel the same way we do, and things need to change. A man moves around the stage, dancing and seemingly praising life, seemingly unconcerned about the world's devastation in the background. This scene is the perfect example of that.

One of the scenes used the performer's seductive voice to discuss the issues and how governments around the world rely on us being intoxicated by what they say. And the audience on stage marched in lockstep, making the identical symmetrical movements as if they were one person. It is a way of life for us. Is there, however, a solution? We, I feel, are the solution.

The crowd was not left unsatisfied after an hour and a half. Five minutes of standing ovation speaks a lot about it. After the performance, a part of me craved to see more and more of that breathtaking view. I needed to think about what a wonderful piece of art I was a part of for another two hours after the show ended. The performers put everything they had into making the show as appealing as possible. Sometimes it appeared that one or more dancers might shatter a section of their body, as the show's title suggests. I always count a show good if after the performance I need to think about it for more than one hour. This time one night was not enough to reflect on me. Just a few words are running in my head now: "We are the difference“.


Written by Rokas Kovalevskis

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Interview with Monica Calle


“I began by stripping everything away, from text to costumes, until I came closer and closer to the essence: challenge, effort, and emotion. We try to work with disciplines we are not trained in, like dance and classical music. We see where it takes us, and observe what is left at the core, both artistically and personally.”

Curious about the whole article about Ensaio para uma cartografia? Read it here. 

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Interview with Leja Jurišić en Marko Mandić


“I’d like our show to change our perspective on everything around us. We challenge ourselves with new desires and new ideas for the future out there.”

Click here to read the full interview with Leja Jurišić and Marko Mandić.

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LHaal by Khalid Benghrib cancelled


Due to new COVID measures from the Moroccan government, Khalid Benghrib's company cannot fly to the Netherlands. Unfortunately, it was also not possible to travel via an alternative route. To our great regret, we therefore have to cancel the L'Haal performance on Wednesday, October 27, 8.30 p.m. L'Haal was the opening performance of SPRING in Autumn.

We now open the festival with the performance IBUIBU BELU: Bodies of Borders by Indonesian choreographer Eko Supriyanto at 8.30 pm on Wednesday 27 October. IBUIBU BELU: Bodies of Borders was already scheduled for Wednesday, October 27 at 7pm. The start time has been changed to 8:30 PM.

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Interview with Samira Elagoz


“Seek Bromance is originally a 2010 Avicii song with a music video of two bros going on a road trip with a third wheel chick. I feel like that could be the tagline of my work.”

Click here to read the interview with Samira Elagoz about Seek Bromance.

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Interview with Andrea Božić en Julia Willms (TILT)


“We didn’t invite the moon, the moon invited us.”

Click here to read the interview about How To Exit A Reality (Attempt 1 of 19) with choreographers Andrea Božić and Julia Willms (TILT).

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Interview with Khalid Benghrib


When I think about what I want to share with the public, it is certainly not an idea or a concept. No, quite the opposite — I want to share the sensation of being connected." Khalid Benghrib.

Curious about the whole interview with the choreographer? Read it in the SPRING in Autumn magazine.

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SPRING in het diepe


If you like to listen to a podcast during your daily walk, bike ride or cooking session, you definitely don't want to miss the podcast series SPRING in het diepe! In the run-up to the festival, we'll be sharing one every week, but this week you're in luck, because there are already two online! Art journalist Luuk Heezen has asked makers Jan Martens and Kate McIntosh exactly the questions that you as a visitor to their performances would also like to know. Earplugs in and jump in at the deep end!

Listen to the podcasts here.

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SPRING in Autumn Magazine


We also have a digital magazine for SPRING in Autumn that you can dive into. It's packed with interviews, background information and fun facts about our makers and this edition of the festival. This way you can read about what we have to offer from 27 to 31 October. Grab a cup of tea and read the magazine here. Enjoy!

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ARK Utrecht


ARK Utrecht was a gift from Utrecht to Utrecht!

With local artists, makers and performers, but of course also the residents and visitors, we made it an unforgettable city celebration that traveled around six Utrecht neighborhoods in four days.

Here's the aftermovie, so you can reminisce.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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Ticket sale SPRING in Autumn has started!


SPRING in Autumn, the international theater and dance festival of Stadsschouwburg Utrecht and SPRING will take place this year from 27 to 31 October at various locations in Utrecht. With world premieres by Andrea Božić & Julia Willms and Samira Elagoz. The SPRING program in Autumn 2021 is built around ideas about community and togetherness, something we have missed so much in the corona time. From new rituals inspired by Moroccan, Indonesian and South African dance traditions to a six-hour performance about what connects us.

The full program is announced and ticket sales have started! SPRING in Autumn 2021 is bigger than usual with 11 productions, two extra days and multiple locations in Utrecht.

Buy your tickets here.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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Grzegorz Reske new Artistic Director SPRING


Grzegorz Reske is the new Artistic Director of SPRING. He starts with the performing arts festival in Utrecht from 1 June. Reske (Lublin, 1980) is active in the performing arts as a curator, producer and dramaturg, living and working in Warsaw over the past years. In the course of his career he has been actively involved in various local and international projects with a focus on the development of independent performing arts.


SPRING’s Board of Supervisors is pleased to announce Reske as the successor to Rainer Hofmann, who was with the festival organisation for almost a decade. Reske will be Executive Director alongside Jeltsje In der Rieden, SPRING’s Business Director. From May 20 until 29, SPRING Performing Arts Festival took place as a test event, after two (partially) cancelled festival editions. Reske was introduced on the closing night of the festival, on Saturday 29 May before the start of the show TANZ by Florentina Holzinger.
Tanja Mlaker, Chair of SPRING’s Board of Supervisors on hiring Grzegorz Reske: 'With the appointment of Reske, a new phase begins for SPRING. The Board of Supervisors is convinced that with his extensive knowledge and network, he will strengthen and deepen SPRING’s position as an international festival that is very much alive and involved. The foundations laid by Rainer Hofmann form a firm basis for the future, while the current times bring with them a host of new questions and challenges.’

