Brandhaarden 2024


Onassis Foundation / Sister Sylvester / Nadah El Shazly


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Onassis Foundation / Sister Sylvester / Nadah El Shazly

Constantinopoliad is a handmade book, read collectively by the audience inside of a sound installation. A response to the archive of the poet Constantine Cavafy, the work is inspired by the blank and torn out pages in Constantinopoliad, an epic, the journal the teenage Cavafy began when he and his family fled Alexandria; by lost and missing archives through time; and by the ghosts, both erotic and historical, that visit the older Cavafy in his poems.

Festival Brandhaarden

Run time 50 minutes
Genre Theatre
Language English

Dutch premiere Thu 1 Feb
City Talks Thu 1 Feb, 8 - 9 pm in the ITA Salon
Introduction Thu 1 Feb, 6 - 6.20 pm in the ITA Salon
After talk Thu 1 Feb in the Nieuwe Foyer, after the 2nd performance


Constantinopoliad is a visual essay, and a sojourn through lost and missing archives. Through the blank pages in a teenage diary from the 1800s, the work considers the impossibility of knowing the past, but the possibility of being haunted by it. Burnt and damaged slides, an attempt to recreate the sounds of a 1930's Alexandrian cabaret, and a hand-made artists book with words and images hidden between the folds of the pages, come together in a communal reading experience that asks: How can we see, and hear, through the distortions of time? And how do we invite the ghosts of the past to haunt us into new ways of being in the future?

© Zachary Schulman
© Zachary Schulman
© Maria Baranova

About Sister Sylvester

Sister Sylvester is a multimedia artist based in New York and Istanbul. In collaboration with Deniz Tortum she created the VR documentary Shadowtime, (’23) which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival and continues to tour to festivals including IDFA, GIFF, and Thessaloniki Film Festival; and the film Our Ark which premiered at IDFA (’21) and has screened at festivals internationally. In her live work she creates visual essays and books that become performances, spatial narratives that play with spoken and written text to create communal reading experiences. Most recently Constantinopoliad, with a live-score by Nadah El Shazly, was commissioned by the Onassis Foundation, and premiered at National Sawdust in NYC (‘23); and The Eagle and The Tortoise, which showed as a work-in-progress at Ferus Festival and premiered at Frascati Theater, Amsterdam, as a part of IDFA On Stage (‘22). She is a current resident at ONX Studio; a 2019 MacDowell Fellow; an alumnus of the Public Theater New Works program and CPH:DOX lab. She teaches a bio-art class, “The School of Genetically Modified Theater,” at Colorado College, and has also taught and lectured at MIT, Princeton, UCCS, Columbia University, and Boğaziçi, Istanbul.

© Frank Schmitt

Nadah El Shazly

Nadah El Shazly is known for her fresh and fearless performances and is a prominent and captivating voice in the electronic music underworld of her hometown, Cairo. Her debut album Ahwar both radically reinvents the popular music of her homeland and explores new sonic and harmonic frontiers, landing her on the cover of Wire as the voice of Cairo’s New Wave. Nadah is currently working on her second music album and continues to compose for film and moving image.


writer, director, book co-designer Sister Sylvester
composer & performer Nadah El Shazly
Illustrator, book co-designer & maker Efrîn Nowar
video designer Jeremy Kadetsky, based on a design by Tei Blow
dramaturgy Andrew Kircher
lighting design & technical direction Bruce Steinberg
sound consultant Garth Macaleavey
sound engineer Daniel Dominguez
assistant lighting and projection Marisa Conroy
stage management Melina Lorkidi
company management Shiku Thuo
photos Zachary Schulman, Jill Steinberg
Onassis STEGI Team
tours and international coproductions coordinator Christina Liata
tours and international coproductions assistant Polyxeni Sotirchou
tour technical manager Stavros Kariotoglou
stage manager Melina Lorkidi

Commissioned by The Onassis Foundation, supported by residencies at Onassis AiR, and with the support of the Cavafy Archive, Athens.

Premiered at National Sawdust as part of ‘Archive of Desire’ Festival, 2023.

The tour is supported by Onassis Stegi's "Outward Turn" cultural export program.

Brandhaarden is co-produced by Onassis STEGI’s Outward Turn Program.

12th edition


Brandhaarden is an international theatre festival that brings performances by remarkable theatre makers from abroad to Amsterdam. The festival offers a unique overview of one creator, house, writer, region or theme. Previous editions have spotlighted directors such as Katie Mitchell, Milo Rau and the Rimini Protokoll collective, writer Édouard Louis, the Southern European region (Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece) and city theatres such as Münchner Kammerspiele, Volksbühne Berlin and Peter Brooks Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord.

Discover Brandhaarden 2024


The Onassis Stegi in Athens, serving as the hub of the Onassis Foundation’s cultural activities, encourages the talent and energy of local and international artists to thrive and starts conversations that aim to shake and shape society. Onassis Stegi is a center of global contemporary culture that, through a series of initiatives and works, promotes dialogue about democracy, social and environmental justice, racial and gender equality, and LGBTQIA+ rights.

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Fringe programme: Modern Myths

The fringe programme of Brandhaarden 2024 is all about Modern Myths. The word 'myth' has two meanings today. On the one hand, it denotes stories that contain a certain wisdom, and we speak with wonder about what we then call 'mythological'. On the other hand, we use the word to talk about lies and misconceptions. We invite the audience to reflect on the power of shared stories, but together will also look at how this can turn into widespread ideas that are not necessarily true and can thus further marginalise vulnerable communities.

View the entire programme

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