Holland Festival online programme 2020

From 11 through 21 June, the Holland Festival will present an online programme that adheres as much as possible to the core and essence of its original programming, now cancelled because of the crisis around the coronavirus. An alternative online programme has been put together in consultation with the artists from all over the world who were scheduled to perform in the 2020 festival. The festival’s original theme, provided by associate artist Bill T. Jones, has been expanded. The new theme is In pursuit of the we – in times of social distancing. More than thirty performances and other contributions will be available for viewing on this website. The complete programme will go online on 9 June.

Shared experience
Right now, when we cannot see and hear live performances with other people, it is becoming all the more evident just how important it is to share these experiences. And this is exactly why the Holland Festival does not intend to let June 2020 pass by in silence. The festival organisers asked the artists booked for the ‘physical’ festival to contribute to the Holland Festival online programme 2.0-2.0. For eleven consecutive days, the festival will present a garden of delights, with theatre, music, film and debates in various digital formats. A lunchtime programme series and an evening programme of streamed events, films, podcasts, video clips, talks and more will be hosted by Diane Matroos and Jesse Mensah. In line with the festival’s aim to reach as wide an audience as possible, the online programme is available free of charge.

Festival theme
The festival’s original theme In pursuit of the we seems more relevant than ever today, and it has been fittingly expanded to In pursuit of the we – in times of social distancing. Dancer, choreographer and director Bill T. Jones, this year’s associate artist, will retain his prominent role, giving the public the opportunity to get to know him better online as well. His performance Deep Blue Sea, whose New York premiere was cancelled due to the pandemic, will be presented in three parts, including a crowd-sourced video project entitled I know. In addition, the festival is launching an interactive portrait of Jones produced in collaboration with him. Jones will also participate (remotely) in an online panel discussion about race, gender and (in)equality, and give a master class to young musical theatre makers, in a programme segment made in collaboration with the Dutch National Opera.

The current situation in the United States and the protests that have spread to much of the world from Minneapolis are harsh reminders of the urgency of Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s The Just & the Blind. In an online version of their performance, recorded live, Joseph and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain will converse about institutional racism and present live music and spoken word in addition to short films, video fragments and stills from the performance. Sami Yusuf along with Cappella Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra will release a video clip of a brand-new – remotely recorded – song, exclusively through the Holland Festival. Rayess Bek and Randa Mirza will present a video based on Glory & Tears, the latest show of their band Love & Revenge. The Flemish-Dutch theatre collective BOG. will provide a foretaste of their language-based composition about language, TAL. with their chat show TAL.kshow. Garin Nugroho’s film Memories of My Body, Indonesia’s 2020 Oscar entry in the category of best foreign-language film, will also be shown.

There will also be a streamed complete recording of Ben Frost’s The Murder of Halit Yozgat, and Susanne Kennedy’s Drei Schwestern. The Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century will perform with award-winning recorder player Lucie Horsch. This recording of a concert played to an empty hall, will include works by Louis Andriessen, Bach and Mozart.

Offline contributions and podcasts
The sound installation Longplayer, presented by the festival in 2018, can be seen again in the tower of the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam. Every day, visitors can listen – one at a time – to a unique fragment of a composition by British composer Jem Finer that started in 1999 and will last a thousand years. Tickets are available through the Holland Festival website. Artworks by artists associated with the Holland Festival will be displayed in thirty kiosks throughout the city. The Holland Festival is also a participant in This Evening’s Performance Has Not Been Cancelled, an initiative by Norway’s Bergen National Opera in which audience members have one-on-one telephone conversations with people involved in now-cancelled opera performances all over Europe, from singers to dramaturges, and from festival office staff members to composers. And De Groene Amsterdammer columnist Stephan Sanders will present five podcasts, in which he goes into greater depth with connoisseurs and critics of the Holland Festival’s wide range of performances.

The Holland Festival would like to express its utmost thanks to its financial supporters. Their kindness and generous flexibility, as well as the support from some key partners, namely the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the municipality of Amsterdam, Fonds 21, Ammodo, many private foundations and donors, and media partner De Groene Amsterdammer have enabled us to put this online programme together.