Reske is honoured to have been appointed. ‘For years, SPRING has been a benchmark for me in my work as a curator. It is a blueprint for a cutting-edge institution that reimagines what art can do within a society. SPRING is a finely tuned organism born from observing the needs and expectations of audiences, communities, and artists, which leads them into fruitful mutual encounters. I am deeply honoured to have been given the opportunity to serve SPRING as Artistic Director: it is one of the most exciting professional challenges in the contemporary performing arts landscape I can imagine.’


About Grzegorz Reske

Between 2013-2017, Grzegorz Reske and Marta Keil were responsible for a new concept for the Konfrontacje Teatralne Festival in Lublin. During the years of their curatorship, the festival was embedded in year-round educational and research activities to support the development of young artists. The festival’s mentoring role and support with the production and internationalisation of their work has made the festival one of the most acclaimed and influential performing arts events in the region.

In addition, Reske collaborated with Kalisz Theatre Meetings (2015-2017) - implementing a new festival model focused on new forms of stage expressions, advised Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw on international projects and was a programme advisor for the East European Performing Arts Platform – an organisation that supports independent performing arts in Central and Eastern Europe

After five years of curating the Konfrontacje Teatralne, Reske continued his collaboration with Marta Keil as curatorial duo ResKeil, creating a range of joint efforts within the cultural field. Since 2018, together with four other artists, Keil and Reske have been running InSzPer - Performing Arts Institute - aiming to support the development of independent arts in Warsaw, and to help structure the international dimensions of its practices. InSzPer activities include the Moving Borders project in partnership with Spring Festival. Since 2017 Reske has been a Board Member of IETM – the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts in Brussels.

Photo © Marta Keil


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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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SPRING will be an official test event


We were ready for the festival but now we are very exited that SPRING Performing Arts Festival can continue as planned; 20 to 29 May. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science just announced that SPRING is one of the test events that will take place in the second half of May. We are exeptionally happy for the artists who can't wait to show their performances, dances and stories on the stage. After partly cancelled festival editions of SPRING and SPRING in Autumn we look forward to see the audience in the theaters again! 

Together with our partner locations (Stadsschouwburg Utrecht (the city theater), Theater Kikker, de LiK, Fotodok, Locomotiefstraat and Het Huis Utrecht) we will ensure that you can go to our performances safely and pleasant and we follow the protocols that the locations already carefully have worked out. The capacity per theater is determined with 1,5 meter of distance. The performances also take place at locations where there is enough space to welcome the visitors safely. A few artist also made a special performance taking into account the restrictions of the current measures. At home you also can experience SPRING with six interactive, online performances from our SPRING@home program, that is created by internationals performers.

You will only be granted access to the SPRING performances after showing a negative test result.
How does testing prior to SPRING work? Read here what you need to do and what you need to take into account for your visit to SPRING.

What do I need to do when I've already bought a ticket?

We will get in touch with you when you've bought a ticket to one of the SPRING performances. 

Other information

Voor For all the information about testing for a testevent, please read this website. This is an initiative of Stichting Open Nederland. 

Do you have a question for us, contact us at our general emailadress or call the number 030 2332032 (Mon t/m Thu 10.00 – 17.00 uur). Questions about your tickets can go to

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Start ticket sale: 30 April at 10 PM


It's happening: you can buy the tickets and because of the limited number we advise you to be quick.
Also the entire festival program is announced en we have three themes within the program: social and political topics (from social cohesion to identity questions), the body and his representation in media and how new technologies influence our lives. You can read about this in our digital magazine that contains a lot of articles, podcasts and interviews with the performers. 

During the festival we will ofcourse follow the regulations in force. Performers have adjust their work to continuous experiences, specially for SPRING there is an intimate one-on-one meeting and there will be a sensory experience in a single person cocoon. 

And if you want to experience SPRING, but you would rather not go outside, than SPRING will come to you! In our new program line SPRING@home, you can experience the festival In the intimate setting of your own home. The performances will come by post, telephone and diverse online media at your house. Six internationally based artists and companies are creating new, interactive home viewing shows, developed specifically for the circumstances in which we are currently all finding ourselves.

The festival consist of 13 productions of which 5 world premieres and 4 Dutch premieres. 39 performances will be shown at 6 locations including 17 continuously. The festival will take place 20-29 of May at diverse locations in Utrecht.

We hope to see you there.

Get your tickets here!

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Watch shows in the intimate setting of your own living room

Eerste namen SPRING 2021 bekend First names SPRING 2021 announcement

Conneting with the audience in times of corona


This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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De kaartverkoop is gestart! Tickets on sale now!

All the performances are revealed and the ticketsale has started.




Aside from attending the live programme at sites around Utrecht, this year visitors can also experience SPRING from home. Six internationally based artists and companies are creating new, interactive home viewing shows, developed specifically for the circumstances in which we are currently all finding ourselves. In the intimate setting of your own home, the artists will sweep you along into a different world and offer you the starring role in the storyline of their show.

SPRING@home promises to be a unique experience. Get active and become acquainted with artists and participants from all over the world. The shows will come to you via mail, telephone or a range of online media. This will be the programme for SPRING@home:


Someone is on the line. You don’t know their name, and you still won’t when the hour is over. But through this exchange – as you both follow a thread of questions, instructions and clues by an unknown voice – a portrait of your partner will emerge through fleeting moments of exposure. Will you take this challenge?

2. Fionde

In a time where celebrations are hardly possible and with limited options to commemorate key moments in life, the creators of this work of art composed a kit for you to find ways to adapt to these new circumstances. 

3. Guided Choreography for the Living and the Dead

States of longing and desire. This is what Faye Driscoll’s voice conjures up in this intimate guided meditation in a the four parts of this series of audio works.

