Writer and theatre-maker Anoek Nuyens (the Netherlands, 1984) makes socially engaged documentary theatre based around the question: how can the theatre contribute to a better world? The conversation she starts in her productions ranges across different fields and platforms: from politics to science, from fact to fiction, from theatre to newspapers and the internet. Through her work, the contours emerge of a socially active theatre, a free space where everything can be thought and said – but never without consequences.
Nuyens studied Theatre in Amsterdam and Berlin and works or has worked in Kinshasa, Brussels, Berlin and Amsterdam, to name just a few. For Frascati Producties, she developed the journalistic theatre project Hulp (2015), about the future of development cooperation and the meaning of good works and humanity in the 21st century. She discussed these topics with Dutch and Kenyan NGOs, political parties, church communities and good causes. The production toured theatres in and outside of the Netherlands, as well as a range of societal organisations, where she continued the discussion. In November 2016, she presented the lecture performance Zwijgend Pamflet for Frascati Producties, reporting on her experiences of more than eighteen months of Hulp.
Nuyens then created Tenzij je een beter plan hebt (Frascati Producties & De Nwe Tijd / De Coproducers, 2017) with Rebekka de Wit, about the increasing call to change the relations between man, animals, nature and objects. In cooperation with journalists, activists, philosophers and legal experts, Nuyens and De Wit went in search of a way of imagining a world in which man is no longer the measure of everything. During an extensive tour of Flanders and the Netherlands, a post-performance discussion with activists, politicians and Anoek Nuyens made academics an indivisible part of the production, offering the audience a perspective on action. This ongoing conversation was continued online at https://tenzijjeeenbeterplanhebt.nl.
To conclude this tour, Anoek Nuyens and Rebekka de Wit presented Tenzij je een beter plan hebt: de rechtszaak, which they created as part of Frascati Issues: To Dis/Agree. In this production, a group of legal experts examined the lawsuit brought by a future generation in relation to the way the current generation are treating the earth.
This project gave rise to an exciting next step: Friends of the Earth Netherlands will be taking legal action in the near future against Shell: this is the first time in the world that action is being taken against a company for the consequences of climate change. Friends of the Earth Netherlands asked Nuyens and De Wit to cooperate on the (as yet non-existent) jurisprudence. Under the title Repetities voor de werkelijkheid, inspired by the preparatory ‘mock trials’ common in legal practice, Nuyens and De Wit are organising public ‘pre-enactments’. Evidence is being collected and dilemmas and pleas formulated around the central question of ‘who exactly is responsible for what’ in relation to the climate crisis. In the various sections, Nuyens and De Wit are wiring pleas for consumers, citizens, multinationals and politicians. Repetities voor de werkelijkheid (Frascati Producties with De Nieuwe Tijd and Friends of the Earth Netherlands) will take place in the coming season at unexpected moments and various locations throughout the Netherlands. For the latest developments, see www.dezaakshell.nl
Finally, for Frascati Producties Anoek Nuyens is preparing a performance on his life and work in close cooperation with Jan Pronk. Pronk will be an intimate portrait of the last idealistic politician in the Netherlands, the disintegration of social democratic ideas and the radical idealism of then and now. Pronk will première in September 2019.
‘Clear, committed story about fighting the good fight.’ ★★★★ Het Parool on Hulp
‘Anoek Nuyens does not send us away empty-handed.’ ★★★★ Theaterkrant on Hulp
‘Nuyens and De Wit have kind of drily comic anti-theatricality, which merges seamlessly with their transparent theatrical language.’ ★★★ Het Parool on Tenzij je een beter plan hebt
Anoek Nuyens (the Netherlands, 1984) studied Theatre Science in Amsterdam and Berlin. She created her production Bouta. Biografie van een macho over het leven van Desi Bouterse (Productiehuis Rotterdam, 2013) in cooperation with Tjon Rockon and Marjolijn van Heemstra. This brought them a nomination for the BNG Theatermakersprijs 2013. In the same year, Nuyens received the Marie Kleine-Gartman Pen for her essay Westen, Wake Up! In 2016 she organised the Solidarity Summit, an initiative to combine protests against profit-based thinking in various areas of the public sector. Anoek Nuyens has published several books, including Listen to the bloody machine about Kris Verdonck. She also writes for publications De Correspondent and De Groene Amsterdammer on culture, politics and history. In addition, she founded Het Transitiebureau, where artists and thinkers consider forms of social living and the role of art in the 21st century. From 2014 to 2017 Nuyens curated the Nieuwe Grond programme (Nederlands Theater Festival). For Frascati Producties, she created the productions Hulp (2015), Zwijgend Pamflet (2016) and Tenzij je een beter plan hebt (in coproduction with De Nwe Tijd, 2017). These will be followed in the season ahead by the first instalments of Repetities voor de Werkelijkheid and Pronk (December 2019).
Awards and nominations