Brandhaarden 2022: Édouard Louis

He is considered one of the most celebrated writers of his generation. The tenth edition of the ITA Festival Brandhaarden, from 19 February to 3 March, focuses on the work of the 29-year-old and presents stage adaptations of all his books.

In the opening performance Qui a tué mon père (Who killed my father?), Édouard Louis plays himself, directed by Thomas Ostermeier. From the same director we are showing Im Herzen der Gewalt (History of Violence) by the renowned German company Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin. We also show the Norwegian adaptation of this play, by Det Norske Teatret, directed by Kjersti Horn. Édouard Louis has been involved in the curation of the festival from the beginning and chose Valdens Historie as one of his favourite adaptations. Louis gave Ivo van Hove the opportunity at an early stage to read his most recent work about his mother. Earlier this year, van Hove made Battlesand Metamorphoses of a woman with Marieke Heebink and Majd Mardo. This performance can be seen for the first time in ITA during Brandhaarden.

Ivo van Hove: "Édouard Louis is not only the premier French writer of a new generation, he is also a global phenomenon. His work has touched a nerve around the world. As a young gay man who grew up in the forgotten working class of the impoverished industrial North of France, he's intimately familiar with what poverty and exclusion mean. Édouard Louis doesn't want to describe the world, he wants to change it. His passionate, engaging work is both necessary and urgent." -|- Édouard Louis is also the central guest in a special edition of Sign of the Times in collaboration with de Balie.

He can also be seen in a special collaborative piece with Milo Rau (Brandhaarden 2019). With a performative reading, Louis and Rau present the theatre text The Interrogation which they wrote together in the spring of 2021 (commissioned by Kunstenfestivaldesarts, IIPM & NTGENT). The lecture will be followed by a conversation between Louis and Rau on stage. The evening will end with the screening of a film by Milo Rau, chosen by Édouard Louis.

ITA on screen

After the success of the livestreams on ITALive, we are expanding the palette with ITA on screen. Registrations of livestreams on the big screen in one of ITA's auditoriums. We present Eline Arbo's peerless production of Weg met Eddy Bellegueule (The end of Eddy) by Toneelschuur Productions and Hans Kesting's solo Wie heeft mijn vader vermoord (Who killed my father).

Théâtre de la Ville / Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin / Thomas Ostermeier

Qui a tué mon père

In an interview with De Volkskrant, Édouard Louis said: “In an environment where reading was considered a pointless and effeminate pastime, school trips to plays were the only way to get into contact with stories.” He now plays himself on the stage in Qui a tué mon père.

‘A serious political indictment while being a beautiful monument to his father at the same time.’ - De Volkskrant on the novel ★★★★

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Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin / Thomas Ostermeier

Im Herzen der Gewalt

‘Intense, involving production’ – New York Times

In his novel History of Violence, Édouard Louis reconstructs the night of the main character’s rape and abuse. But the trauma of the rape extends far beyond that night. Louis weighs the incident against the violence in society. He shows how the violence committed from above, by governments and the police, trickles down to all sections of the population – and lands the hardest on those who are being discriminated against.

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Det Norske Teatret / Kjersti Horn

Valdens Historie

Can a life of humiliation explain how someone ends up a murderer? Valdens historie is an honest story about rape and the consequences for both victim and abuser. Valdens historie is the Norwegian adaptation by Det Norske Teatret/Kjersti Horn, of Louis' Histoire de la violence and can be seen in tandem with the German adaptation, Im Herzen der Gewalt, during Brandhaarden. Édouard Louis has been involved in the curation of the festival from the beginning and chose Valdens Historie as one of his favourite adaptations.

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ITA-ensemble / Ivo van Hove

Battles and Metamorphoses of a Woman

Édouard Louis gave Ivo van Hove an early opportunity to read his most recent work about his mother. Earlier this year, van Hove made Battles and Metamorphoses of a Woman with Marieke Heebink and Majd Mardo. This performance can be seen for the first time in ITA during Brandhaarden.

With Édouard Louis

Sign of the Times

We get to know Édouard Louis during Brandhaarden not only through the stage adaptations of his novels. On 9 February, he will be at the centre of a special edition of Sign of the Times. Among other things, we will talk to him about his activism and about the poverty, racism and alcoholism he was confronted with during his youth, which would become the main subjects in his literary work.

©Arnaud Delrue

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Édouard Louis and Milo Rau

Reading: The Interrogation

With a performative reading, Édouard Louis and Milo Rau (Brandhaarden 2019) present the theatrical text The Interrogation that they wrote together in spring 2021 (commissioned by Kunstenfestivaldesarts, IIPM & NTGENT). The reading is followed by a conversation between Louis and Rau on stage. The evening will end with the screening of a film by Milo Rau of Édouard Louis’ choice.

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Toneelschuur Producties / Eline Arbo

ITA on screen: Weg met Eddy Bellegueule

‘Beyond a doubt, the best play of the year’ - NRC Handelsblad

Édouard Louis took the world by storm with his successful autobiographical novel The End of Eddy. Without much frills but with ample dry wit, the novel tells the life story of a homosexual boy in an extremely homophobic environment. Director Eline Arbo made an acclaimed theatrical and musical adaptation of this novel, which can now be seen again under the auspices of Brandhaarden 2021.

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ITA-ensemble / deSingel / Ivo van Hove

ITA on screen: Wie heeft mijn vader vermoord

Ivo van Hove adapted Who Killed My Father, by literary sensation Édouard Louis, for the stage. Van Hove turned the very outspoken book into a monologue, especially for Hans Kesting.

Ivo van Hove about Who Killed My Father: “It is a gripping story about a father who is reduced to a physical and mental wreck at the age of fifty after years of hard work in heavy industry in the north of France. It is just as much a furious indictment of the political elite as a declaration of love by a son to his father. Édouard Louis also writes about how he, as a young homosexual, was ostracized by his own working-class family. I will make a monologue for Hans Kesting from this brazen, brilliant text.”

'Merciless and moving portrait.' - de Volkskrant ★★★★

Frige programme

(B)randprogramma

During Brandhaarden, our audience is welcome to join us in our Salon each day before the performance for a Dialogue on Art & Politics, inspired by the eponymous book featuring a conversation between Édouard Louis and Ken Loach. In this programme, artists, political figures, and 'ordinary people' reflect on social issues. As in Louis' work, in this programme, personal stories will be juxtaposed with major political systems. Let a conversation, performance, or speaker surprise you and feel free to join the dialogue.

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10th edition

Brandhaarden festival

Brandhaarden is an international theatre festival which brings plays by remarkable foreign dramatists to Amsterdam. The festival offers a unique overview of one maker, theatre, region, or theme. In previous editions, we put the spotlights on directors such as Katie Mitchell, Milo Rau, the Rimini Protokoll collective and city theatres such as the Münchner Kammerspiele, Volksbühne Berlin and the Peter Brooks Théâtre Bouffes du Nord. In 2020, the festival focussed on a region for the first time – Southern Europe – and showed notable dance and theatrical productions from Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece.