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Worldwide, there are multiple residency possibilities for Dutch and Flemish playwrights.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the residency on Het Spui, a picturesque square in Amsterdam, is one of those places where playwrights can develop their texts. Since 2006, foreign authors have been invited to temporarily live and work there. Above the Athenaeum bookstore, across from writers' café De Zwart and academic-cultural centre Spui25, and with a weekly book market on the square, residents of Het Spui find themselves in the literary heart of the city. During the month of March, the residency is open to authors of all literary genres. Playwrights can become residents provided that they have worked out at least one play with a professional company. As an artist-in-residence, you receive €300 a week. Also, your travel expenses are reimbursed. Not only Dutch, but also Flemish authors are welcome in Het Spui. The residency is made possible by the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

A second residency location in the Netherlands, which is also funded by the Dutch Foundation for Literature, is on the Merwede square in Amsterdam. Since 1997, Amsterdam City of Refuge has offered temporary accommodation - often for a period of one year - to a writer, poet or journalist who is being persecuted, threatened or impeded in his or her writing. In that year, Amsterdam officially joined the international network of Cities of Refuge, which was founded by Salman Rushdie. The Amsterdam City of Refuge flat is located in the former home of Anne Frank.

The NIAS (Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies) in Amsterdam also serves as a residency for playwrights. The artist-in-residence programme awards fellowships to artists so that they can realise a project during a five-month stay at NIAS that contributes to promoting the cross-pollination between art and science. This project mainly consists of the theoretical deepening of a subject. During their stay, writers come into contact with the ideas and work of scientists from different disciplines. The cross-pollination that occurs can be valuable in the sense that it can enrich the writer's work. Each academic year, for one semester, there is room for a Dutch-speaking writer and for a foreign writer whose work is published in translation by a publisher in the Netherlands. The Dutch author receives a residence grant of 10,000 euros from the Dutch Foundation for Literature. The foreign writer receives a grant from NIAS. The programme was jointly established by the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS-KNAW) and the Academy of Arts.

Residencies abroad that Dutch playwrights can make use of include Deltaworkers in New Orleans and the Van Doesburghuis in Meudon, France, which is located about nine kilometres from Paris. Deltaworkers is based in both the Netherlands and New Orleans and welcomes artists from various disciplines, including theatre makers and writers, for a residency of four to twelve weeks between March and May. They offer communal living spaces, an assistant and introduction to an extensive network. They are financed by the Dutch Foundation for Literature. The Van Doesburghuis in France welcomes artists who work professionally in the visual arts, design, architecture, literature and the performing arts. Furthermore, the artistic practice of the resident must, in one way or another, be characterized by pushing the artistic boundaries and experimenting with different art forms within an international context.

Flanders

In Flanders, there are also various possibilities for playwrights to take up a residency at home or abroad.

In Brussels, Flemish authors can rent a workroom in the multilingual literature house Passa Porta (minimum one working week). Two workrooms are available. The Passa Porta Workspaces are open to authors of all literary genres. Playwrights are subject to the condition that they must have worked out at least one play with a professional company. Authors are selected on a first come, first served basis. Besides the residency for Flemish writers, Passa Porta offers various other residencies, including one for foreign authors or author-curators, for French-speaking Belgian authors and for translators.

Another residency where Flemish playwrights can go is located in Ingooigem in the West of Flanders. Het Lijsternest is the former home and workplace of writer Stijn Streuvels that has been converted into a studio where writers can stay. Het Letterenhuis makes this villa available to Belgian and Dutch authors of all literary genres. Playwrights who wish to write here must have worked out at least one play with a professional company. The writer-in-residence stays in the barn separate from the house for a period of two to eight weeks. This barn has been converted into a comfortable studio with all the necessary sanitary facilities, kitchen, bedroom and an internet connection. In Antwerp, Zuidpool, an artist-run house for the performing arts, offers a spacious workroom where authors can work in peace or in dialogue with other artists. The Zuidpool residency is open to writers of all literary genres. With this residency, Zuidpool aims to invite authors to explore writing for theatre. They focus on the writing process as such, not on concrete theatre productions or text releases. The artist-in-residence is invited to participate in rehearsals, share his/her research with others, attend public text readings and so on. A residency at Zuidpool can be taken up for a period of two to six weeks, without lodging.

