SUBSTANTIVE VISION BOSLAB
SUBSTANTIVE VISION BOSLAB THEATER FESTIVAL AND MAKER’S STUDIO
EVERYTHING MAY BE
Boslab is the laboratory of the Amsterdamse Bostheater, an open air theatre in the middle of the Amsterdam woods, for new theatre makers from various disciplines such as drama, performance, mime, dance, storytelling, scenography and music.
Boslab started in 2010 as a talent development project, where young professionally graduated makers created short experimental performances. In 2018 we decided to take the plunge to a small-scale location festival with multiple performances in different places in the forest. Since 2018 Boslab has existed in its current form with multiple performances and routes.
During the ten-day Boslab Theatre Festival, performances take place in various places in and around the Amsterdamse Bostheater, with both creations made especially for this festival and recreations of previous work, which can take a necessary new step here. From December 2022 there will be workshops, training courses, lectures, research and meetings between makers of different generations and backgrounds, sometimes also with the public, in the studio of the Bostheater. These activities are the start of what should
become a winter-studio for theatre makers in the coming years.
Boslab wants to be a playing field and an arena of autonomous art for makers who want to step outside their own circle of colleagues and who seek the connection between makers of all disciplines, generations and social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Under the motto ‘everything may be’, Boslab is based on three pillars:
- In-depth: Study, research and training.
- Craftsmanship: Broadening one’s own palette, through joint research on the floor and through master-workshops.
- Connection: based on engagement with the playing field of the world in our time.
Boslab Theatre Festival is a location theatre festival. The timeless and place-neutral nature of the Amsterdam forest is our play arena. The ever-present environment plays a game with fictional and actual reality; the everyday coincidence that breaks into the imagination, with a barking dog, an airplane or a flock of geese against a slowly darkening evening sky, is an essential co-factor.
This place also adds an essential layer of meaning to everything that is made here. We focus on two meanings: The metaphysical and the social/ecological meaning of the location.
The Metaphysical Meaning: In art and philosophy, from Shakespeare to Freud, a forest represents the subconscious: the domain of desires and fears, of delight and terror, of ghosts and demons. Everything that bubbles beneath the surface and is hesitant and eager to come out.
The social/ecological meaning: The natural setting also has an intrinsic social and ecological significance in the present day. Nature is at stake all over the world as a source of life, as a supplier of oxygen, as a constantly humiliating organism. Nature shows us the limits of our ability to shape the world to our will. In a performance in the woods, beauty and mysticism always play an implicit role, but also the real vulnerability of the endangered nature.
Boslab chooses to focus on repertory-inspired theater in addition to location and space. That is where our strength lies, our own Bostheater roots and expertise. Repertoire is certainly not just text repertoire, but also the rich arsenal of physical theatre-styles, music and the history of the visual arts as a source for design. We see repertoire as a starting point, not as a hermetic truth or an end point. Sources from the rich (international) past serve as inspiration for innovation and change, and for the development of contemporary theater that relates substantively, critically and full of imagination to the times in which we live.
In all activities, Boslab asks the question for which audience you want to create, how to address that audience and at what stage you should involve them. It is part of the process of finding a form to communicate the experiment and artistic autonomy to a wide audience of both experienced and inexperienced viewers.
Boslab’s artistic troika consists of Frances Sanders, Ingejan Ligthart Schenk and Florian Hellwig. We work collectively in production, preparation, selection and execution of Boslab, in the search for makers, partners and co-producers. The artistic troika guides the makers in the preparatory phase with, among other things, writing, reading and location-specific concept development. In the production phase, we mainly supervise direction, acting, location and dramaturgy. In addition, makers get technical assistance and support on production and publicity.
Joining forces and expertise collectively as much as possible is a working method that we also encourage with the new makers who form a Boslab community among themselves. Makers don’t just come to the Bostheater to create or recreate a performance. Together they are the festival and are involved in all aspects. Boslab consciously builds that community and therefore also enters into longer and sustainable commitments. Some
makers have already played on several editions of Boslab. Boslab, together with the Karavaan festival, currently supports and supervises Collective Blauwdruk in the context of their Nieuwe Makers Regeling.
The winter-studio is developed in collaboration with makers, based on their wishes and needs. The content of the master-workshops in the winter-studio is partly initiated by the