Hi all!

A couple of weeks back I was at Oerol Festival. A 10 day location theatre festival that happens every year in Terschelling, Holland, with performances happening on the beaches, sand dunes, forests, peoples gardens, lakes, cattle sheds...the list is endless. 

So here's some highlights from the weekend for you all! 

Wak- Man met de Hammer

The performance took place in a completely self-sustainable theatre-shed built by the company. The show was lit using energy efficient LED lighting powered purely by solar panels! How amazing is that! Unfortunately a cast member broke his rib on their first performance so I missed it, but this is what it looked like from outside- 


A collaboration between G. Le collectif Bistaki from France, the scenography course at the Amsterdam School of the Arts, the Academy of Architecture and SLeM. - This was AMAZING! It was such a simple idea that really reacted to the location and weather.

Land's End by Berlin (here's the trailer)

This performance was in a horse shed. After being left to wonder around different mechatronic 'sculptures' we were then guided to take a seat to watch the performance, which was based on a true story of a murder taking place in a house on the border of Belgium and France...as in the border actually runs through the house!  It was a comedy of some sorts, based on the shifting of responsibilities between the two countries when dealing with this murder case.

I'd never been to a show with a set up like it- an art gallery to begin with, then a theatre performance (which had most of the cast on screens being wheeled about) and all in a horse shed!

PeerGroup - Ruilen (Exchange)

So for those of you who may not know, National Theatre Wales worked with Henry from PeerGroup last year on a performance with the village of Rhayader - Rrrriot!  

'Ruilen' was about currency, and allowing the audience to think of currency as something different to money. It was as I predicted of PeerGrouP-  A LOT of chaotic fun! We had to push a stage on wheels down a road into an islander's garden, barter with other audience members, and teach a skill - all on a windy day when the set was so close to blowing away!

I have no photos of this one but if you follow this link you can see a TV item on them (all in Dutch but you get an idea of what it entailed!)

Breekgoed - 'De dood van het Woord' (The death of the word)

Breekgoed was one of the 'Atelier Oerol' performances. A group of companies which are 'up and coming' in Holland which had been invited to create work for Oerol.

Much like everything in this festival- I had never seen anything like it before! 

A group of child-like creatures or people were in the strange landscape. It was a physical piece which happened on land, on the van, through the forest and in the lake. Again, amazing! With no dialogue, you got a very clear idea of this dystopia-like world, but was left open enough for you to leave with a lot of questions. Which, I found out after meeting Sanne, the director, was intentional.  This clip explains it better!

Maurice Meewisse - 'Ramp' (Disaster)

I met Maurice on the Saturday afternoon on the beach (Henry had recommended me go and meet him). He was doing a piece of which involved hard repetitive labour to create a sand dune. I asked him what was the purpose of it? He replied 'to create monuments'. At that point there was a member of the public on top of the dune...

His work is often based in the landscape and often a homage to 'old fashioned hard and lonely labour' - what a lovely guy and a genius!

Waterlanders - 'Piep' (Beep)

This was a guided walk through the woods to listen and experience different sound installations. To be honest, I didn't love it. But I wanted to mention it because I thought it was a great concept, it just lacked a bit of meat.

It did however remind me of the work of Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller. They are possibly my favourite artist right now. Please check them out!!

There is just one more show to mention. I had been recommended to see 'Blaas' by Schweigman&, but couldn't get tickets (it was very popular)... but I saw this clip of 'Wiek', a previous performance at Oerol. I think I've fallen in love.

Oerol was a festival which truly was designed around the landscape- every performance that worked well, understood the atmosphere a landscape can have. They used and respected this atmosphere as the groundworks for the feel of their show- a true collaboration between the land and the creatives. The whole island was the festival site for performance, music, art, street performances, dancing and a lot of beer. The island was a playground for audiences and the companies. 

The one drawback- I was only there for 2 and half days!

I will definitely return to this festival, but next time I will be there for longer, listen to more music, have learnt a bit of Dutch and most of all...I won't be in a one man tent. Never again.

(here's just a couple more photos of general Oerol stuff!)

The Barn (i.e Ticket Office)

Westerkeyn- Wheelbarrow foot baths

Westernkeyn -Fancy bar

Hanneke de Jong & Jonas de Witte - There must be some way out of here

Groene Strand

Bud x

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Comment by National Theatre Wales on July 3, 2013 at 7:13

Fantastic blog Bud, thanks for letting us all know about this great range of work.  

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