Category Archives: Bijlmer Parktheater

The need for Afro-Dutch reviewers: PaarsPaars and upcoming event

On Friday November 11 Romana Vrede, Ira Kip and I launched PaarsPaars (PurplePurple), the space where Blackity Black thinkers reflect, share and cultivate conversations about Black art in the Netherlands. We started with an open letter to our kinfolk: A note about the need for Black reviewers. During the #BPTUnpacks event at Bijlmer Parktheater on Friday December 2, we’ll gather to discusssss. We’ll unpack a variety of Dutch theatre reviews and (re)imagine the kind of conversations the work of Afro-Dutch theatre makers, choreographers and playwrights truly deserves. Please note: The presentations and conversations during this event will be in Dutch.

#BPTUnpacks event info
Date and location:
Friday December 2, Bijlmer Parktheater (Amsterdam).
Time: Doors open at 19.10h, we start at 19.30h sharp-sharp.
Presentations by: Ernestine Comvalius, Emilie van Heydoorn, Ira Kip, Richard Kofi and yours truly.
For our panel we’ll be joined by: José Montoya.
Tickets: Click this link to buy tickets for #BPTUnpacks on Friday December 2 .

Excerpts from our note:
‘From Eurocentric expectations and a less than minimal knowledge of Black arts to the use of terms like “gorilla” to describe Black performers… In its current form, the world of Dutch reviews has nothing to offer creators like us. It’s horrendous to witness how, time and time again, various art editors try to suffocate this work that is so important to us by squeezing it into the narrowest forms of whiteness. Horrendous and beyond boring. (…) We need reviews and reflections that inspire Afro-Dutch makers to further strengthen, deepen and broaden their artistic signatures. We long for art criticism and other forms of reflections that don’t just fit our imagination, involvement and expertise, but that also emerge from them. (…) Our imagination, our joy, our rest, our worries, our commitment, our knowledge, our curiosity, our history, our now, our future, our spectacles and our everydayness deserve more in depth conversations. Our future makers deserve an archive in which they see us and themselves reflected in pieces that are written by us. We can’t trust anybody else with this responsibility. To remix Toni Morrison: “We are our own best thing.”’

Instah fam, be sure to follow @paarsispaars for all your updates. The note will soon be translated in English. Click here for the full version (in Dutch).


Upcoming events: #BPTGembertheeSessies with José Montoya and Djuwa Mroivili

Before Bijlmer Parktheater closes its doors for a much needed Summer break, I’m organizing two editions of my beloved #BPTGembertheeSessies . It’s my absolute pleasure to turn our stage into a tea spot and to interview two artists who I deeply appreciate: actor and visual artist José Montoya & classical pianist Djuwa Mroivili. The #BPTGembertheeSessies (ginger tea sessions) is our new series where we have conversations with choreographers, directors, actors and literary geniuses. We talk about what inspires them, what brings them joy, how they continue to study their craft and where they see themselves in the artistic genealogies that they’re part of.

With their dedication to plus their understanding and study of their craft, Montoya and Mroivili are deeply inspiring to me. Thinking of what Mroivili can play and compose? Imagining Montoya embodying the characters that are an answer to our imagination? All this, makes me want to write better and more. If you’re in or can come to Amsterdam Bijlmer on Sunday June 26 and/or Wednesday July 6, be sure to meet us at Bijlmer Parktheater.

Sunday June 26 – José Montoya
Time: 15.00h-16.30h. Food will be served from 17:00h-17:45h.
Bio: Montoya is an actor and visual artists who, on his website, describes himself as an adopted Colombian and an import-Amsterdammer who always felt different. He played MLK in Urban Myth’s Martin Luther King, won over youngsters in Het Laatste Koekje (The Last Cookie) and starred in various plays by MAAS Podium, Urban Myth, MC and many others.

As a visual artist, he creates colorful paintings with paper that he folds and tears. He uses accessible techniques such as folding, cutting and pasting to work as intuitively as possible. His work, of which you can see an example in this picture, is about light and space. It’s characterized by monochromy, repetition, seriality and the immediacy of the materials he uses.

To buy tickets for the event, please visit this page on the Bijlmer Parktheater website. On every 2nd ticket Bijlmer Parktheater offers a 50% discount. If after the interview with José Montoya you’d like to enjoy the vegan, Caribbean soup and snacks we’re serving that day, be sure to buy the ticket that says “kaartje + catering”.
Please note: The conversations during the #BPTGembertheeSessies with José Montoya will be in Dutch.

Wednesday July 6 – Djuwa Mroivili
20:00h-21:30h. Food will be served from 18:30h-19:15h.
Bio: Mroivili is a classical pianist and teacher who’s one of the co-founders of Hungry, Angry, Late & Tired (HALT), a governing body that works ArtEZ-wide for inclusion. Currently, Mroivili is engaged in researching Black composers, and the role communities can play in designing inclusive art education and art practice.

For her edition of the #BPTGembertheeSessies Mroivili opens the session with a set combining the Comorian melodies/music that they and their father love & work by the Florence Price and Margaret Bonds. Mroivili states: “The common denominators between this music can best be described as ‘Black mentorship’ and ‘comfort music’.” Check the video below for an impression of Mroivili’s awe-mazingness.

To buy tickets for the event, please visit this page on the Bijlmer Parktheater website. On every 2nd ticket Bijlmer Parktheater offers a 50% discount. If you’d like to enjoy the delicious food we’re serving that day, be sure to buy the ticket that says “kaartje + catering”. Since we’re celebrating the Decolonization Day of the Comores, dinner will, of course, include a variation of samosa’s. The entire menu will be announced in the 3rd week of June.
The #BPTGembertheeSessies with Djuwa Mroivili will be in English.