a short summary

Bloet is a Brussels theatre company centred on the artists Jan Decorte and Sigrid Vinks. For more than 30 years, Bloet has been producing works that have been performed both in Belgium and abroad. In addition to stage plays, Bloet also makes dance performances and operas. The writer, director and actor Jan Decorte creates work that is innovative and unique in the landscape of European theatre. In recent years, Sigrid Vinks, his partner in life and art, has played an increasingly important part in the creation of these theatre and dance productions. Together they are the artistic core of Bloet. The remaining members of the artistic team are set designer Johan Daenen, costume designer Sofie D’Hoore, lighting designer Luc Schaltin and photographer Danny Willems.

evolution

Bloet’s roots lie in the former theatre company Het Trojaanse Paard, which was set up in Antwerp in 1971. In the 1970s this theatre collective mainly produced plays that displayed a certain socio-political engagement. In the early 1980s the mood of the times changed, and punk and postmodernism made their appearance. The company’s initial political commitment lost momentum. In 1981 Jan Decorte directed Friedrich Hebbel’s Maria Magdalena for Kaaitheaterfestival. This revolutionary production made a great impression on the board of directors at Het Trojaanse Paard and they asked Jan Decorte to become its artistic director to breathe new life into the declining company. He was duly appointed to this post in 1982. The company’s official base was transferred to Brussels and its name was changed to HTP. It created controversial productions with a team of young actors, including Bea Rouffart, Willy Thomas, Mieke Verdin, Guy Dermul and Dirk van Dijck. Plays included Müller, Goethe, Shakespeare and Chekhov. In the second half of the 1980s the company explored alternative forms of comedy. Jan Decorte wrote Kleur is alles. He not only directed the play, but also acted in it. It was also in this comedy that Sigrid Vinks first came to the fore as an actress. This piece was followed by the AIDS trilogy (Het Stuk-Stuk, Inondertussendoor and Naar Vulvania), three slapstick productions in which improvisation and direct contact with the audience played a significant part. These productions were performed in six countries, in Dutch, French, English and German. The focus was on Jan Decorte as a performer. This was theatre as rock ’n roll. In 1987 the company changed its name to Jan Decorte en Cie. In 1990 the company lost its operational grant, but it was decided to continue anyway. From then on Jan Decorte wrote pieces in which classic plays were reduced to their essence: poetic condensed versions using their own childlike language. In het Moeras, Meneer, de zot & tkint, Titus Andonderonikustmijnklote and lastly Bloetwollefduivel. This last production was a very radical adaptation, with nothing left as it had been before. In 1994 the name of the company was changed to Bloet. After a five-year hiatus, in 1999, spurred on by some well-loved theatre-maker friends, Bloet made a comeback with Bêt Noir. At the request of Luc Perceval, Jan Decorte (together with Sigrid Vinks) wrote, directed and acted in Marieslijk (2000), Amlett (2001), Cirque Danton (2002), Cannibali! (2003) and O Death (2003) for the Toneelhuis. In the same period Bloet produced Sasja danse (2000) and Betonliebe + Fleischkrieg, Medeia (2001). In 2005 Jan Decorte directed his first play in French, dieu& les esprits vivants, for the Avignon Festival. Some time later, the two short pieces & and Burgaudine (in English and French respectively) were put on in Brussels. In September 2006 Decorte directed his first opera, Henry Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas. In spring 2007 Decorte and Vinks, together with two actors from the Mladinsko Theatre, created a production in Ljubljana based on the Bible’s Song of Songs, entitled Visoka Pesem – Song of Songs. In 2007 Bloet also made Müller/Traktor, which was coproduced by Kaaitheater and De Roovers. In 2008 the opera Dido & Aeneas was revived. Visoka Pesem – Song of Songs was performed at Bozar as part of the Europalia festival. Autumn 2008 saw the production of Wintervögelchen, based on Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, in collaboration with Kaaitheater and Compagnie Marius. It was also shown at ‘Theater Aan Zee’ and was selected for the ‘Theatre Festival’. In early 2010 Bloet made Bakchai, a new play by Jan Decorte that took Euripides’ Bacchae as its starting point. For this piece, Jan Decorte and Sigrid Vinks worked with the actors Sara De Bosschere and Benny Claessens. It was produced in cooperation with Kaaitheater and De Roovers. It too was selected for the ‘Theatre Festival’. At the end of 2010 Jan Decorte created his first dance piece, Tanzung, produced by Campo in association with Bloet. In 2011 Jan Decorte directed his second opera, Purcell’s The Indian Queen, for the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, once again in collaboration with B’Rock. In that same year Bloet made the musical production Liszt/O Death, with the pianist Claire Chevallier, for the Klara Festival. The start of 2012 saw the premiere of Niks of niks, a new play by Decorte based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. This play was produced in association with Kaaitheater and Compagnie Marius. This was followed in late 2012 by Schiller/Tasten, an adaptation of Schiller’s Die Räuber, coproduced by Kaaitheater and De Roovers. For this production Jan Decorte and Sigrid Vinks collaborated with the actors Sara De Bosschere and Michael Vergauwen. May 2013 saw the premiere in Munich of O Death, Jan Decorte’s version of the Oresteia, translated into German by Sigrid Vinks. For this production Bloet collaborated with Stef Kamiel Carlens and the actors of the Münchner Kammerspiele. In summer 2013, at the request of Air Antwerpen, Bloet curated the exhibition ‘Maison Moderne’. For the occasion, a one-off performance and a sound-play version of Bloetwollefduivel were made. Shylock, a new play by Decorte based on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, in collaboration with Kaaitheater and Compagnie Marius, premiered in November 2013. In November 2014 this was followed by the premiere of Much Dance, Jan Decorte’s second dance performance, in which he himself performed together with Benny Claessens, Risto Kübar and Sigrid Vinks. This piece was coproduced by the Münchner Kammerspiele, Kaaitheater and Pumpenhaus Münster. The company has been asked to perform it at the 2015 Ruhrtriennale.This was followed in late 2015 by Geboeid/Prometheus, coproduced by Kaaitheater and De Roovers. Ne Swarte, a new play by Decorte based on Shakespeare’s Othello, in collaboration with Kaaitheater and Compagnie Marius, premiered in November 2016. Oktober 2017 ‘Stand Down’ heralds a rupture in Decorte’s oeuvre. The confluence of live and art are expressed more radically than ever. Musical partners in crime are Jan Paternoster and Dries Van Dijck of Black Box Revelation.