4. Wanaset Yodit

In Wanaset Yodit the two friends share their stories with their audience, with cups of coffee to hand. Their deeply human journey will move you to more than tears alone – with Yodit’s sense of humour and her lust for life she is sure to make you laugh.

5. Allegedly

Two lead characters and fifteen other actors come together to spark conversations with each other and their audience about sexual violence and justice. Using personal stories, experiences and musings, the piece asks questions about what ‘consent’ means and the language that is used to discuss sexual violence.

6. Body of Knowledge - at home

What happens when adults in Holland talk over the phone to teenagers in Australia and Singapore about vital and intimate topics such as sexuality, shame, sorrow, age, death and the future of the planet?

Photo: Pier Carthew

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Start Ticket Sale has been moved up

This information is only available at the Dutch website.

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Wanted: talent from Utrecht


ARK Utrecht - City of trust
From 16 until 19 September, SPRING is presenting the city celebration ARK Utrecht. An ark is driving across all districts of Utrecht. A fantasy ship filled with dream images on which we sail confidently from the crisis into a new future. Around this city-artwork on which everybody can participate a programme full of encounters, interventions and activities will take place, created by city residents and community centres, as well as artists and cultural organisations. The whole neighborhood is invited to get ‘on board’, to take a look or make a contribution. Which Utrecht values, traditions and forms of society do we want to keep on board? Which ones do we want to leave behind? And what new customs do we need? After a long period of lockdowns, ARK Utrecht will create space for lively encounters between Utrechters who have never met before.

Room for every citizen of Utrecht
Just as Noah's Ark had room for all kinds of people and animals, ARK Utrecht has room for every citizen of Utrecht. We celebrate the city's diversity with residents of all neighborhoods, ages, backgrounds, gender, educations and beliefs. Meetings will take place through discussion tables, art installations, exhibitions, music, pop-up performances, talkshows, debates, inspiration sessions, parades, rituals or workshops. After four days, the arks will sail confidently towards a hopeful, shared future!

Utrecht-based artists and organisations can submit their ideas for social-artistic interventions until 30 April.

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Trailer SPRING Performing Arts Festival 2021


We almost can't wait!

Fortunately it's Friday 30th of April in a few days and the ticket sale will start at 10.00 AM!
Below we have a trailer, a little teaser for you so you can see what we have in store for the SPRING Performing Arts Festival 20-29 May 2021.

The SPRING programme contains a number of shows on social and political topics: from social cohesion to identity questions. In his latest theatrical installation (Broeders verheft u ter vrijheid), Dries Verhoeven wonders if in a digitalised work environment there is still such a thing as a (proud) working class. In his tour around a statue factory, Julian Hetzel points out our need for political leaders (Mount Average).

The body and his representation in media and on stage and what it could signify are central in a programme line with performances by Marte Boneschansker (BLOOS de mannen) and Katja Heitmann (Motus Mori: meeting the archive).

How new technologies influence our lives (and how they are used in art works) is eminent in other works. This programmatic line has a strong focus on technology and how it relates to nature and humans, like for example in R for Resonance by Ho Tzu Nyen from Singapore.

Some artists found creative solutions for the current measures: Dries Verhoeven and Julian Hetzel re-organized their shows during the creation process to durational pieces allowing more audience in but still guaranteeing safety. Katja Heitmann changed her project to a very intimate one-on-one encounter (keeping a safe distance). 

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Podcast series SPRING in het diepe!


As from today five weeks long we will share a podcast every friday that is specially made for SPRING; the ultimate anticipatory fun for the festival!

Always wondered how the mind of an artist works? Dive in at the deep end with our podcast SPRING in het diepe. A digital, but very intimate exploration of the weird and wonderful ways of thinking of the artists featured at SPRING. Immerse yourself in their world.

In collaboration with the online art magazine Mister Motley, art journalist Luuk Heezen talks to Dries Verhoeven (Broeders verheft u ter vrijheid), Ho Tzu Nyen (R is for Resonance), Florentina Holzinger (TANZ), Marte Boneschansker (BLOOS de mannen) and Julian Hetzel (Mount Average). What fascinations lie at the bottom their work? How did their show take shape? Which scene cost the most blood, sweat and tears?

Lean back and catch the wave of these leading creatives’ thoughts. An in-depth conversation that is interesting to follow either before or after watching the show.

Click here for the podcasts.

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Pre-sale SPRING 2021


On Wednesday, 14 April 2021 at 3:00 PM, the pre-sale starts exclusively for buyers of tickets voor a performance that was cancelled due to the COVID-restrictions. The ordinary Ticket Sales starts Friday, 30 April 2021 at 10 AM. You've received an email if you have access to this pre-sale. Didn't receive an email? Check your spam! If you have any questions, contact us at

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SPRING Performing Arts Festival 2021 is calling (emerging) artists and students: makers, choreographers, scenographers, audio storytellers, dramaturgs, dancers, actors, performers, writers, curators, researchers and political engagers who would love to learn more during the Masterclasses and Open Programmes of SPRING Academy 2021. Meet other (young) artists, as well as professional artists that are performing at SPRING this year.

This year we offer you three open call programmes:

The application deadline is Monday, April 26, 2021. You can visit the SPRING Academy page to discover more information about our programmes. We’re so excited to welcome you all back to an exciting and inspiring edition at Het Huis Utrecht!

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First names SPRING 2021 announcement


SPRING believes in the magic of live encounters between the artist and the audience. That’s why we will do everything we can to make this possible. During SPRING Performing Arts Festival (international) artists will experiment with new art forms and ways to connect with the audience. We will go live in theaters and in the public space with intimate one-on-one experiences, installations and special setups in theaters. Performers will adjust their work to continuous experiences, specially for SPRING there will be an intimate one-on-one meeting and there will be a sensory experience in a single person cocoon. We can announce the first names…

During SPRING the long awaited follow-up BLOOS de mannen will go into premiere. Marte Boneschansker had conversations with men between 10 and 100 years old about intimacy, sensuality and desire. Lying in a single person cocoon which moves, turns and shakes you will listen to their exiting stories.
Another intimate experience will be Motus Mori: Meeting the archive from choreographer Katja Heitmann. Herewith Heitmann builds an archive of the human movement, for which already more than 700 people donated their moves. Specially for SPRING, Heitmann and her dansers will look for personal encounters within this archive. In a unique one-on-one meeting the danser will work with your movements.

