On 1 February the supervisory board of Stichting Theaterfestival Boulevard and Stichting Bosse Nova announced that Tessa Smeulers and Dana Kibbelaar will be appointed as the two-member directors for both foundations. As of 1 April, they will succeed interim director Peggy Olislaegers, who had the task of finding a new governance model for the festival that would fit its assignment and ambitions, its surroundings, and the current time.
The switch to a two-member direction comes at a time with enormous challenges for the performing arts sector. What previously seemed obvious, is no longer so in 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become even more important to find new, complementary ways of working. Simultaneously, this calls for a new generation of leaders who embody and further shape these developments in order to explore and safeguard the future of the performing arts. Broad leadership, making the work practice more sustainable, increasing impact, and intensifying existing and new relationships with the public, makers, and (financial) partners are paramount. With Smeulers and Kibbelaar at the head of the organization, the supervisory board is convinced that Theaterfestival Boulevard is in good hands.
Tessa Smeulers (1982) started at Theaterfestival Boulevard in 2009. As head of programming, she has been making the festival’s artistic choices and determining its signature for a number of years. Among other things, she is a member of the advisory board of the Erasmushuis in Jakarta and an advisor to project subsidies for the municipality of Utrecht. With her, the festival safeguards its artistic values and network, and Theaterfestival Boulevard will enter its next chapter with a profound knowledge of its history.
Tessa Smeulers: "With great love for Theaterfestival Boulevard, I have been able to play a role in the meeting between audiences and artists for quite some time now. In a festival where themes that deal with the world of today are addressed, where artists are bold and soft at the same time, where audiences fervently immerse themselves in a total experience. With my accumulated knowledge and experience, I look forward to my new role with great enthusiasm."
Dana Kibbelaar (1972) held numerous positions for various cultural organizations. She currently works at the Performing Arts Fund NL. Before that, she was head of the program production and manager of Teatro Luna Blou in Curaçao and taught event management at The University of the Dutch Caribbean. From 2009 she worked for Theatergroep Siberia and Maas Theater and Dance, where she was responsible for acquisition and relationship management. Additionally, over the years she has gained substantial knowledge and experience in advisory positions within the Netherlands and the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
The managerial experience she gained at Bijlmer Parktheater, among others, will undoubtedly prove important to her for this step. Dana brings a fresh perspective and broad additional knowledge with which the festival can continue to develop as a pioneering public festival.
Dana Kibbelaar: "The social power of art is underestimated. Now, more than ever, I feel the duty to stand next to the artist who shows us the many truths of our society, who gives us a place for our fears and moves us with beauty. Theaterfestival Boulevard adapts to the needs of society, artists and audiences. I look forward to continuing this in collaboration with Tessa Smeulers."
Mieke Geeraedts, chairman of the Supervisory Board: "We have every confidence in these two women who, with their complimentary profiles, will add a powerful next chapter to the festival. This governance model, with its management at the center of its broad team and with joint responsibility, fits in with a new generation of leaders who do not want to operate in a traditional hierarchy in their leadership, but who want to shape a polyphony. Leaders with wide-ranging knowledge and skills who want to strengthen the connection between the various substantive domains in the performing arts."
As of 1 April, Heleen Herbert, commercial director and HR director of Heijmans, will succeed Mieke Geeraedts as chairman of the supervisory board.
Theaterfestival Boulevard 2022 will take place from 4 to 14 August.