Until 2009, the former vicarage of Watou was the home of Gwy Mandelinck, poet and founder of the Poetry Summers of Watou. Since 2018, it also serves as a writing residency. Watou is a small village in the West of Flanders, near the French border. Het Huis van de Dichter is an atmospheric house with all comfort and accommodation. Watou offers peace and quiet and a beautiful setting to work on existing or new texts. Authors of all genres from Flanders, but also from the Netherlands and South Africa, can stay at Het Huis van de Dichter for one midweek free of charge (from Monday afternoon until Friday afternoon, with overnight stay).

Beauvoorde Castle is a brand new writers residency in Wulveringem, a village in the West of Flanders, and is located on the first floor of a village house right next to the castle park. This residency guarantees all the tranquility needed to work at one’s own writing rhythm. From May to October, writers, artists and musicians can take up a residency at Beauvoorde Castle for four, six or eight weeks on condition that the work of the resident has a link with the region, heritage and the castle site or with the life and work of Arthur Merghelynck.

At the end of August 2018, HET LAB was created, a residential artistic workplace in Hasselt where artists and makers working for children and families can research and rehearse. During the residency, several workshops are available and artists can stay in a flat in the heart of Hasselt. HET LAB is networked in Flanders with artists and companies and internationally with the international context of the Krokusfestival as well as with the partners from the PUSH+ network supported by Creative Europe. This workplace is supported by the City of Hasselt and by a project subsidy from the Flemish Government.

Ostend also offers a place for artists who want to create peacefully with the residency of De Grote Post. De Grote Post welcomes both performing artists, including playwrights, and musicians who want to develop their ideas and projects during a residency. They offer support with research, finalizing a performance, technical rehearsals, recordings and so on.

Playwrights in search of a residency can also turn to deFENIKS, which is WALPURGIS's residency in Antwerp. deFENIKS is a sanctuary for the development, research, experimentation, creation and presentation of music theatre. Here, artistic dialogue and cross-pollination are stimulated and new collaborations explored. WALPURGIS has no fixed procedure for the selection of residents. You can always send a request with some more information about who you are, what you want to do and what you are looking for.

Also in Antwerp is the Monty residency. Monty is an arts centre at the crossroads of presentation, production and development of performing arts and a platform for small- to medium-scale productions, nationally and internationally. Monty also acts as a producer and supervisor in the trajectory development of beginning artists and companies through the Montignard project. In that new format of sustainable and practice-oriented expertise enhancement, a selection of young makers follow a trajectory. Every three weeks, they have to present scenes in a changing hierarchy of text, acting, directing, lighting and scenery. A few theatre professionals and academics are consulted as trouble shooters.

wpZimmer is also an Antwerp-based organisation that offers artist residencies. Zimmer is an international workplace for the arts, with a focus on performance, dance and hybrid artistic practices. The organisation revolves around the needs of the artists, their desire to explore or create and the development of their skills and practices. The open residency programme supports a wide range of artists. Some need a well-equipped studio with accommodation for their team. Others may need a smaller space to delve into their research. Others may want to organise a reading group, a dialogue about a particular application or an in-depth discussion about their next project. With eight artists, wpZimmer enters into a long-term relationship. The aim is to enable them to organise themselves independently. The approach of Zimmer includes artistic dialogue, financial and production management and network support.

With Malpertuis Studio, the Malpertuis Theatre in Tielt offers a residency where theatre makers can stay to research their path as creators. During the residency, they can prepare new performances or write new texts and are invited to share their work at the end of their stay.

Het huis van Herman Teirlinck (The house of Herman Teirlinck) was established in the summer of 2017, with the objective of finding a new destination for the house of the Belgian author Herman Teirlinck. For years, the house was operated by the municipality as a museum, until it was sold in 2013. Culture managers Sigrid Bousset and Hugo De Greef prepared an ambitious plan to give the place a new dynamic cultural interpretation, and found a buyer, cultural enthusiast Gino Coorevits. He was also prepared to co-finance the restoration of the property. The new owner gave the house on a long lease to the non-profit organisation The house of Herman Teirlinck for a period of 35 years. Now, it functions as a meeting place for writers, artists, readers, hikers and enthusiasts in Beersel. The non-profit organisation organises literary and cultural activities, stimulates reflection on current trends in society and offers a residency for artists, with specific attention to writers from Belgium and abroad.

