The word ‘theatre’ is often associated with expensive tickets, old people and long, theatrical monologues. The Jonge Harten Festival (translated: Young Hearts) proves that theatre is so much more than that! In eighteen editions so far, they have brought together performances that are meant for young people.
In 1998 Rudi Kamminga and Marijke van der Woude were sitting around a table. They believed that the teenagers of that time weren’t familiar enough with the wide variation of theatre in the Netherlands. As theatre programmers, they had seen many performances in which they saw young people being able to use their imagination in a surprising and unpredictable way. ‘We wanted to show them that this kind of theatre is not only artistically challenging, but also a lot of fun.’ In order to make the performances even more appealing to the teenagers, they decided to turn it into a festival and the Jonge Harten Festival was born.
In the past seventeen years the Jonge Harten Theatre Festival has greatly developed. This year 25 performances will take place in eight days on many locations such as the Schouwburg, Martini Plaza and the USVA. The first edition of Jonge Harten consisted of six performances and had around 500 visitors, whereas this edition consists of 25 performances and over 10.000 visitors are expected. The festival is no longer organised by the Grand theatre, but by an independent foundation. Furthermore, the festival today is not only meant for teenagers, but also for students. But the essence of the festival, looking for artistic challenges, has remained the same. Rudi: ‘The performances at the Jonge Harten Festival are not shown throughout the rest of the year.’
This year there’s also an edition of Jonge Harten in Rotterdam, which lasts two days. ‘In the future we would like to organise satellite editions throughout the country. This enables us to exchange knowledge and makes it easier for us to invite acts.’
The theme of this year’s festival is PLAY. Jonge Harten challenges its visitors to keep on playing and experimenting and to escape from the fast-forward success modus in which the current generation is living. Nine out of the 25 performances will be in English or international-friendly. Also there is an international Brakke Brunch (hungover brunch) and a Jonge Harten backstage tour. Every night you can also go to the Festivalheart Jonge Harten for musical performances, films, the festival lab and much more. So be amazed and take a look at the Jonge Harten Theatre Festival!