They are big shoes to fill. NTGent replaces star director Milo Rao for the trilogy. Barbara Rice, Yves Degrès and Millie Gencheboyacchi will receive the keys to the City Theater. In their first interview, they said: “We will take back the city.”
After six seasons, Milo Rau will move from NTGent to Wiener Festwochen this summer, replacing Christoph Slagmüelder from Brussels, who has led Bozar since the start of this year. “The city theater does not belong to one person,” said the eminent theater conductor and director on Wednesday in a farewell interview with The City. the morning. His words were not cold before the Ghent City Theater sent a press release about the succession of the Swiss. Not one, not two, but three directors will determine the artistic policy of the theater at Sint-Baafsplein in the coming years.
Manufacturer, Curator, and Developer: This is how the three technical leaders market themselves. Theater fans may know Yves Degrès (45), the creator of the trilogy, from his documentary work with his Berlin company. He is also an actor. For television, there have been notable roles in it in recent years callboys And Chantal. Moderator Barbara Rice (46 years old) worked as a programmer at Buda in Kortrijk and Foret (now Vernolfier) in Ghent. In 2016 she founded Beyond The Spoken, a workshop for “Unacknowledged Loss”.
Degreaser and Raees have worked together before, such as the theatrical film Made in Berlin Chosen for this year’s Theater Festival, they are a couple next to the stage. Rice knows the third technical director, Mille Gencheboyacchi (46) from Amsterdam, from collaborations in both Holland and Flanders. When she was a curator at the Ann Zee Theater a few years ago, Reese reached out to Dutch-German-Turkish talent developer for the Young Entrepreneurs Program.
“It’s not constructive, it feels very organic,” Reese says of the triple ring. The three believe that co-leadership is a very natural process for NTGent, given the development that the City Theater has gone through on stage under Rao’s rule. The Swiss eliminated the permanent ensemble of actors and installed a regimen of “world makers,” including Lara Stahl, and Action Zoo Humain by Chokri Benchikha and Mette Warlop.
DeGrace: “The evolution from group to maker house ensures that there is a very diverse and polyphonic palette, and we think the answer to that is polyphonic artistic direction.”
Criticism of the permanent group solution has haunted their predecessors for a long time, but all three agree on this point. “We will not return to the player squad.” Gençboyaci: “The great strength of the city theater is that we can choose from our makers and in turn give them the artistic freedom to choose with whom and in what capacity they want to work. But the focus is on the makers of the house.”
In addition to Luanda Casella, Lara Staal and Milo Rau, who will continue to perform at Ghent for the next two seasons, Degryse’s Berlin will also join the group of permanent homemakers. Ontroerend Goed, Miet Warlop and Action Zoo Humain will remain attached to the Ghent Theater as ‘artists in residence’.
The arrival of the trio is inevitably accompanied by an artistic turn of events. Rao believed strongly in the power of theater to change the world. His performances had a strong political or documentary slant. His manifesto for Ghent, with ten sayings including “no literal adaptation of the classics”, will be a thing of the past after next season. It will be replaced by a technical plan based on two pillars, Reese explains.
“We believe we will evolve into a community with people who believe in digital and new technologies, and on the other hand people who will focus more on the little ones: sharing, healing and protecting the planet. The first is related to Berlin’s work, and the second is with what I’ve been doing with Beyond The Spoken for the past eight years.”
And she hastens to add that these are pillars and not mandatory dictates or regulations that creators must abide by if they want to do business with NTGent. “We will first listen carefully to everyone and gently change course.”
One thing is certain: the new administration wants to be more closely associated with Ghent and use the city more often as a base. After a promising start to production Lamb of God As Ghent’s big bang, the Swiss’s interest in the domestic has somewhat faded in favor of his larger international projects. Degress: “We will claim the city again, as an important space for movement and a playground next to the stage.”
Degryse and Raes will start part-time at the Ghent Theater in October, and Gençboyaci will immediately start working full-time. He will also move from Amsterdam to Ghent next summer. The 2023-2024 season will be a year of transition for the three new chiefs. Rau programmed the entire season and also part of the following season. This gives the trio time to settle in and get to know the theater house better.
“We’re so glad we got this time,” says Reese. “We start out very comfortably. Good job done. We inherit a financially healthy enterprise with strong employees and house performers.”
The public can expect the first technical results in 2024-2025. The main premiere could be Berlin’s next global innovation. The first full season, 2025-2026, will open with ritual fire by Raes.
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