The Story of Travis

Nederlands Theater Festival

The Story of Travis

Theater Rotterdam / Well Made Producions/ Romana Vrede / Alida Dors


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The Story of Travis
Theater Rotterdam / Well Made Producions/ Romana Vrede / Alida Dors

Theatre Rotterdam and Well Made Productions present The Story of Travis, an impressive family story about American Travis looking back on his life. What is it like to be sent out into the world as your family's only hope? Director Romana Vrede and a cast of top actors including Ruurt De Maesschalck, Jetty Mathurin and Howard Komproe take you on a journey through the life of Travis. This new play by Esther Duysker is inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's successful Broadway classic A Raisin in the Sun.

Festival Nederlands Theater Festival

Run time 110 Minutes
Genre Theater
Language Dutch

The Story of Travis

As a teenager, American Travis (played by Ruurt De Maesschalck & Yamill Jones) trades his hometown of Chicago for a nomadic existence. Then he falls in love, has children and builds a new life in the Netherlands. At the age of 78, Travis takes another trip and returns to Chicago. Visiting the family grave, he looks back on his life, the choices he made and the hopes his family placed on him. On the importance of having dreams, asserting your voice in a world that doesn't seem set up for you and finding a home.

Ruurt De Maesschalck (who plays the role of Travis): 'The Story of Travis is a fantastic play. It is an incredibly beautiful mirror for what family can be and mean. Family ties leave an indelible imprint in people's souls. The journey of discovery into that realisation is moving. For me, it is a great reflection towards my relationship with my father. Very special.'
The originators of The Story of Travis are five black women; a uniqueness in the theatre landscape. The crew consists of Ellen Tjon A Meeuw (business production) and Samora Bergtop (artistic production) of Well Made Productions, who once again team up with writer/scenarist Esther Duysker for this new play. Director Romana Vrede gives the family story her unique signature and Alida Dors (artistic director, Theater Rotterdam) is responsible for the choreography.

Director Romana Vrede: 'The Story of Travis is about having a home, the realisation that you are the hope of previous generations and the question of whether you have done enough to fulfil that hope.'

THE JURY REPORT - Nederlandse Toneeljury

'The Story of Travis is a feast of a performance. It is a great tour de force in which family history is thematized, and it is made clear how the 'hopes and dreams' of previous generations affect the present.'

THE JURY REPORT - Wijkjury Amsterdam

'The Story of Travis highlights heavy subjects with deep-rooted emotions without leaving you with a negative state of mind. Not everything in the performance is spelled out for you, so it raises a lot of questions that leave you thinking for a long time afterward.'

de Volkskrant

'The Story of Travis is compelling and a much-needed enrichment of the Dutch theater landscape.'

Het Parool

'As a debuting director, Romana Vrede delivers a musically thrilling masterpiece.'

Esther Duysker about The Story of Travis

'In 2015 I became acquainted with the work of Lorraine Hansberry and translated her play A Raisin in the Sun for Well Made Productions. As a young black writer, this was a great honour. The veracity of the piece made me feel the urgency to tell and pass on this accessible, authentic family story. Due to the increasing social awareness in the West, there is increasing scope for recognising and dismantling the deprivation of the black voice and the black body. With The Story of Travis we once again claim the space to let a young generation from a recognisable family speak. We let the public take a look at the Afro-European diaspora and provide insight into how much hope and combativeness it takes to make your dreams come true. With The Story of Travis I hope to contribute to making a more balanced world in which words and world views collide. A world that, like our theatre landscape, should of course be multiform. A world that is about everyone with aspirations and desires.'


text Esther Duysker
director Romana Vrede
dramaturgy Karim Ameur
choreography Alida Dors
set & lighting design Niek Kortekaas
sound design Ata Güner
costume design Erik Bosman
performers Dionne Verwey, Howard Komproe, Jennifer Muntslag, Jetty Mathurin, Joy Wielkens, Ruurt De Maesschalck, Yamill Jones, Ritzah Statia

Co-produced by Theater Rotterdam and Well Made Productions

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.


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