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Director Eva Line de Boer 'I prefer to create theatre for atypical audiences'

Eva Line de Boer and her Euphoria Foundation received the so-called ‘impulse for theatre makers’ from Dioraphte. This award is intended to promote the artistic career of talented directors. It appears to have been successful, resulting in acclaimed productions and a place on the four-year subsidy programme of the Performing Arts Fund NL.

‘I started out feeling a bit lost exploring the world of theatre,’ says Eva Line de Boer. ‘Naturally, I wanted to be an actress, but I became discouraged with the audition process. After that, I was educated as a drama teacher, but things only started to fall into place when I began the Directing programme at the Drama Academy in Maastricht. It feels like my calling.’ And with good reason: Since then, De Boer has been the recipient of the Ton Lutz Award for most promising direction as a graduate, as well as the René Lobo stick for guts, daring & courage. In 2016, she won the BNG Bank New Theatre Maker Award. And in 2019 she received the Charlotte Köhler Prize, which is a talent award from the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund.

Performing arts platform Theaterkrant writes:
‘The acting from the heart, the artificial stage design and the outspoken, alienating theatre language of De Boer raise [the performance] Of Ja to a higher plane. The result is a production that is as poignant as it is uniquely funny: Maybe it could have been scaled down a bit but with its big-hearted staging it offers the viewer a wealth of experiences at every moment.’

Melancholy

After her successful start, De Boer is taking the next step in her career. The grant from Dioraphte will help her achieve this and this has been used for the productions of Rust Zacht Billy and Of ja, as well as supporting target group marketing/context programming and developing De Boer’s artistry. The performance Of ja premiered on 9 December 2020, shortly before the announcement of a strict lockdown. It is a performance about social awkwardness, but it also became a kind of museum piece of the pre-corona era. ‘We had deliberately designed the stage as a showcase in which human behaviour was put on display. The behaviour of just a year ago is now very strange to see. Some audience members were overcome by an overwhelming feeling of melancholy.’

Funeral speeches

Rust Zacht Billy was made up of many different forms and shapes of language, images and sounds based around the theme of ‘Death’. ‘We asked people via social media to share funeral speeches with us. The great thing about it was that these people also became part of the creative process. They received free tickets and brought along their personal friends to the performance, which meant we often played to an atypical theatre audience. Afterwards, there were some great discussions between the producers and the audience.’

Happy

It is precisely because of these discussions and the special connection between theatre makers and the public, that De Boer believes it is important for theatre makers to look for new target audiences. ‘Before every production, I do extensive research. Next, I’ll try to talk to a lot of people who come to see the show with their family and friends. In this way, you automatically create a new audience, one with whom you don’t talk about the narrative tension of the play afterwards, but instead talk about vlogging or saying the last goodbyes, for example. That makes me very happy.’

Performing Arts Fund

De Boer has received the good news that the Euphoria Foundation has been included in the 2021-2024 Kunstenplan. The multi-annual subsidy will enable De Boer to structure and develop her own organisation with permanent staff, expand her research and work towards a larger venue performance in 2024. In the upcoming period, she wants to explore her creativity in more depth, for instance by examining what dance and movement might bring to her work. ‘In fact, to use a rather lame expression, I want to make ‘Total Theatre’: to make other arts part of the creative process at an early stage, so that all the disciplines together can tell a layered story.’