Arts centre BUDA helps to develop the Buda district of Kortrijk into a fertile place where the artist's desire to create has a central place. In addition, BUDA hosts around 75 residencies a year - from full technical residencies in the theatre halls to studio work or research residencies. Since 2006, the centre has been using its know-how and infrastructure to support various creations in the performing arts. Each proposal is examined individually to determine how best to organise and carry out the residency. The residencies mainly take place in the theatre halls, film theatres or studios provided for that purpose. In addition, BUDA has two houses - sixteen rooms - with a shared kitchen and shared bathrooms. The arts centre also provides technical and content support.

Abroad, Flemish playwrights can take up a residency in Academia Belgica in Rome. The Academia Belgica is a space for research, creation, cooperation and promotion and is located in the Villa Borghese park. The Academia's mission is to improve Italo-Belgian relations both scientifically and culturally and welcomes Belgian researchers or artists who can take up a residency in the house. There are eight spacious rooms with a bathroom, a common kitchen and living space, a library and a garden. The writing residency lasts one month and is open to authors of all literary genres. Playwrights must have worked on at least one play for a professional company in order for them to get admitted.

Also in Italy, there is a residency on Isola Comacina, an island at Lake Como. Isola Comacina is managed by the 'Fondazione Comacina' foundation. The Flemish Community is part of this foundation, which aims to optimise the cultural contacts between Belgium and Italy. Italy, the Flemish Community and the French Community can each make use of a villa on the island as an artists' residency. The residency in Isola Comacina is intended for artists who work in one of the disciplines covered by the Arts Decree (music, dance, visual arts, performing arts, musical theatre, etc.). One period is also reserved for literature. A residency at Comacina lasts three weeks and takes place between mid-May and mid-September. Earlier this year, Jessa Wildemeersch received a residency grant from the Flemish Community to work on Paradise Blues (a production of Het nieuwstedelijk and les yeux bleus vzw). 

In Germany, Literarisches Colloquium offers residencies for writers and translators. In a quiet country house on the Wannsee, close to the centre of Berlin, eleven authors and translators are given the opportunity to work on their own project during the whole of February and interact with each other. Again, the condition for playwrights is that they must have worked out at least one play with a professional company.

Every summer, deBuren takes young creators to the Biermans-Lapôtre Foundation in Paris. They are given the opportunity to work on new material for two weeks and to have discussions with each other and with renowned authors and key figures from the literary field and the media landscape. To be eligible for this residency, the authors must write in Dutch and be between 18 and 30 years old.

In Norwich (United Kingdom), the National Centre for Writing welcomes Flemish writers and translators for a residency. Residents stay in a cottage for the whole month of April and have access to the writers' colony and library. They are encouraged to participate in the literary and cultural life of Norwich. The National Centre for Writing is based at Dragon Hall, a medieval riverside trading estate, close to the railway station and not far from the city centre. The residency is open to authors of all literary genres. Again, the condition is that playwrights must have worked on at least one play with a professional company.

Finally, Paulet House in South Africa also offers a writing residency for Flemish playwrights. The Jakes Gerwel Foundation is a South African non-profit organisation that aims to promote literature in the broadest sense of the word. The foundation owns a writers' house - the Paulet House - in Somerset Oost, which it opens to writers. In addition to South African authors, the foundation also welcomes two Flemish authors. Somerset Oost is a small town in the rural part of the Eastern Cape, about 200 km north of Port Elizabeth. The Paulet House, the former home of Jakes Gerwel, lies at the foot of the Bosberg. The residency lasts 18 days and takes place in November. Again, playwrights must have worked on at least one play with a professional company to be eligible for this residency. During their stay, authors share the house with another Flemish author and two South African authors.

Residencies for playwrights
De staat van de jonge toneelschrijver

De staat van de jonge toneelschrijver

our generation is often seen as
a lost generation
we feel lost
or we have lost something
a kind of idealism or collectivity
but I have the feeling that we have
actually gained a lot
compared to previous generations
in insight
in consciousness and self-awareness
in modesty
and certainly in sensitivity

Read the State of the Young Playwright as delivered by Anouk Friedli on Friday 25 February at the first edition of Shakesepeare is dead, contemporary playwright festival.