Artist Talks Brandhaarden: Eline Arbo

Brandhaarden 2023

Artist Talks Brandhaarden: Eline Arbo

Internationaal Theater Amsterdam


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Artist Talks Brandhaarden: Eline Arbo
Internationaal Theater Amsterdam

A look behind the scenes and conversations with the makers make the performance visit even more interesting. That is why ITA Academy organises a series of Artist Talks during Brandhaardens: in-depth discussions with inspiring makers about their work and working methods, motives, sources of inspiration and fascinations. Artist Talks take place after a performance by the artist in question and offer a deeper look at the work in a broader context.

Duration 45 minutes, after the performance

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‘A s a female director, of course, I often feel that I am in an outsider position, because there are mainly male directors in the field of European big stage performances, and because the voice of the woman is virtually invisible in the classical theater repertoire. And the search for my own position in this alternates between explicitly feminist performances and an attempt not to emphasize the female aspect too much because I want to make performances completely freely and without the stamp of “female director”. So it has two sides.’

Director Eline Arbo (1986), originally from Norway, stormed the Dutch theatre landscape with seven league boots. Six years after graduating as a theatre director from the Amsterdam University of the Arts, she became ‘associate artistic director’ at Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, alongside director Ivo van Hove. Additionally since 2022, she has been Ibsen Artist in Residence, an initiative of the Philip Loubser Foundation, which provides directors with international ambitions opportunities for artistic self-development.

Her debut at Toneelschuur Producties Het lijden van de jonge Werther (2017) immediately won her the BNG Bank Theater Prize. She won the Director Award for Weg met Eddy Bellegueule (2020) while the four actors were collectively nominated for the Louis d’Or, which is unique. In 2021, Arbo won the Mary Dresselhuys prize for her work of the previous years.

Alongside her work in the Netherlands, Arbo has also directed several productions in Norway and Denmark, including Peer Gynt (2019), Maria Stuart (2021), Jane Eyre (2022) and Jeanne d’Arc (2022). Her direction of De Jaren (2022) at Het Nationale Theater was widely acclaimed.

She has an outspoken feminist profile. In her adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters (2020) the emphasis is on (current) women’s emancipation; in De Uren (2021) at ITA, after the book of the same name by Cunningham, she portrays the stories of three women from different periods whose lives are inextricably interconnected. In doing so, she exposes the role patterns that lie deeply concealed within our culture. In no way should Arbo’s work be reduced to performances about the position of women: ‘Theatre is a medium in which major social and political issues can be discussed in a poetic, imaginative and emotional way.’