Dries Verhoeven is asking himself in Broeders verheft u ter vrijheid what our working body is meant for these days. With a group of Bulgarian performers who have experience as migration workers, he creates a requiem for the labouring human body. The stage of the Stadsschouwburg serves as a shop floor that is home to a live installation for eight hours a day. Julian Hetzel will also take us on a factory visit during the performative parcour Mount Average, where he will confront us with our own ideologies. Statues of rulers, dictators and tirans will be ground to pulp and given a new meaningful interpretation.

Lastly, the postponed performances of Spectrum by Schweigman&, graphic designer Cocky Eek, light artist Matthijs Munnik and composer Yannis Kyriakides can be visited at the festival. 

The ticket sale for SPRING Performing Arts Festival will start on Friday 30 April at 10.00 AM.


Photo: Motus Mori: meeting the archive © Jostijn Ligtvoet

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SPRING in 2021


SPRING believes in the magic of live encounters between the artist and the audience. That’s why we will do everything we can to make this possible. During SPRING Performing Arts Festival (international) artists will experiment with new art forms and ways to connect with the audience. 

From 16 till 19 September 2021 we will present the project ARK Utrecht in the entire city. Information will follow later.

SPRING in Autumn 2021 will take place between 27 and 31 October 2021. We're working on the programme for SPRING in Autumn. 

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Eerste namen SPRING 2021 bekend First names SPRING 2021 announcement

Conneting with the audience in times of corona


SPRING is looking for volunteers!


Do you want to be involved behind the scenes of an international festival and experience the thrilling, artistic ambiance? Sign up as a volunteer of the SPRING Performing Arts Festival!

With lots of new energy and enthusiasm we already started with the organization of the SPRING that takes place from 20 may until 29 may 2021, and we can already let you know that we have very exciting performances planned. However, we cannot do these things all by ourselves. So, we can use your help! No need for experience, but your commitment and enthusiasm are more than welcome, so we can make this years festival successful.

Take a look at the different functions down below. If you’re unable to decide which position appeals to you the most, we’ll gladly look for the most suitable position together.

  • Host(ess)                           you are helpful, friendly and representative
  • Cashier                              receives visitors from SPRING and helps them with their tickets
  • SPRING Reporter               photograph, film or write about everything that SPRING has to offer
  • SPRING Flex team              you like unexpected services with varied jobs
  • Crew catering                     awaken your inner chef and prepare the best lunches

What does SPRING offer you?
With this volunteerjob you gain a fun, educational work experience, you will be part of a close team and will get the chance to build up a relevant network.

In addition we offer you:

  • A real SPRING t-shirt and festival pass
  • Matching training depending on your position
  • Lunch / dinner depending on your shift
  • Free ticket per worked shift for performances (based on availability)

What do we ask of you?

Your commitment, enthusiasm and reliability are very important to make it a successful festival. Besides, it is very important you adhere to the corona measures as drawn up by the Dutch government. Depending on your availability and functions we ask you to work at least 4 shifts. A shift lasts on average between 4 and 6 hours.

How do you sign up?

  1. You can register via festivalroosters with your name, phone number and favorite function. The form is partly in Dutch, if you need help filling it in, please let us know.
  2. We’ll invite you to an introductory meeting. During this conversation we’ll find out which position fits you best and we’ll give you all the information you need to get started as a volunteer. Welcome to the team!
  3. We will keep you informed by e-mail of important information and practical matters, such as the volunteer meeting and your schedule.

We’ll be happy to answer them. Send an email to

See you soon at SPRING!


Volunteer coordinator SPRING Performing Arts Festival 2021

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A little bit more patience...


Lately, we've been very busy planning the performances from domestic and foreign performers. We anticipate to the current corona measures, but ofcourse we'd love to offer as many magnificent performances as possible. We will announce the first names shortly. The ticket sale will start approximately half April.

Follow us on the socials and keep an eye on the website for the latest updates! 


Image: Message from quarantine by Ho Tzu Nyen, photo Anna van Kooij

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From Standplaats Utrecht to Standplaats Midden


After two years of working, rehearsing, developing, trying out, innovating at the great Fort Blauwkapel, the Standplaats Utrecht platform ends. The theater makers and performing artists associated with this place for talent development will continue. Iona&rineke and Julian Hetzel receive a two-year subsidy from the Gemeente Utrecht.

Under the name Standplaats Midden, the platform is developing into a regional network organization of six cultural institutions: Het Huis Utrecht, Filiaal theatermakers, SPRING, Gaudeamus, De Coöperatie and Holland Opera. Talent development of young and mid-career makers from different disciplines (theater, dance, performance and music) is central. The organization is developing further this season. We'll let you know!


Photo: Sjoerd Derine

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Performances December and January cancelled


Last night Prime Minister Rutte announced a new lockdown until January 19. Unfortunately, therefore, the performances Spectrum by Schweigman & (December 16-20), Cow is a cow is a cow by Abhishek Thapar (December 17 and 18) and Mount Average by Julian Hetzel (January 8-10) have been cancelled. If you have tickets, we will contact you soon.

We expect to be able to present the series of Spectrum performances at the end of February, if the measures allow. As soon as we know the exact dates, we will inform the ticket buyers. In addition, we are investigating whether we can move the performances Cow is a cow is a cow and Mount Average to SPRING Performing Arts Festival that will take place from 20-29 May 2021.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and hope to see you again in the new year!


