Walhalla and Café Theater FestivalRotterdamMakeItHappen Vera Bos

Café Theater Festival is coming to Rotterdam

On Friday 25 and Saturday 26 March Café Theater Festival and Walhalla will organise the first edition in Rotterdam! Ten hospitality establishments across Rotterdam form the backdrop for short performances by artists from different disciplines. 

The Café Theater Festival (CTF) is where the performing arts and hospitality meet. Tables in restaurants suddenly become stages and the noisy patron turns out to be an actor. The festival has been a great success in Utrecht for years. Now Walhalla brings it to Rotterdam. Establishments on Katendrecht will turn into stages for up-and-coming performing artists.

Hijs, Gezellig Bij Norge, Café de Ouwehoer, Kopi Soesoe, La Petite Soeur, Bruut 21, SS Rotterdam, Café de Nieuwe Kaap, CIZZ, 21 Pinchos and Foyer Café Walhalla are all in. Language is no problem as most performances are internationally orientated. All visitors receive a voting card upon entering, so they can cast their vote afterward to determine the Audience Award. The prize consists of a tour of a number of theatres, including Rotterdam, Arnhem, and Utrecht.

The program and the participants are not determined yet. But booking tickets for the festival is not possible or necessary. The CTF works with free entry and a Pay What You Can system. After the performance, visitors pay according to their means – 4, 7 or 10 euros.

CTF in Utrecht. Photo Wytze de Vries
CTF in Utrecht. Photo Wytze de Vries

The performing artists went through the Café Theater Fabriek, a training program featuring coaching and workshops. That way the artists can develop ultimate site-specific performances. The broad lineup reflects current themes through a variety of genres, such as dance, opera, circus, musical theater, mime, spoken word, storytelling, spoken word and Hip Hop- and street-dance.

Site-specific Performances at CTF

Site-specific performances disrupt public spaces – in the case of the CTF, hospitality establishments – by incorporating them. The audience members, in attendance by accident or by choice, cannot hide behind a fourth wall. Site-specific performing artists never perform for an audience, but with it. Like the location, the audience becomes part of the performance, simply by being there. This is how the CTF builds bridges.

The CTF believes in the unifying power of the performing arts. They can create understanding in a world that stigmatizes and divides. They can create a dialogue between people on seemingly opposite sides. However, to do so, those people need to come in contact with the performing arts in the first place. However, theater attendance continues to decrease, meaning fewer people come in contact with the performing arts and the stories that are being told.

In order to become more relevant, the performing arts need to position themselves in the center of society. By organizing site-specific performances by up-and-coming performing artists in hospitality establishments, the CTF reaches broader, more diverse audiences and proves that everyone can fall in love with the performing arts.


Coverphoto: Vera Bos

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