A few months ago I was very excited that Joey Ruigrok van der Werven was coming to Perth, from the legendary Doegtroep Theatre, Holland, to give an inspirational lecture on creating image based performance events in Australia,
Doegtroupe reinvented the ordinary world with their street theatre, the name means theatre of rubbish! From Joeys time as an Engineer with Doegtroep, he believes artists step out of society and hold a mirror to reinterpret life. If you take away the arts people become very poor. Artists need space to discover and explore as these iconic European companies had in the 1980’s.
Joey also ran a weekend masterclass on creating large scale spectacle and and inventing performance environments.
‘one of the unsung heroes of Australian contemporary performance’ Realtime
This was right up my street, as a visual theatre maker,I have always wanted to scale up , from small scale theatre to gigantic with the dreams of making large scale sensory spectacles for families. So I was very happy to also be invited to the masterclass to work and share ideas with other WA artists, thanks to Performing Lines.
Joey believes the director is a facilitator of process, and that you can only make the large scale work if you can make the small scale, which is heartening to hear. Doegtrope obtained money from building foundations,as acertain % can be used for public art which does not always have to be a sculpture or fountain.
for a full overview of the lecture please see Towards a new australian theatre genre’ lecture at
Joey is now based in Australia and has developed his own methodology on creating large scale site specific and community work. His intention is to make image driven community theatre, using real life events, bringing theatre to the people in their environment. Theres no need for a theatre infrastructure here, using industrial, abandoned spaces and bringing new life. He discussed how the renegade artist theatre companies, such as La Fura (Spain), Royal de Luxe (France) and Doegtrope (Holland) have become iconic for their country, as with La fura’s giant puppet and spectacle for the Olympics in 1992.
To be continued