Photo: Noor van der Wal

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We need volunteers at Spectrum!


After we had to cancel Spectrum during SPRING in Autumn XXXL, we started looking for replacement data together with Schweigman&. And we have found it! Between November 25th and December 20th we’ll present this performative light installation again at the Loods at Locomotiefstraat 8, and for this we need your help! Are you available to help us out? We look forward to hearing from you!


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Rainer Hofmann is leaving SPRING


Artistic Director Rainer Hofmann will leave SPRING in summer 2021. He will take the position of head of dramaturgy at Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen in Hannover.

Rainer Hofmann leaves after more than 10 years as director at SPRING and Huis en Festival a/d Werf. Hofmann began in 2010 as artistic director at Huis en Festival a/d Werf where he shaped the last two editions of the festival. In 2013 Festival a/d Werf merged with Springdance Festival and Hofmann became artistic director of the new SPRING Performing Arts Festival. He gave SPRING a strong signature by putting the focus on innovation in contemporary performing arts and by programming artists who work on politically relevant topics.

Tanja Mlaker, head of the Supervisory Board of Stichting SPRING about the leave of Rainer Hofmann: „The board is very grateful to Rainer Hofmann for his many years of commitment. He connected many ground-breaking artists with the festival and has expanded its international networks and reputation. With his visionary and inspired leadership, he strengthened the position of SPRING, which had received praising evaluations for its subsidy plan for the years 2021 – 2024.”

Rainer Hofmann: „After more than 10 years at SPRING and Huis en Festival a/d Werf, it was time for me to find a new position. The years in Utrecht have been (and still are) rewarding, often challenging, sometimes hard, always exciting. I could work with a great team and together we developed SPRING into a leading festival for contemporary performing arts. This was possible only with the outstanding artists, who we could present in Utrecht. I am looking forward to my last edition of SPRING in 2021 and to a new adventure at Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen in Hannover.“

In 2021, Stichting SPRING plans two festivals: SPRING Performing Arts Festival in May and SPRING in Autumn in autumn.


Photo © Anna van Kooij

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Eigentijdse intimiteit


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Vacature Leden Raad van Toezicht


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Overweldigend lichttheater. Over de voorstelling Spectrum


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SPRING in Autumn XXXL unfortunately canceled


The news was already coming and we are very sad to announce; unfortunately we have to pull the plug on the seventh day of the SPRING festival in Autumn XXXL, which would last 19 days this year. We hope that the stricter measures will improve the situation. We sympathize with the artists whose work we cannot show, the enthusiastic public that we are not allowed to receive and our own employees, freelancers and volunteers who have worked so hard on this special edition. We are also proud that we were able to show a wonderful first weekend with performances by Kris Verdonck, Benjamin Kahn and Genevieve Murphy, among others.

The performances of Spectrum van Schweigman& for wednesday 4 November will go on as planned. We try to move the further series of performances by Schweigman& to later this year. For the performances Mount Average by Julian Hetzel, Cow is a cow is a cow by Abhishek Thapar and Womb m/f/x by Ulrike Quade Company, we will search for alternative dates during the coming months. Unfortunately, we have to cancel all other performances definitively. Visitors will be informed by e-mail. It may take a while for us to process everything, so we ask for your patience.

We are saddened but also resilient. We continue to work on our plans for 2021 and hope to meet you again!

Many greetings,


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Postmodernisme op het podium. Over ‘Sorry, but I feel slightly disidentified...’ van Benjamin Kahn


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De zin van het leven. Over de minimalistische schoonheid van Exit van Kris Verdonck


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Creating Space and Dismantling Hierarchy: Radouan Mriziga’s 7


By Morgan Amonett, for the Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus - USA), November 4 2019

Radouan Mriziga’s 7 is the final installment in a trilogy exploring the relationship between the human body and the spaces it constructs and occupies. I was fortunate to speak remotely with Mriziga about his background, the concepts behind the trilogy, and plans for the future.

Growing up in Marrakesh, Mriziga was exposed to some of the most stunning physical spaces humans have created. A traditional art education, centered around institutional instruction, was not available. Instead, the manifestations of ancient geometry and magnificent architecture, alongside street art, and hip-hop culture informed his artistic tastes, as did sports, and his inclinations toward mathematics. When he finally studied dance, the inspiration of these rich, organic, and collectively available sources of information continued to impact his work.
            Mriziga frequently referred to the hierarchy of relationships between the intellect, the body, and the spirit. The “western” inclination is, and has been for many centuries, to prize the intellect over the body and the spirit. In contrast, he emphasizes the fallibility of this concept, arguing that intellect and body exist horizontally: that is, (mostly) level with one another. For him, these elements are not one and the same; within an artistic and abstract context, he allows for variation and emphasizes emotional reactions to and intuitive participation with his work; and, by extension, to other works of art.
            Acting in toxic accordance with this concept, he says, is another hierarchy: that which places more value on certain methods of communicating and storing knowledge than others. Predictably, the most highly valued methods are the “western” ones; anything written or empirical, under this system of classification, is deemed inherently more valid than information communicated in other ways. This scale of assigned acceptability marginalizes cultures and people who store, communicate, and discuss knowledge in other ways. In limiting the spread and consumption of information in this way, he notes, we confine ourselves to certain methods and dimensions of expression and lose out on a great deal of learning.

The Trilogy: 55/3600/7
In these three pieces, Mriziga confronts these concepts among others, challenging audiences to reconsider the mind/body/spirit hierarchy and work to accept new ways in which we can communicate and apply knowledge. In 55, the first installment in the trilogy, he constructs a two-dimensional space using chalk and tape; the measurements for this space are both defined and given by the body and its movement. In this work, he both defines the physical with respect to what it can create and defines the creation in terms of the physical; the body constructs the space, so the space is constructed for that body. In 3600, he broadens both the conceptual and physical scope of his work; the construction in this piece yields a three-dimensional product.

