Dear people,

Your global support and the insight of our Flemish government that went against the commission’s recommendation – which should be mentioned! – saved us. Sadly, several interesting and good organisations have been shut down. Some will disappear forever. Flanders is growing a bit smaller, again. Where we ourselves are concerned: after a huge uppercut and damage to our reputation, our organisation must shrink. In capitalist terms, reducing scale often means going under, but for us it stands for thinking even more sharply and radically about art and its presentation. Downsizing equals upgrading. In the years to come, we will focus even more on being an open house for artists who aren’t afraid to go against the grain. Thank you for your trust and expressed appreciation. You have confirmed our belief that we must be even more critical of the fashionable trends that are followed everywhere. To speak with Sophie Lauwers (CEO of Bozar, beautiful person, dear friend and art junkie), who sadly passed away much too soon: ‘We need more poetry’.

Poetics against politics. Something someone else who recently died also realised: Peter Brook. He reached the age of 97 years and remained a theatre-maker until his very last breath. I wrote an ironic piece on his ‘mistakes’ in his famous book The Empty Space: ‘I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.’ I wrote that there can be no theatre without an agreement between the walking man and the spectator. And this is one of those pesky problems in contemporary theatre today. Brook assumed that this agreement is self-evident and should therefore not be expressed. Today, that agreement no longer stands surety for the safe haven that art is supposed to be. Trigger warnings, sensitivity readers, the moral finger from left and right, the gods who are once again in charge... Brook lived in a different era. Let us cherish his free spirit, learn from it, and continue to defend art.

MILL – our workplace in Molenbeek – is there for you, too!

Warm greetings,


AMOPERA — A Dystopic Ballad

We are currently rehearsing a new work on site in Vienna: AMOPERA — A Dystopic Ballad. In collaboration with Klangforum Wien, the artists of Needcompany will get to work with more than ninety modern operas from the past one hundred years.

A meta opera will be distilled from this treasury of materials that focusses on the darkest shadow places and most ecstatic highs of love. Using editing and processing, Maarten Seghers combined fragments from different operas by modern masters like Berio, Zemlinsky, Berg, Britten, Lang, and Furrer to create a new work.

Klangforum invites Needcompany to take on the directorship (Jan Lauwers) and scenography (Grace Ellen Barkey) and provide support in musical dramaturgy (Maarten Seghers). Lauwers’ hand is felt in the challenge he presents to the fantastic musicians of Klangforum Wien: to widen the interpretative role and participate performatively in the production. A challenge that is welcomed with great enthusiasm by the members of the ensemble, as we experienced during the first rehearsals, and they explain in the video clip below.

Also to shine on the stage: the soprano Sarah Maria Sun and baritone Holger Falk. With Klangforum and led by the composer Bas Wiegers, they perform the leading roles in the dystopian world of AMOPERA. International opening night on 5 November in the wondrous Festspielhaus Erl in Tyrol. Save the date!

Needcompany @ ImPulsTanz Vienna

ImPulsTanz, the celebrated annual dance and performance festival in Vienna, invited Needcompany to present not one but two productions.

On 17 and 19 July, All the good by Jan Lauwers will be performed at the Volkstheater. This fictional family portrait with Benoît Gob, Elik Niv, Romy Lauwers, and others continues to intrigue audiences throughout Europe and will be at its best in the stunning classical setting of the Volkstheater.

In addition, Grace Tjang (Grace Ellen Barkey) will be presenting her installative performance MALAM / NIGHT at the world-famous mumok (Museum Moderner Kunst) four times. On 20 and 22 July, Tjang will engage in a dialogue with the darkness and her ancestors at 5 pm and 7 pm. The installation can also be visited during the day from 10am on 20, 21 and 22 July, allowing you to enjoy not just your ticket to MALAM / NIGHT but a fantastic exhibition by the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, as well.

And finally, Jan Lauwers will talk to Kurier journalist Peter Jarolin and festival director Karl Regensburger at the Rote Bar of the Volkstheater at 19.00 on 17 July.

fragment of wallpainting depicting duck on water

This autumn, Maarten Seghers will start rehearsals for fragment of wallpainting depicting duck on water once again. This partnership between Needcompany and the lauded ICTUS ensemble is a next step in Seghers’ investigation of the relationship between musicality and performativity and the issue of communication. To this end, he enters into a dialogue with the percussionist Aya Suzuki, flutist Michael Schmid, cellist Simon Lenski, and violinist George van Dam. Opening night: September 2023!

Österreichische Musiktheaterpreis

The Music Theatre Awards have been an annual event since 2012. A jury of (media) professionals selects the best productions of the last season in 13 categories. Needcompany is honoured with as many as 4 nominations: Slávka Zámecníková and Kate Lindsey have been nominated for ‘best leading actor’ and ‘best supporting actor’ with L’incoronazione di Poppea (directed by Jan Lauwers for the Wiener Staatsoper) while Intolleranza 1960 was nominated for ‘beste gesamtproduktion oper’. That same production for Salzburger Festspiele also yielded a ‘best director’ nomination for Jan Lauwers. The awards ceremony will be held in Grafenegg on 13 September.

Billy’s Joy

Victor Afung Lauwers is currently hard at word writing the texts for Billy’s Joy, the successor to the successful Billy’s Violence. Maarten Seghers is responsible for the music once again, while Jan Lauwers is the director and scenographer. The performers are the same as in Violence, although the next text will naturally present new challenges. Rehearsals start in January. International opening night: July 2023.


This autumn, we will focus on completing AMOPERA and rehearsals for fragment of wallpainting depicting duck on water. Furthermore, Victor Afung Lauwers (text) and Maarten Lauwers (music) are writing for Billy’s Joy (first rehearsals in January!). There are also opportunities to see us live, from Germany and Austria to Italy, Slovenia, and Lithuania.

17, 19 JulyAll the good (Volkstheater, Vienna, AT)
20, 21, 22 JulyMALAM / NIGHT (mumok, Vienna, AT)
25, 26, 27 AugustMALAM / NIGHT (Poetenfest, Erlangen, DE)
15 SeptemberBilly's Violence (Transart Festival, Bolzano, IT)
27 SeptemberMolly Bloom (Hanzas Perons, Riga, LT)
5 NovemberAMOPERA (Festspielhaus Erl, Tyrol, AT)
16 DecemberAll the good Cankarjev Dom, Ljublijana, SI)

Stay up to date via the calendar on our website and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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