Sense of Placeclose
As a location theatre festival, Oerol has been operating for years on the line that separates culture and nature; theatre as a layer of imagination over the landscape. Every year, human intervention takes temporary shape, in the form of shows, visual projects and musical performances in the countryside. But Oerol is increasingly the place for developing artistic projects that enter into a long-term dialogue with the countryside; interventions and additions to the landscape that last, rather than simply returning home on the boat once the festival has finished. Read on if you want to know how we will give shape to this laboratory function, this year and in the years to come.
During the 90s I developed the Oerol festival and the focus changed from visual theatre to site-specific theatre; the landscape became more and more important. Mapping the landscape, environmental performances – the island as a 21st century stage.
According to Marcel Proust: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.”
I spread my wings. I feel like a sea eagle nesting on Terschelling. I fly across the Wadden in search of unique locations, the stories of the shallows, traditions and heritage, current affairs, and the future of development in an extraordinary tidal landscape. I translate the elusive, scientific and sometimes political thinking of conservation managers and organisations into art, theatre and knowledge. As a result, I am able to make an involved audience privy to my mission of taking the environment seriously as a stage, as a supply source and as a source of inspiration, through observation and experience. Through our location, I want to emphasise our spatial identity even more. It has to be a response to social changes and globalisation. After all, people are once again searching locally for their own place in the world. One’s own identity. Not because of nationalism, but because of awareness.
“Once in his life, a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth, I believe. He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience, to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it. He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands in every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon it. He ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind. He ought to recollect the glare of noon and all the colours of the dawn and dusk.” (N. Scott Momaday)
Sense of Place will make the spectator curious by raising questions to which they want to find answers. Sense of Place is about the universal. About the slow, unstoppable processes to which the Wadden area is subjected, and about intangible values that need to be rediscovered. Sense of Place wants to visualise the invisible changes in the tidal landscape. And not just the physical dynamics but also the beautiful stories and mystical elements of the Wadden area with its hinterland of mounds, dykes, polders, churches, and a special community of farmers and fishermen.
In the “Wadschouwburg” Sense of Place creates the floating base that will allow this dance to be fully appreciated. It protects, but also creates, the most beautiful performance of the choreography that was inspired by the landscape. “Thou, nature, art my goddess” (Shakespeare, King Lear).