Theatre renaissanceMarloes Tervoort, Friday, November 15, 2013
Theatres. I once was a theatre critic and as a result spent a lot of time in the Amsterdam theatres. Although I liked the architecture, they also were a bit stale with bleak foyers, stuffy cloakrooms, bad coffee, that sort of thing.
How different things are now. In 2008, the Stadsschouwburg underwent a massive overhaul and with a new room, new Leidseplein entrance and exquisite restaurant and bar, the theatre was given a new leash of life. A useful new feature for overseas visitors are the English supertitles in many shows (indicated with a UK flag on their website).
Just around the corner, the DeLaMar theatre, brainchild of Dutch theatre producer Joop van den Ende, rose from the ashes in 2010 after a four year renovation. Although completely redesigned, the building has maintained some of its original feel. The theatre has a separate Grand Café and its menu is highly commended by infamous restaurant critic Johannes van Dam.
Carré, the ‘Grande Dame’ of Amsterdam theatres, was renovated in the early nineties. The theatre was founded by circus director Oscar Carré and is host to the spectacular annual World Christmas circus to this day. In addition to the traditional World Christmas circus, Carré offers a mix of local and international acts. I once interviewed Bello Nock who was the Christmas circus clown that year. He said that he was doing 12 shows in 4 days and since he was suffering from ADHD he quite enjoyed that... The circus acts are certainly spectacular and even put Cirque du Soleil in the shade.
Hotel bars have become hotspots in recent years and I predict the same would happen to theatre restaurants and bars. I’ll therefore leave the World Christmas circus for what it is this year and do some lounging in the theatre foyers and bars to soak up the atmosphere. And taste the coffee of course - I’m sure it’s got a lot better!