past productions

Over the last 34 years, Bloet has made the following productions:

Mauser and De Hamletmachine Müller, Brussels, 1981-82
Torquato Tasso Goethe, Brussels, 1982-83
Der Auftrag Müller, Brussels, 1983
King Lear Shakespeare, Brussels, 1983, coproduced by Kaaitheater
Verkommenes Ufer – Landschaft mit Argonauten – Medeamaterial Müller, Leuven, 1983
Oom Wanja Chekhov, Brussels, 1983-84
Scènes/Sprookjes after Chekhov et al., Brussels, 1983-84
Mythologies after Goethe and Hölderlin, Brussels, 1984
Anatomie after Shakespeare and De Sade, Brussels, 1984-85
Kleur is alles Jan Decorte, Brussels, 1985
In het kasteel Jan Decorte, after Hamlet, Brussels, 1985
Op een avond in … Jan Decorte, after Hedda Gabler, Brussels, 1985-86
Het Stuk-Stuk Jan Decorte, Brussels, 1986
Macbeth-Party Jan Decorte/Macbeth, Brussels, 1987
In Ondertussendoor Jan Decorte, Brussels, 1987
Naar Vulvania Jan Decorte, Brussels, 1989
In het moeras Jan Decorte/Woyzeck, Brussels, 1990
Meneer, de zot & tkint Jan Decorte/King Lear, Brussels, 1991. Won the Flemish-Dutch Playwriting Prize
Titus Andonderonikustmijnklote Jan Decorte/Titus Andronicus, Brussels, 1993
Bloetwollefduivel Jan Decorte/Macbeth, Brussels, 1994
Bêt Noir Jan Decorte/Oedipus, Brussels, 1999, coproduced by De Onderneming and Kaaitheater
Marieslijk Jan Decorte/Im Dickicht der Städte, Antwerp, 2000, produced by Toneelhuis
Sasja danse Jan Decorte/Ivanov, Brussels, 2000, coproduced by De Onderneming and Kaaitheater
Amlett Jan Decorte/Hamlet, Antwerp, 2001, produced by Toneelhuis
«Betonliebe + Fleischkrieg» Medeia Jan Decorte/Medea, Brussels, 2001, coproduced by Kaaitheater
Cirque Danton Jan Decorte/Dantons Tod, Antwerp, 2003, produced by Toneelhuis
Amlett – staged reading, Jan Decorte/Hamlet, Berlin, 2002, produced by Schaubühne
Cannibali! Jan Decorte/The Tempest, Antwerp, 2003, produced by Toneelhuis
O Death Jan Decorte/Oresteia, Antwerp, 2004, produced by Toneelhuis
dieu& les esprits vivants Jan Decorte, Avignon, 2005, coproduced by Kaaitheater and Avignon Festival
& and burgaudine Jan Decorte, Brussels, 2005
Dido & Aeneas Purcell, Brussels, 2006, produced by Kaaitheater and Klara Festival, coproduced by Bloet
Visoka Pesem – Song of Songs Ljubljana, 2007, produced by Mladinsko Theatre, coproduced by Bloet and Kaaitheater
Müller/Traktor Heiner Müller, Brussels, 2007, coproduced by Kaaitheater and De Roovers
Wintervögelchen Jan Decorte/The Winter’s Tale, Brussels, 2008, coproduced by Comp. Marius and Kaaitheater
Bakchai Jan Decorte/Bacchae, Brussels, 2010, coproduced by Kaaitheater and De Roovers
Tanzung Jan Decorte, Ghent, 2010, produced by Campo in association with Bloet
The Indian Queen Henry Purcell – Bloet, B’Rock, Kunstenfestivaldesarts and Kaaitheater, Brussels, 2011
Liszt / O Death Jan Decorte, Claire Chevallier – Klara Festival, Bloet, 2011
Niks of niks Jan Decorte/Much Ado About Nothing, Brussels, 2012, coproduced by Comp. Marius and Kaaitheater
Schiller/Tasten Jan Decorte/Die Räuber, Brussels, 2012, coproduced by Kaaitheater and De Roovers
O Death Jan Decorte/Oresteia, Munich, 2013, coproduced by Münchner Kammerspiele
Bloetwollefduivel performance and sound-play, Jan Decorte/Macbeth, coproduced by AIR Antwerpen, 2013
Shylock Jan Decorte/Merchant of Venice, Brussels, 2013, coproduced by Comp. Marius and Kaaitheater
Much Dance Jan Decorte, Brussels, 2014, coproduced by Münchner Kammerspiele, Kaaitheater and Pumpenhaus Münster
Geboeid/Prometheus Jan Decorte/Prometheus, Brussels, 2015, coproduced by Kaaitheater and De Roovers
Ne Swarte Jan Decorte/Othello, Brussels, 2016, coproduced by Comp. Marius and Kaaitheater
Stand Down Jan Decorte & Black Box Revelation, Brussels, 2017, coproduced by Kaaitheater