Silke Huysmans, Hannes Dereere & rekto:verso

    11/05  | 19:30 - 21:00


Free entrance (after the performance)
With: Silke Huysmans, Hannes Dereere, Benoit Dhondt, Christine Rufener
Moderator: Wouter Hillaert
In collaboration with: rekto:verso
With the support of: Sabam for Culture

Where to with EU migration policy? Several politicians, including former Secretary of State Theo Francken, expressed their interest in the Australian model, based on a strict pushback policy with offshore detention centres. The island Nauru is, since 2013, a place where countless refugees have been locked up in – according to Amnesty International – 'devastating conditions'. What does that say about our contemporary view of migration? And how different is EU migration policy? 

This conversation brings together an eyewitness from Nauru, a European migration specialist, and Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere, makers of the performance Pleasant Island. With them we zoom in on the underexposed realities of migration policy in Australia and Europe. Dealing with refugees turns out to be more and more of an (export) business, their testimonies and reflections dig back into the humanity behind the news images. What are the latest developments in international 'migration management'? What is happening in our name and beyond the borders of Europe? One thing is clear: neither in Nauru nor in Europe is migration separated from all kinds of other worldwide economic, cultural and legal developments.

See also: Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere, Pleasant Island

The work of young theatre-makers Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere is based on concrete situations, events or places that stand for a broader theme. What characterizes the duo is the way in which they carry out research by means of scientific examination, interviews and fieldwork. Silke completed the drama programme at the KASK School of Arts in Ghent in 2013. Hannes obtained his degree in theatre studies at Ghent University one year before that. Since then, they have been a developing a strong interest in documentary elements in theatre. Their first piece, Mining Stories (2016), represented a next step in this research, as they explored the impact of a recent mining disaster in the south of Brazil, the region where Silke grew up. Silke and Hannes collected witness accounts through field recordings, and brought those together on stage. It resulted in a theatrical polyphonic analysis of the destruction caused by the disaster. Mining Stories premiered at the Bâtard Festival in the Beursschouwburg in Brussels, was selected by Circuit X and is currently touring in Belgium and abroad. At present the duo is working on their second show, Pleasant Island, which will premiere in May 2019. Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere took their first steps at Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek (Brussels) and at the Bâtard Festival. In the future they will create their work under the wings of CAMPO, but will continue to be supported by Pianofabriek and the Brussels Beursschouwburg.

Benoit Dhondt started as a lawyer on the "Detention Project" at the Belgian Committee for Refugee Aid. Since 2012, he has been specialising in migration law and refugee law at Antigone Advocaten. Since 2014 he has been working as a practice assistant at the Migration Law Clinic of the University of Ghent.

Dr. Christine Rufener is a clinical psychologist who has spent the last 3 years working for MSF with displaced people in Myanmar, Greece, Northern Africa, and Nauru. Prior to MSF, she specialized in the implementation of evidence-based psychological treatments for people with severe and chronic mental illnesses. 

Wouter Hillaert (1978) studied Germanic and Scandinavian languages and theatre studies. He wrote for 15 years as a freelance theatre critic for the Flemish newspapers, De Morgen and De Standaard. Today, his energy is mainly focused on rekto:verso (as an editor) and he keeps himself busy with editing, moderating and teaching. Since 2014 he has also joined the citizens' movement Hart boven Hard.

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