Terschelling Oerol festival: a phenomenon!

Edition 18 May 2017

Terschellings Oerol festival has a reputation as one of the most fun, most exceptional theatre festivals in Europe. From its roots as a small festival in 1982, Every June, the island of Terschelling in the Wadden Sea is transformed for ten days into a unique natural stage for theatre, dance, street theatre, art and music. The shows are created or adapted specially for the exceptional locations where there are performed. From theatre spectacle to mime, from intimate musical theatre to hilarious circus shows, from Westerns to interactive installations: you will find all of this and more in the dunes, on the beaches, in the woods, on the dikes, in sheds and barns and simply on the streets.

With 130.000 tickets sold each year Oerol is a big theatre festival that bridges the gap between emerging artists and a large audience. Hundreds of international programmers scout new work here. Besides this significant contribution to promoting mobility, Oerol also creates a temporary society in which artists and audience meet for several, consecutive days over which relationships deepen. With 75% of revenues coming from non-governmental bodies Oerol is a true cultural entrepreneur. Each year, the energy the festival generates attracts hundreds of artists to the island, and thanks to the endless curiosity of all the visitors, they feel the freedom to create new works, to experiment, investigate and present these.

Oerol is a theatre festival on the Frisian island of Terschelling in the north of The Netherlands. For 35 years Oerol has been a haven for theatre producers, landscape artists and multidisciplinary artists who use the versatile island landscape as a stage. The unique setting is what makes this ten-day festival a unique phenomenon in Europe. The exclusiveness of nature and culture are the main focus points of the festival; the beaches, dunes, heather, woodlands, polder, and dikes, as well as the charming villages and hamlets are sources of inspiration, and are used as platforms for site-specific performances and land-art.

The connection with the island has become stronger over the years. Sitespecific theatre, expeditions, landscape theatre and now Sense of Place. Terschelling inspires artists to work with culture and nature. After 35 years, and with over 50,000 visitors every year, Oerol proves its value and importance.

Sense of Place

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.

During the 90s focus of the festival 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.
Sense of Place is the logical next step, as it deals with human interventions in nature. Nature preservation or selfpreservation? Dynamic coastal protection, rising sea levels, environmental control and sustainability. These are terms which we, as human beings, presently use to discuss our environment with all the consequences that they entail.
Sense of Place opens up new horizons. A World Heritage site, the Wadden now figures as a stage for cultural landscape development and tidal theatre. Sense of Place wants to inspire, be surprising and visionary, and it awaken the admiration and astonishment of the audience. It encourages the spectator to look at the landscape in a different way.

Festival centre Westerkeyn

The heart of the Oeral festival is festival centre Westerkeyn, which is centrally located on the island just east of Midsland. If you’ve not been there before, just join the great flow of cyclists turning left into the fields at the mid-point of the island. No cyclists? Don’t panic! We have of course also hung up signs to guide you. The Westerkeyn reflects everything the festival has to offer, making it a great place to spend some time. There are all kinds of preview acts, as well as swinging concerts, stomping DJ sets and hilarious street-theatre acts, do-it-yourself workshops and background info on makers and their shows in discussions and seminars. So there’s lots to enjoy while relaxing over coffee and cake or savouring a cold beer and some good tapas. At the festival centre you will also find the regular box offices, information on times of performances and programme changes, the last-minute box office for those impulsive decisions or help making a well-considered choice at the help-me-choose desk. All attractively packaged and brought together to create a perfectly pleasant place to meet during Oerol.

Date: 9-18 June 2017
More information: www.oerol.nl/english