7 is simultaneously the most complex and the most accessible. It adds both time and imagination to the other three dimensions, inviting and requiring the audience’s direct engagement. Mriziga noted that the space constructed in 7 will be shaped by the space already occupied by the audience. Influenced by the seven wonders of the ancient world, he says that participants in the piece will hold those monuments in their imaginations while not actually seeing them represented on stage. In this way, the space created is one that will take shape collectively.

Plans for the Future
In his new project, he plans to challenge the creation of the “western” canon by exploring the “epistemologies and mythologies of the Tamazigh, the indigenous population of Northern Africa.” Though their culture influenced other, more recognized societies in the ancient Mediterranean significantly, these people have been largely ignored by scholars of the region. He explores and criticizes the reasons for this neglect in his new work, again challenging the construct of knowledge in “the west” and presenting a more thorough history of a complex and influential culture with a different way of communicating information.

Radouan Mriziga (1985) is a choreographer and dancer from Morocco, currently living and working in Brussels. After studying dance in Morocco, Tunisia and France, Radouan Mriziga graduated from PARTS in Brussels. Fairly quickly he began to focus on his own work, creating his first solo, 55, followed by the group piece 3600 in 2016, and in 2017 another group piece called 7. His works have been touring in major festivals and theatres worldwide. His performances explore the relationship between movement, construction and composition. Focusing on human beings as the makers of their surroundings, Mriziga’s choreographies forge links between the body in motion and the expression of form in everyday materials and the architecture of our built environment. Mriziga is an artist-in-residence at Moussem Nomadic Arts Centre, and between 2017-2021 at the Kaaitheater (Brussels).

7 is shown during SPRING in Autumn 2021, on 30 and 31 October at Werkspoorfabriek. You can buy tickets here.


Picture: Bea Borgers

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"Het einde van de mensheid nadert en dat is oke"


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Reserve a seat at our installations


For our special installations, you now have to reserve a timeslot. You can check out all the interesting installations of SPRING in Autumn XXXL and book your spot now. 

R for Resonance: What unites the region Southeast Asia? Embraced by the warm sounds of a gong, an instrument that resonated throughout the region’s 3000 year history, you become part of a visual storm of objects in this VR installation. More information & reservation

Haptic Installation: In a small, darkened room, you experience this video installation with your eyes closed. Behind your eyelids you begin to detect lines, in black and white, in colour. Did you see light in the darkness? More information & reservation

MASS #2: The installation MASS #2 shows hundreds of thousands of graphite-grey pebbles slowly sliding alongside each other. In two white containers this mass, heavy yet velvety soft, forms slow moving landscapes. MASS #2 demonstrates the power of nature and shows us just how insignificant humans are. More information & reservation

BRASS: Suspended inside a darkened room are three sousaphones that appear to be playing all by themselves. You hear compositions by Erik Satie, who is sometimes called the composer of revolutionary simplicity, and fragments from an animated film from Japan. But while this orchestra may be completely devoid of humans, it does have human characteristics. There’s breathing, blowing, rehearsing and warming up. More information & reservation

HONGER: Last May, Dood Paard was to play HONGER (HUNGER) in a glass greenhouse in Utrecht Overvecht during the SPRING Performing Arts Festival. Inspired by HONGER, Manja Topper and Julian Maiwald took photos during wanderings through Utrecht and Amsterdam that depict different aspects of hunger. More information (reservation not required).

This is for everyone: The world consists of billions of individuals. Together they form communities, cities and countries. The German artist Marc von Henning makes a video installation for everyone. Take your foot off the gas, step out of your busy life and read this poem, one sentence at a time. More information (reservation not required).

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SPRING in Autumn XXXL continues with modified programme


The exceptional edition of SPRING in Autumn, titled SPRING in Autumn XXXL - Extended, Extraordinary, Exhilarating. Live., continues. As a result of the tightened corona measures that have been in place since 14 October, we have, in close contact with artists and venues, examined which performances could still be presented, possibly in an adapted version. SPRING believes it is important to continue to present art even in difficult times. Art is an essential part of our society. As long as it is possible in a safe way, we want to keep presenting performances that can touch us, move us, make us think and give us a sense of community. Of course we strictly adhere to the safety regulations in the modified program.

Stadsschouwburg Utrecht will be closed in the coming weeks. We have found another location for some of the performances that were programmed in the Stadsschouwburg Utrecht

  • The opening performance Exit by Kris Verdonck and “Sorry… but I feel slightly disidentified” by Benjamin Kahn can be seen on the original dates in TivoliVredenburg
  • The world premiere of I Don't Want To Be An Individual All On My Own by Genevieve Murphy will now take place on October 31 and November 1 in TivoliVredenburg
  • 7 by Radouan Mriziga has been moved to November 1 at the Werkspoorfabriek
  • A Cow is a cow is a cow by Abhishek Thapar is moved to 12 and 13 November at Het Huis

Unfortunately, as a result of the tightened measures, we also have to cancel a few performances: Ensaio para uma Cartografia by Mónica Calle, _APOLOGY: DENIED_ by SETUP and My shadow used to have a density by Francesca Lazzeri. Relay of Ula Sickle also cannot take place.We hope we are able to present those performances in 2021.

The visitors are informed about the changes to the program.

Picture: by Radouan Mriziga (Marc Domage)

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"De muur tussen het theater en de straat moet verdwijnen" - in gesprek met Julian Hetzel


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"Mijn werk gaat niet over mij" - in gesprek met Genevieve Murphy


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Join the SPRING crew!


With great pleasure we’re organizing a expanded version of SPRING in Autumn this year and we need your help! Are you ready to be part of an international festival that will take place from October 28 till November 15 2020 and experience the real festival feeling? Together with other volunteers you’ll play an indispensable role in turning this edition into a great success! No need for experience, with a healthy dose of enthusiasm and commitment you’re more than welcome!



