14 Jun '23 to 25 Jun '23
ITA-ensemble / Eline Arbo

Penthesilea by Heinrich von Kleist is considered one of the masterpieces of the world theatre repertoire. In this searing drama about a fatal love, a blistering passion churns unstoppably to the surface. Kleist himself wrote about it: “My innermost being is to be found in it, the whole filth and loftiness of my soul.”

Festival Holland Festival

Run time tba
Genre Theater
Language Dutch
Surtitles English, Thu June 22

Public rehearsal Wed June 14
In Gesprek Fri June 16, 23
Opening night Sun June 18


The Amazons are a nation of exclusively female warriors. They were allowed to marry and procreate only with men who had been defeated by them in battle. In the Trojan War they do not fight against the Greeks to help the beleaguered Trojans, but rather to capture soldiers. When the Amazon queen Penthesilea and the Greek army commander Achilles come face to face on the battlefield, it is love at first sight. From that moment on, Penthesilea does everything in her power to defeat him.

With her adaptation of Weg met Eddy Bellegueule, Eline Arbo won the 2020 Director’s Prize. The following year, she directed The Hours, based on the book by Michael Cunningham, for ITA. She has been associate artistic director at ITA since 2022.

Eline Arbo about Penthesilea

“Kleist knows how to translate the age-old conflict between man and woman into a moving love story with complex characters. The meeting between Penthesilea and Achilles plunges them both into an existential crisis. She represents a hopeful, new form of love. And yet they fail to get together. They underestimate each other, and the consequences are horrific. The play is therefore more than a story about the difference between man and woman. It reveals how we internalise the norms and values ​​of our own culture. Kleist wrote a dramatic piece with a tragic ending. But the real tragedy is that in the society Penthesilea and Achilles live in, there is no room for their version of love.”


Language NP Language no problem Marieke Heebink Marieke Heebink
Language NP Language no problem Maarten Heijmans Maarten Heijmans
Language NP Language no problem Maria Kraakman Maria Kraakman
Language NP Language no problem Jesse Mensah Jesse Mensah
Language NP Language no problem Ilke Paddenburg Ilke Paddenburg
Language NP Language no problem Steven Van Watermeulen Steven Van Watermeulen
Hogepriesteres van Diana


After the performance, come and think, listen and chat at In Gesprek. We invite a guest to further explore the themes of Penthesilea and to exchange experiences. If you have any questions, this is the perfect time to ask them. In Gesprek is free of charge and starts shortly after the performance in one of our foyers, is conducted in Dutch and lasts about half an hour.

Eline Arbo
Eline Arbo

Eline Arbo (1986) is from Tromsø, a small city above the Arctic Circle in the North of Norway. After studying Theatre Studies at the University of Oslo, Arbo moved to Amsterdam for her studies at the Directing School of the Theaterschool Amsterdam which she successfully completed in 2016.

In season 22|23 her direction of Penthesilea (Heinrich von Kleist) will premiere at ITA and her direction of The Hourswill be reprised.

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directed by Eline Arbo
text Heinrich von Kleist
translation Gerrit Komrij
adaptation Eline Arbo
dramaturgy Bart van den Eynde
scenography Pascal Leboucq
costumes Alva Brosten
light design Varja Klosse
music Thijs van Vuure
assistant director Daniël 't Hoen, Zorba Huisman
casting advice Hans Kemna


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