Alexandra Broeder (Rotterdam, 1978) is well-known for her productions, both on location or in the theatre, in which children or young people lead an adult audience into an unfamiliar, sinister world. A recurring theme in this is the (power) relationships between children and adults. The realisation of these productions is often slightly alienating, at times disturbing and always intriguing. Supressed awkwardness rises to the surface, and every laugh has a dark undertone.
In 2008, her production Candyland won the VSCD Zilveren Krekel award and was selected for the Vlaams Theaterfestival. Broeder was awarded the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Theater Stipendium in 2010, and in 2012 she won the De Erik Vos Prijs award for exceptional talent among the new generation of theatre-makers.
In 2014, Alexandra Broeder created the production Raven for Frascati Producties, in cooperation with youth festival Breakin’ Walls, for which she worked with artist duo L.A. Raeven. This cooperation was followed up in 2014 by the theatrical experience over several days De Zone (a co-production by Frascati Productions and Theater aan het Spui).
One of the highlights of her work to date is The Well (Frascati Producties 2018), a production about sliding into another, dark world, based on the work of Haruki Murakami. Prior to this, she embarked on a co-creation with De Bascule children’s and young people’s psychiatric institution. Owing to its huge success, this show was revived at the end of June 2018 in Frascati 4.
In April 2019, The Well was followed up by The Tree (Frascati Producties 2019). Alexandra Broeder constructed a mysterious biotope on location with a group of girls aged between 14 and 19 and in treatment at De Bascule. The starting point for this is Han Kang’s novel The Vegetarian, in which a young woman attempts to escape the expectations of society by creating a new form of life. She becomes a tree. In The Tree, this idea is combined with experiences and materials from the girls themselves and the worlds of Sylvia Plath, Bach and Berlinde de Bruyckere.
‘Whether she was a human, a plant or an animal, she couldn’t be called a person.
But neither was she really a wild animal.
More a mysterious being with the properties of both.’
From: The Vegetarian by Han Kang
The Well and The Tree are part of De (on)vertelde stad, a new range of Frascati programming that brings theatre-makers together with urban partners and is based around the need for artists to talk about society. Frascati has been cooperating with De Bascule for some time now. In 2017, for example, James Leadbitter worked inside the institution on the project Madlove, for which he carried out research, together with people with experience in this area, into the ideal psychiatric institution.
Alexandra Broeder graduated as a theatre-maker from Toneelacademie Maastricht institute of performative arts in 2003. Following graduation, she undertook a three-year programme with theatre workshop Gasthuis (now Frascati) and from 2017 she worked with BonteHond. Today, Alexandra Broeder’s productions are organised by Theaterzaken Via Rudolphi.
´Alexandra Broeder’s theatre is of lasting value to the performing arts in the Netherlands. This has been demonstrated not only by the appreciation of audiences, but also by the fact that the very youngest generation of theatre-makers has now been inspired by her work. The jury therefore also expresses its hope that Broeder will be able to further enrich her oeuvre with new topics and new forms, under good working conditions, both in the Netherlands and abroad.’ From the jury report of the Erik Vosprijs award 2012
‘With Candyland, Alexandra Broeder has made an ominous, disquieting production. The uneasy emptiness of the location, the strong concept and the exceptionally convincing performances by children who draw the audience into a world under their control make for an unparalleled experience.’ From the jury report of the VSCD Zilveren Krekel award 2008
‘An exceptional experience, that transcends theatre by far’ ★★★★ NRC Handelsblad on Sweet Dreams