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Update corona measures


Starting October 14th, stricter corona measures from the national government and RIVM are in place. Among other rules, the maximum number of 30 visitors now applies to all rooms. We are looking into the further consequences of the measures for SPRING in Autumn XXXL. We are trying to make as many performances and installations possible as we can. Naturally, we believe the safety and health of our public, the makers and employees is the most important thing and we strictly adhere to the safety regulations. We will keep you informed.

Stay healthy, be kind to one another, and hopefully see you soon!


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Sensorial surprises in Hiroaki Umeda’s work


Hiroaki Umeda’s work is all about haptic experience, or sensorial observations through touch. But Umeda’s aim is to widen the scope of the concept, which leads to some surprising performative installations, such as Haptic Installation which can be seen at SPRING in Autumn XXXL. 

Hiroaki Umeda, born in Tokyo in 1977, studied photography at Tokyo’s Nihon University. However, he didn’t stay there for very long, as he tells Performing Arts Network Japan: “I ended up quitting it after about a year. It seemed to me that when I was photographing (as the photographer) it was necessary for me to step back from the surroundings and try to become objective, which wasn’t interesting for me. I was wondering if there wasn’t a way I could make it a more real-time form of expression (of more direct involvement), but those efforts didn’t lead to much. So, I began looking for another form of expression and that is when I discovered that there was this thing called dance and decided to give it a try.” When Umeda was about 20 years old, he started taking all kinds of dance classes. He started creating pieces that incorporated different disciplines by combining his various professional fields. His main focus became: giving people unfamiliar sensorial experiences. Now he works as a choreographer, dancer, composer, lighting designer, scenographer and visual artist. His subtle works that move spectators both visually and physically, have travelled the world and received universal praise. 

As an artist and choreographer, Umeda doesn’t differentiate between human bodies and other objects or materials. This enables him to create choreographies based on auditive, visual or cognitive stimuli, or, as he puts it himself: ‘’I believe that technology is a means of accessing the world at different scales. And for me, choreography and dance are not exclusively for human bodies. What fascinates me in choreography is that it realizes and embodies the world that can only be created as a result of existence of movements. By collaborating with science and computer technology, I would like to bring a different definition of choreography.”

Haptic Installation, which was created in 2010, is a continuation of Umeda’s earlier work Haptic (2008). Which, in turn, was based on Umeda’s idea that colours can be considered a type of haptic stimuli. He researched this idea in Haptic by peopling the stage with extreme shadows. In Haptic Installation Umeda continues his line of thinking, delving into the possibility to observe light and colours with closed eyes. 

When you close your eyes, normally speaking, the world turns pitch black. In Haptic Installation the audience is led into a small darkened space to ‘watch’ a video installation with closed eyes. It soon becomes clear that even with our eyes closed, we can still observe lines, colours and movement. A strange realisation, confusing to spectators, because what is observed hardly seems to gel with the experience. In a similar response to sneezing as a result of looking into a bright light, here, the body physically responds to the visual impulses. Meanwhile, visitors are listening to electronic sounds through their headphones. Allow yourself to be taken on this journey and experience light and darkness. 

Catch the Haptic Installation during SPRING in Autumn XXXL from 7 – 10 November at Theater Kikker. For further information, click here

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Critical reflections in the work of Abhishek Thapar


By Merel Eigenhuis

Abhishek Thapar is a theatre maker, performer, puppeteer and teacher from India. In this conversation, we talk about his latest performance Cow is a Cow is a Cow, his background, his inspirations and the critical reflections in his work.

It has been quite a journey for you, professionally as well as personally, to build a career as a theatre maker in the Netherlands. What motivated you to become a theatre maker?
I’ve always had a desire to create, since childhood, and went from being an actor/performer during my bachelor's degree to working professionally as a theatre director, writer, puppeteer, and performer in various projects. I was fascinated by the creation process, which led me to study 'creating theatre and performance' at London International School of Performing Arts, a physical theatre programme based on Jacques Lecoq's pedagogical tools and methods. Since then, I have been trying to develop concepts and formulate ideas, to actualize them in time and space, and share them with an audience. 
I moved to the Netherlands in 2015 to pursue a master's programme at DAS Theatre, Amsterdam. I already had 7 - 8 years of experience in making theatre and performances in India and wanted to take some time away from the production process to examine my tools and fascinations and redefine my voice as an artist. I wanted to examine the role and function of theatre in today's rapidly changing society. I believe a theatrical space has the power to move mountains, and to move the spectators present inside that space. But it also has the power to shift micro thoughts, momentary perceptions, to offer the experience of something unfathomable. 
My work dives into the complexity of narratives. It ruptures pre-conceived notions of identity politics, historical narratives, religious-political ideologies, migration discourse and environmental issues. As a theatre/performance maker, I engage my audience into a critical discourse on current issues in our globalized world. Through my work I seek to create a state of ‘uncertainty’, from which newer thoughts or other perspectives can emerge. It is my way of enabling the audience to re-engage with the world through a different lens. 

What inspired you to create the performance Cow is a Cow is a Cow? 
It started in 2007, when I was pursuing a postgraduate programme in marketing and entrepreneurship at a business school in Pune, India. I had the idea of starting a business in cow-based products. Although I never pursued it, the thought stayed in my peripheral thinking. That was the seed. But also, I felt I had to deal with the way the political and social landscape has emerged in the last decade or so, as an artist and as an entrepreneur.

The performance deals with the economic value of the cow, which in India is seen as a sacred animal. What would be the Dutch equivalent of the holy cow – what is seen as ‘holy’ here?
Today, I happened to stumble across a video from the Rijksmuseum on the internet titled 'The Holy Cow' (with the hashtag: #Rijksmuseumunlocked). October 4 was world animal day and the Rijksmuseum did a video tour with a special focus on cows in 16th - 18th century painting. During the tour, the curator kept repeating: 'The cow is perhaps not only a symbol of The Netherlands, it more or less becomes the Netherlands'. Although I would disagree with the phrase and question the title of the video, it got me thinking about what 'holy' stands for, and its association with cows. It seems to surpass a specific geographical landscape and perhaps has a wider universal resonance. Is it the abundance of resources from the cow that gives it its status of holiness? Have cows always been holy? Or is it just an expression (Holy Cow!)? 

