Seefhoek Series

After the stunning and heart-warming Familiestraat, Thomas Verstraeten returns to the Seefhoek with an ode to this extremely diverse district in the northern part of Antwerp, where he himself also lives.

Seefhoek Series attempts to penetrate the soul of an urban district. It is a meditation on a vibrant but marginalized neighbourhood. Ordinary urban sights and unexpected occurrences inspire and invite Verstraeten to make shows, videos and installations. 

Seefhoek Series is a seven-part location project. In each episode, Verstraeten examines a different aspect of his neighbourhood, only to lift it out of its context, turn it around, take it apart, enlarge it, isolate it, and then finally reintroduce it into that same urban context. Seefhoek Series is like a relay race, where one project leads to the next. 

A forgotten football square where young street players football their way toward stardom in front of cameras. A performance in which local residents transform the urban district into a moving soundscape. An installation in the nearby Park Spoor Noord. A collection of food stalls spread out across the city, seeking cross-pollination between culinary cultures. A happening on the Stuivenbergplein, where throwing and picking up rubbish becomes an aesthetic event. The merry-go-round comes to an end on the stage of the Bourla Theatre, where the preacher from the Astridplein preaches salvation. Urbi et Orbi. For the city and the world.

Thomas Verstraeten invites you to join 300 residents of Seefhoek in searching for beauty, resilience and poetry in a reality that can be stubborn at times.

Fri. 22 Sept., 8:30 PM
21st Century Portrait
Street football on the Jos Verhelstplein, live on ATV

A street football game is presented as if it were a highly important match. Stadium light illuminates the small, concrete square. The action is filmed for TV. The editing and footage, with drone shots, Steadicam and slow-motion shots, are no different from a professionally filmed match. Two football commentators from the Koolcast Sport podcast professionally comment upon and analyse the game. See it on the spot, or watch it live on ATV.

Sat. 23 Sept., 1-6 PM
Bloedworst en Fladder
Caravan of nomadic food stands

A while ago, there was a small red Surinamese food stand on the De Coninckplein. You could get Surinamese bloedworst (blood sausage) and fladder (tripe) there. The makeshift little kiosk was copied and has grown into a chain of 20 identical stands that pop up in unexpected places in the cityscape, advancing like a caravan from De Coninckplein to the Bourla. These little eateries are now a Seefhoek export product that is growing into a multinational on the urban level.

Sun. 24 Sept., 3 PM
Looking for Harmony
live DJ set moves along the Seefhoek district

Two hundred local residents walk, bicycle or drive by car along a designated route through the Seefhoek. Everyone carries a small, portable loudspeaker that plays their favourite song. The Seefhoek is transformed into a live DJ set, an eclectic soundscape representing the diversely populated district. 

Mon. 25 Sept., 8 PM
Met de krik ketsen
World tour of cricket in Park Spoor Noord
On the large field on the Viséstraat, directly opposite the Parkloods

In Park Spoor Noord, youngsters from the Afghan community have long played cricket, a sport introduced to England by Flemish weavers in the 17th century. Now, a cricket match transforms into a theatrical event, with dramatic lighting, a mesmerizing soundscape, choreographic patterns of movement and a large painted backdrop gently gliding by, taking a journey around the world. Cricket around the world.

Tue. 26 Sept., 8 PM
Speaker's Corner
Public gathering on the Schoolplak, about the beauty of the Seefhoek
(the Schoolplak is the little square between Onderwijsstraat, Schoolstraat and Lange Stuivenbergstraat)

Local residents seek answers to the question: 'What do you feel is the beauty of the Seefhoek?' Using their own photos, they reveal the hidden sides of this unpredictable neighbourhood.

Thu. 28 - Sat. 30 Sept., 8 PM
Urbi et Orbi
A preacher preaches salvation on the Bourla stage

A public square in Antwerp, the Astridplein, has been replicated in perspective on the stage of the Bourla Theatre. The preacher stands in the middle of the square. Usually, the city itself is his theatre; now he delivers a monologue based on his sermons on an actual stage. Street theatre in all senses of the word.

Sat. 30 Sept., 4 PM
Mythe van Sisyfus
Rubbish choreography on the Stuivenbergplein

Two hundred local residents walk across the Stuivenbergplein in a single line. They throw a huge abstract drawing onto the ground, made of rubbish assorted by colour. Then the group, garbed in the fluorescent attire of the sanitation department, picks up all the rubbish again. The movement repeats itself. The throwing and picking up of rubbish almost becomes a dance, like the ebb and flow of the tide.

CREDITS

  • Concept, direction: Thomas Verstraete
  • With 300 inhabitants of Seefhoek
  • Production: Toneelhuis, Thomas Verstraeten
  • Coproduction: De Singel, Het Oude Badhuis
  • The performance is part of Dear Antwerp, DE SINGEL's city festival.

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