Closing of Boulevard

15 August 2022

During the closing ceremony on 14 August, John Buijsman read a beautiful text written by Teddy Tops. You can read it again below!

Final text Boulevard 2022

Theatre festival Boulevard 2022, how beautiful you were. From the towers on the Parade and from the water, in a frog's eye view.

Your tents were standing firm and your propeller was turning at 55 beats per minute. How irritating we found that for a moment, but how we will miss it too.

How generous your air conditioning was; how bright your sun burned. We almost burnt ourselves on your mirrored toilet cart. We walked beneath your fountain bar in the hope of picking up a few wasted drops.

Your terrain was more playful than ever. You responded to the environment and the environment spoke back. 
You welcomed with open arms, let everyone in and let them run wild. You let people find the shade in the grass. In your late summer evenings, you let them talk for a long time about a performance that had touched them.

You also landed on the Parade again: with towers of 270 pallets, next to which landed a large theatre tent like some kind of UFO. She unfolded her feet and said 'Here we are, and that park over there, that's our base'. You had the most beautiful productions far beyond your base, like Eros and The NarcoSexuals. You went on late into the night for the first time, and for anyone who missed it: feel the FOMO retroactively - you should have been there.

Boulevard, you intertwined the heavy with the soft. You showed that steps have to be taken: sometimes with a stretched leg and sometimes with a sweet voice and a string quartet. You showed what art can do. What art should do. You showed that it is madness that art is sometimes not appreciated for the impact it has on society. You showed that it is stronger than any medicine.

You were a factor 50 sunburner against insincerity, against climate deterioration, against anti-emancipatory movements, against homophobia and misogyny, against racism and exclusion. A factor 50 with vitamins for growth, movement, sincerity, empathy and vulnerability. And that was sometimes difficult. Sometimes you learned that it was noble, but that your steps were bigger than the boots on the ground.

Sometimes the people you invited to tell their story were not welcome in other places in the city. Sometimes, with tears in your eyes, you wondered what you were doing, and how on earth you should go about it. And then you would have the necessary conversations and roll up your sleeves again and get the hell out there.

You also talked to people from the emergency shelter, the COA, Wi Eygi Fasi, the local Indonesian and Moluccan community. You had a sign language café, sign language interpreters and audio description. You were wheelchair accessible and had a very large green battery - okay, for a short while you didn't have one and your players had to continue in the dark and the Dom slowly collapsed, but that also provided very beautiful, vulnerable moments of play.

Dear Boulevard, you had cats in your production office and wasps in your coke. You sometimes had meat on the menu in the backstage area. You had 25 kilometres on Kim's pedometer. You were kind to each other, you were honest with each other.

A girl from Guilherme Miotto's community project in the Kruiskamp who came to dance and play football, fell head over heels in love with the violin. She went back to rehearsal every day, first to play for an hour, and then finally to be able to hold the violin. She clasped it with her chin and shoulder, and would not let go.

In you, Boulevard, dreams are born. And the realisation of them, you make into reality. Here the children are the teacher, the violinist, the footballer, the acrobat or the rubbish collector. In you they came together, we all became the playing human being. The playing human being who passes on the message: it is OK to play. From play arises art and from art arises softening of society. We have noticed this in the last 11 days, in our own society.

You were hot, Boulevard, you often had more than thirty degrees, but in the beginning of the week we still had to wear a jumper in the evening, for those who still remember. In the Tickets and Info stand, it was over 40 degrees. And in your tents, the players and their audience sweated on, a little later in the day than planned and with more energy than a huge green battery.

Boulevard: you had a full dirt cart that just wouldn't empty. You had tear ducts that did the same.

There were producers and visitors from all over the world who had to admit that nothing beats this theatre festival in Bossche.

You are Boulevard 2022: you have worked with so much love and attention over the past 11 days. You have looked at each other, held each other, pushed each other forward. You have turned the entire site upside down in order to work in the shade. You made everyone realise the power of art.

YOU are the (theatre) producers, the actors, the dancers, the catering staff, the management, the producers, the builders and the demolishers. YOU are Frits, all the volunteers, the ticketing staff, the marketers, the designers, the accessibility staff, the sign language interpreters, the newspaper staff, the photographers. You are the technicians, the videographer, the international contacts. The first aiders and the security staff. You are the crowd leaders and the audience. You came together. And how. In all perspectives and forms.

Can't stop: You showed why we cannot, but especially must not, stop.
Come together: We cannot wait.

Theaterfestival Boulevard thanks:
  • Gemeente 's-Hertogenbosch
  • Provincie Noord-Brabant
  • Fonds Podiumkunsten
  • Brabant C
  • VSBfonds
  • Fonds21
  • BankGiro Loterij
  • Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
  • Creative Europe Programme (EU)
  • De Versterking
  • Verkadefabriek
  • Theater aan de Parade
  • Apap
  • Performing Gender
  • Feminist Futures