The Years

Nederlands Theater Festival

The Years

Het Nationale Theater / Eline Arbo


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The Years
Het Nationale Theater / Eline Arbo

Eline Arbo directs The Years at Het Nationale Theater, based on the European bestseller by Annie Ernaux, with an all-female top cast including Hannah Hoekstra, Nettie Blanken, Tamar van den Dop, Mariana Aparicio and June Yanez.

Festival Nederlands Theater Festival

Run time 120 minutes
Genre Theater
Language Dutch

Please note that this performance contains scenes that may be perceived as very intrusive.

The Years

In The Years, five actresses collectively tell the story of one woman's life, against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world. She grows up amidst the debris of the Second World War, disentangles herself from her middle-class environment and becomes a writer with a sharp political and social awareness. Using photos, songs and news reports, she talks about emancipation, being a woman, sexuality, class differences and individual opportunities. In separate scenes, musical, happy and melancholic memories are evoked. By following one life, we see the world change. The hyper-personal history of a French woman thus becomes a universal biography of post-war Western Europe. After the highly acclaimed Weg met Eddy Bellegueule and Yerma, director Eline Arbo once again creates a very personal and political performance.

'All images will disappear. Death erases everything in a second and so we have to save something from the time where we will never be again.'
De jaren is the prize-winning and critically acclaimed masterpiece by French author Annie Ernaux. De Standaard der Letteren called it a "dazzling history of a time and of a life". For director Eline Arbo, it is dream material. The book brings together the two lines that she explores in her work, on the one hand the 'sociological' view of Weg met Eddy Bellegueule (2020) and on the other hand the powerful women as protagonists of De uren (2021) and Yerma (2021).


'In The Years, based on the book by Annie Ernaux, Eline Arbo creates nothing less than theatrical magic. Five actresses star in this biography of a Western woman. Debauched and cerebral, tender and cruel: the jury is unanimous about the great synergy on stage here.'

de Volkskrant

'Thanks to the fantastic acting and the musical performances, the hours – and at the same time the years – fly by.'


''Ordinary woman' Annie Ernaux is a much-needed addition to the male theater canon.'
Eline Arbo directs The Years at Het Nationale Theater, based on the book by award-winning author Annie Ernaux.
Eline Arbo directs The Years at Het Nationale Theater, based on the book by award-winning author Annie Ernaux.

Eline Arbo about The Years

"When I read The Years I knew immediately: this book was written for me. Annie Ernaux's style is so striking and universal that all those memories resonate in me. Her images evoke a sense of nostalgia, but at the same time shame and anger."


text and direction Eline Arbo
based on the book by Annie Ernaux
translation Rokus Hofstede
cast Mariana Aparicio, Nettie Blanken, Tamar van den Dop, Hannah Hoekstra, June Yanez
director's assistant Ludy Golstein
set Juul Dekker
costumes Rebekka Wörmann
light Varja Klosse
music Thijs van Vuure
dramaturge Willemijn Barelds
campaign image Gordon Meuleman

Nederlands Theater Festival 2023

For 11 days - from 7 to 17 September 2023 - the Nederlands Theater Festival will present this season's finest performances. The festival also showcases successful new developments in theatre, is at the forefront of the conversation about the role of theatre in society and blurs boundaries between different art disciplines. Traditionally, the festival opens with the Staat van het Theater and closes with the Gala van het Nederlands Theater, where the most important theatre awards are presented.

The Nederlands Theater Festival is there to celebrate theatre and audiences.