Residentie Opera Ballet Vlaanderen

An enchanted forest at the Antwerp opera house

Research ATMEN... (evolution is silently unfolding)

Our artistic team descended on the Antwerp opera for four days for the second preliminary research for ATMEN...(evolution is silently evolving), supported by Fast Forward and our international collaboration partner Opera Ballet Vlaanderen. During the first preliminary research last September, the team immersed themselves in the primeval forest of Bialowieza in Poland, now the question is: "How can the theatre space look like it has been empty for 150 years? Abandoned, dilapidated perhaps it has become a new habitat?

We collaborated with video artist Heleen Blanken and stage/lighting designer Julian Maiwald, looking for images for collapsed tribunes and leaking roofs. In ATMEN, nature is taking over, fungi will flourish and maybe even a wolf will live in a deserted dark corner of the theatre space. The human-characters in this world live in the empty theatre as their shelter, half-man, half-animal.

Research into sustainable scenography also plays an important role, we have been sharing and borrowing from our archive with our befriended companies for many years, now after GINKGO or: 56 million years ago there were palm trees on the North Pole we were able to once again dive into Opera Ballet Flanders' huge archive and reuse their decor. 

We are incredibly grateful for the tremendous support we received from the amazing technicians and team around Vonk! All in all, a wonderful and fruitful time, full of non-hierarchical discoveries, everyone's idea contributing to the outcome, artist and technician equally invested in what emerges....