Brandhaarden 2020


Teatro Nacional D. Maria II / Tiago Rodrigues (PT)


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Teatro Nacional D. Maria II / Tiago Rodrigues (PT)

Sopro ('breath') is about the life behind the theatre curtain. The story is told from the perpective of the prompter. Invisible for the audience, the prompter breathes life into the most beautiful characters on stage.

hall Grote Zaal
starts at 21:00 (Jan 29) and 20:00 (Jan 30)
duration 115 minutes
language spoken in Portugese, surtiteld in Dutch and English
Dutch première

warming-up (Jan 30) 19:00
after talk (Jan 30) 22:00

‘Shining with beauty and intelligence.’

There is no-one else who is more aware of the thin line between fiction and reality. Director Tiago Rodrigues draws on the memories of Cristina Vidal, who worked as a prompter in the theatre for 39 years. Rodrigues takes her out of the prompter’s booth and puts her on stage for the first time. Tonight she tells her stories, true and imagined, about the theatre.

is an ode to our lust for life. And to the importance of art as a necessity for life. Sopro is an ode to the theatre and its makers – to life instinct. The pressure of government cutbacks is also a reality for theatre makers in Portugal. Their art is under pressure. Sopro is a gentle but inescapable plea for the value of theatre – a space where unexpected connections can be made, where real life is lived. A place that can counterbalance the chaos of the world outside.

Rodrigues created Sopro at the invitation of Festival d'Avignon, the leading theatre festival in Europe. The performance was staged nine times to sold-out halls.

‘A performance that excels in beauty and intelligence, that allows the theatre to breathe life out of every pore of its skin – that old skin that has kept regenerating itself over the past two millennia.’
— Le Monde
‘A magnificent tribute to theatre and those who make it.’
— Le Figaro
‘Melancholy dances with humor.’


Tiago Rodrigues

Tiago Rodrigues is the youngest director ever of the prestigious Teatro Nacional D. Maria II in Lisbon, one of the oldest and most revered theatres in Portugal. He uses it as his home base to build networks between artists, cities, and countries.

Antony and Cleopatra
, Rodrigues’ sweltering, minimalist adaptation of Shakespeare, was performed at the last Holland Festival. He has previously performed on Dutch stages in performances by Flemish group STAN, such as Berenice and The Monkey Trial. In 2019, his performance The way she dies for STAN was staged at the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam. The reviews were overflowing with praise.

Whilst in his early forties, Rodrigues is highly praised on the European world stage. In 2018, he was awarded the prestigious Europe Prize for New Theatrical Realities.


by Tiago Rodrigues
with Beatriz Maia, Cristina Vidal, Isabel Abreu, Marco Mendonça, Romeu Costa, Sara Barros Leitão
original cast Beatriz Brás, Cristina Vidal, Isabel Abreu, João Pedro Vaz, Sofia Dias, Vítor Roriz
stage design and lights Thomas Walgrave
costumes Aldina Jesus
sound Pedro Costa
direction assistant Catarina Rôlo Salgueiro
light operation Daniel Varela
executive production Rita Forjaz
production assistant Joana Costa Santos
production Teatro Nacional D. Maria II
co-production ExtraPôle Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre de la Bastille, La Criée Théâtre national de Marseille, Le Parvis Scène nationale Tarbes Pyrénées, Festival Terres de Paroles Seine-Maritime – Normandie, Théâtre Garonne scène européenne, Teatro Viriato
support Onda
acknowledgments Agnès Troly, Beatriz Maia, Carla Bolito, Carla Galvão, David Pinto, Filipa Matta, João Coelho, Julie Bordez, Magda Bizarro, Marco Mendonça, Mariana Magalhães, Paul Rondin, Romeu Costa, Sara Barros Leitão, Teresa Coutinho, equipa do Festival d’Avignon, equipa técnica do Cloître des Carmes, ICA – Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual

Warming-ups and after talks


Brandhaarden stages pre-talks (warming-ups) and after talks with the directors or performers involved with the performance. Free admission, drinks allowed.

Tue, Jan 28 19:00 – 19:45 ITA Salon Warming–up 1: Kick-off Brandhaarden

Thu, Jan 30 19:00 – 19:45 ITA Salon Warming–up 3: Sopro. The performance is created from the perspective of Cristina Vidal, since years prompter at Teatro Nacional D. Maria II in Lissabon. Our guest tonight is chief editor of the theatre magazine TheaterMaker, Simon van den Berg, about the role of the prompter, this almost extinct profession.

Thu, Jan 30 22:00 ITA Salon| English spoken After talk with Tiago Rodrigues hosted by Constant Meijers.

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