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Play Time V: On Tour | "Us/Them" | Bronks, Belgien

Streaming from June 20th, 7:00 PM, to June 25th, 2023, 7:00 PM
"We/They" ("Wij/Zij") – Bronks, Belgium
Directed by Carly Wijs
Duration: 60 minutes, recommended for ages 9 and above
In English with German subtitles

About the play:

A school siege, told from the perspective of two students: In the face of the unimaginable, the perspectives of the children gain weight. Carly Wijs' play is based on real events. In 2004, Chechen terrorists occupied a school in Beslan and took 1,148 people hostage. More than 300 of them, mostly children, died during the catastrophically failed rescue operation by the Russian military. In Carly Wijs and Thomas Vantuycom's choreographic theater, possibilities for a narrative approach to traumatic experiences emerge – humor and imagination help, that much can be revealed.

Engaging Children in Art: The Bronks Theater

Located in the heart of Brussels, Bronks is the production center for young performing arts in the Flemish community. The name says it all: an acronym for BRussels ONderwijs Kunst Society – Education, Art, and Society as elements of a theater for the Dutch-speaking citizens of Brussels.

The aim of Bronks is to address topics that may seem taboo for children (like aging in "Rita"), but are part of their reality. It is not about pedagogically conveying problem-solving skills, but rather inviting artists whose aesthetics interest the team. At the theater, they are given the freedom to work in a way that is important to them. The only requirement from Bronks is to avoid creating anything "childish" or preemptively adjusting to the expected audience. "We are a bit allergic to shows that adapt topics in this way," says Veerle Kerckhoven, the Artistic Director of Bronks.

The goal is not to shock the young audience, even though the productions address the complex and challenging realities that children experience and that they should find reflected on stage. "The aim is to open their minds to society, to all levels of society," says Kerckhoven. The educational department of Studio Bronks assists parents and teachers in understanding the artistic offerings, even if they have concerns about a certain topic. As is customary in theater for young audiences, there are pre- and post-performance discussions and workshops surrounding the shows.

The audience is not seen as a homogeneous group but rather addressed in its diversity: "Brussels is a very cosmopolitan city," says Kerckhoven. "There are significant differences among the children. Some are very wealthy, have no problems, and live a dream. Others come from a war-torn area, do not speak the language, and are frightened." Bronks aims to provide artistic offerings for all of them. "It is difficult to watch art; you have to learn it," says Kerckhoven. Her goal is to win over the next generations for art.

With "Us/Them," Bronks was invited to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016 and the Cradle of Creativity Festival of Assitej International in South Africa in 2017. In a German-language version, "Rita" was presented by the Young Ensemble Stuttgart at the Schöne Aussicht Festival in 2021. Every two years, Bronks hosts the Export/Import Festival, showcasing Belgian and international productions for young audiences.

"We/They" ("Wij/Zij") - Bronks, Belgium
by Carly Wijs and Thomas Vantuycom
Directed by Carly Wijs, Set Design by Stef Stessel, Dramaturgy by Mieke Versyp, Lighting Design by Thomas Clause, Sound Design by Peter Brughmans.
Featuring: Gytha Parmentier, Roman Van Houtven
A co-production of Bronks Theater with Richard Jordan Productions in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, Big in Belgium, and Summerhall.
Duration: 60 minutes, recommended for ages 9 and above.

For an overview of the thematical series "Play Time V: On Tour" klick here

"Play Time – Stream and Discours Theater for Young Audiences" is a cooperation of and the Kulturstiftung des Bundes within the context of "Jupiter – Darstellende Künste für junges Publikum" . Sponsored by the Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.


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