The Channel / Crossing Borders

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On a beach near Calais a young refugee prepares himself to swim across the Channel, towards his new future. On the English side, on the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head, a woman bids life goodbye.

The new text by author Gaea Schoeters is mirrored by recently recovered Shakespeare-text, in which the sheriff of London tries to calm a mob of citizens who want to lynch a group of migrants. The scene shows scary resemblances to the current refugee crisis. Migration is a phenomenon of all times, and so is our primary reaction to it. Each organism repels what is foreign to it: the strangers have to go.

Composer Annelies Van Parys uses the Shakespeare-text as a libretto for a cycle of songs, which set the refugee theme in a historical perspective. The soprano is also the intermediary between past and present, audience and play. Via other spoken Shakespeare fragments she sets the story in a different perspective, turning the personal stories into a sharp reflection of society, both in the 16th century and today – because the similarities are, alas, striking. 

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Produced by Antwerp Queer Arts Festival in coproduction with Muziektheater Transparant, Het Geluid Maastricht, Opera Days Rotterdam.

Location Dates Hour  
Rataplan (Borgerhout)
+32 3 235 04 90
deSingel Antwerpen (Antwerpen)
+32 3 248 28 28
O. (Rotterdam)
+ 31 1 436 60 70
Text: Gaea SchoetersComposition: Annelies Van ParysDirection: Gable RoelofsenRomy RoelofsenActors: Katelijne VerbekeAdams MensahVocalist: Naomi BeeldensLute: Maarten VandenbemdenScenography: Anneleen De CausmaeckerLighting design: Peter Quasters