A varied theatre landscape


From the mid-1980s until well into the 1990s Dutch theatre held a prominent position within the European performing arts world. Germany in particular looked with envy upon the modern Greek tragedies from writer and director Koos Terpstra, the radical performance concepts of Jan Joris Lamers and his company Maatschappij Discordia, the fragmented ‘clip-style performances’ of Gerardjan Rijnders and the powerful ritualistic theatre on location of Hollandia. The book Postdramatisches Theater (Postdramatic Theatre) by German theatre researcher Hans-Thies Lehman asserted the status of the ‘Dutch school’. Since the 1960s a new style of theatre has sprung up in which the various elements of a theatrical performance – directing, acting and design – are no longer subservient to the script, but exist alongside each other as independent elements. According to Lehman, Dutch players have played a significant role in this.