If I were to think about what is holy here, many different associations come up. Once I cycled on the Afsluitdijk, and that was when I experienced the sacredness of the ‘dijken’. I realised how important they are in protecting the Netherlands from the sea. 

Would you like to perform this show to Indian audiences/in an Indian context? Why (not)?
I would, absolutely. I believe it digs into certain narratives and ideological discourses which are crucial to the political and social landscape emerging in India at the moment. I’d like to reach out to the Indian diasporic community here in the Netherlands and create a space for open discussions and critical reflections through my work. 

What is the role of food in the performance? 
That's a surprise!

Thanks, Abhishek!

Cow is a Cow is a Cow will be playing on 17 and 18 December, 18:00 at Stadsschouwburg Utrecht. Click here for tickets.


Image credit: Karin van de Wiel

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New narratives in the work of Ulrike Quade Company


By Merel Eigenhuis

During the rehearsals for Womb m/f/x (which will premiere at SPRING in Autumn XXXL), director Ulrike Quade has found the time to discuss her latest work with us from her rehearsal studio.
Hi Ulrike! Could you tell me how you became a theatre maker, and where your fascination for puppets comes from?
I was a student at the HKU acting school in Utrecht. And I found out I had a way of creating images that was unique to me. So my development into a visual maker, with puppets as a component, grew from there. As part of my education I went to Japan and did an internship with the Japanese theatre maker Hoichi Okamoto, where I learnt to make dolls and perform with them. And while in Japan, I learnt a lot about the different forms of theatre in Japan, such as No, Kabuki and Bunraku theatre. The Japanese dramatic genres stretch across a wide range and have been an inspiration to me in many aspects ever since. 

Have you ever performed one of your own shows there?
No, not yet. I did go on tour with Hoichi Okamoto, but I haven’t presented any of my own shows over there. It’s definitely on my bucket list, though!
You are currently in the process of creating Womb m/f/x. What inspired you to make this work?  
There were lots of different sources. The idea started from the ancient Egyptian myth of Isis, Osiris and Seth, and we linked it with another subject: the desire to have children. The myth goes like this: the god Osiris is cut into 14 pieces by his brother Seth. Isis, his wife, tries to gather the pieces, but she can find only 13 of them. The 14th part, his penis, is lost. Isis puts the 13 pieces together and uses her own thumb to impregnate herself. This myth led to a much wider research into what it means to want to have children.

And then there’s Corona, which also plays a huge part in the development of the piece: after we had finished the first rehearsal period, the virus appeared. It made us decide to capture the entire myth on film, working with The Transketeers, an audio-visual collective consisting of three transmen. We turned our entire planning on its head and during the summer we filmed the story of Isis, Osiris and Seth up to when Horus (the new human) is conceived.

And then it also became a very intimate collaboration content-wise with The Transketeers, because their personal stories were gradually woven into the fabric of the show. It highlighted all kinds of different aspects to the subject matter. In 2014, for instance, the law regarding the sterilization of transmen was changed. It means transmen are no longer legally obliged to undergo sterilization. So transmen have the possibility to bear children as males, or however they choose to identify. Until 2014 this was legally impossible. When, in our case, the Netherlands is one of the most open-minded places to live. The three performers embody these stories, but they are and will stay the personal stories of The Transketeers. 

The three performers you just mentioned each have a background in a different art discipline. What is it like collaborating with all these different artists?  
It’s gone really, really well. I’m used to working with different disciplines and it doesn’t always go so well. Sometimes it can be hard for people to switch between disciplines. In this case, we took our time. Our filmmakers aren’t purely there to make a documentary film, but they’re creating dramatized visual scenes. One of our performers, Gabriel Casanova Miralda, is a screen actor but he’s also a musician, and the other performer, Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti, is a mime but also a singer, and the third is Gil ‘The Grid’ Gomes Leal [known in the Netherlands as a contestant in Holland’s Got Talent, ed.], is a dancer who also works with text. Limits are not our starting point. We are very fluid in our process, and that’s what the subject matter demands as well. 

How do you as a director deal with all these different disciplines?  
In this case, the biggest question, because of Corona, is: how to balance the live aspect and the recorded aspect. We recorded a number of things, which helped us out enormously. The form we’ve ended up with was born of necessity, but in the end, it was only right to do it this way. Now the question is: how to place this ‘live’ in a space? I have some idea about it, but for the moment, this is our biggest challenge. 

Your website tells us innovation is an important theme for you. How does the show reflect this? 
Innovation is present in different ways in this show. First of all: we wanted to create a retelling of the myth. And it was clear that if we wanted to retell the myth today, we couldn’t stick to just one narrative. Often in theatre there’s an author who writes the story, so there’s this one narrative, born from a single mind. That’s a limited narrative. We’re trying to innovate on this level, too, with the genderfluid theme, but also with the central question we’re asking in Womb m/f/x, which is: what exactly is this desire to have children? Also, we’re thinking in creative ways about the space we’re in. It doesn’t mean I want to leave the theatre space, but I think that after Corona, we’ll have to reconsider the digital space, and how it relates to physical space. These times demand that we focus on innovation, more so than ever before.

Thank you Ulrike, and see you at SPRING in Autumn XXXL! 

Visit Womb m/f/x by Ulrike Quade Company on Friday 13 November at 7:00 PM (premiere) or 9:00 PM, or on Saturday 14 November at 4:00, 7:00 or 9:00 PM at Stadsschouwburg Utrecht. For tickets, click here.

Image credit: Anouk van Kalmthout

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SPRING passe-partout