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Actress Katrien van Beurden receives a ribbon for her socially engaged and combative theatre

April 26, 2023

On Wednesday 26 April, actress Katrien van Beurden, known from the drama series Rampvlucht and films such as Goodbye Stranger and Tom Adelaar, received a ribbon from Mayor Femke Halsema on behalf of the king for her unique oeuvre. In the past twenty years she has developed a completely headstrong theater form with her theater company Troupe Courage. Theater that, through local stories, is able to build bridges over seemingly unbridgeable social gaps. She has traveled the world with her bag full of masks, from the Middle East to the US and from Ghana to Balboaplein in Amsterdam West. Wherever she goes, she knows how to get people moving and together with her masks and the stories of the place. Soon she will bring her lived and collected stories to the Dutch stages in her solo debut.

"Making the world a little more beautiful, that's what it's about for you. Without political or personal interest and without wanting to manipulate or influence people, but by taking people seriously, listening to their stories and then converting them into innovative and virtuoso folk theatre. Sometimes tragic, then primordial, but always very special. With a bag full of masks you traveled the world, to a slum in Ghana, a refugee camp in the West Bank, and various tribes in India. But in your there is plenty to do in your own Amsterdamse Baarsjes. Quality of life, social cohesion, are under pressure there. And so you organize a film school, theater festival and free sports lessons for children. It is clear, you get people moving and in contact with each other, because life you think there is no point without a connection. And you are absolutely right about that."


- Femke Halsema, on behalf of King Willem Alexander

Fearless theater about the game called survival

Troupe Courage (formerly Theater Hotel Courage) is folk theatre. On proverbial life and death, they bring the energy of survival to the scene. An international collective of players, founded by Van Beurden, that makes performances and gives workshops worldwide. During her years of restless travels through war zones, Italian performing artists and exorbitantly wealthy oil traders with golden taps, Van Beurden developed a unique form of theater together with her international Troupe Courage. A totally headstrong version of the old Commedia dell'Arte: brutal, deeply moving and highly skilled game about survival. And now, after years of world travel, Van Beurden brings the many lived and collected stories to the Dutch stages in her first solo performance.


"Troupe Courage makes my heart sing loudly! The enormous creative necessity with which they search for a meeting is a great inspiration." - Wende Snijders, Singer


"I've been walking around in the theater world for over 40 years, have made a lot and seen a lot, but Katrien van Beurden managed to surprise me recently. Because while we all looked in a different direction here in the Netherlands, she developed, with her masks and international theater troupe, right under our noses an astonishing, disarming, hilarious, confrontational and primal human theater language that is unique and crosses borders in every way. It is Commedia dell'Arte, but Van Beurden style." - Titus Tiel Groenewegen, Director

On July 9, Van Beurden will present her solo performance at DeLaMar West.


How the boys from the square turned out to be heroes

Last summer, Van Beurden aimed her theater arrows at her own home: the Balboaplein in Amsterdam West. A square where something strange was going on. Years ago, the first migrant workers came to live on the square, it became the living room in the open air of their families and their children's families. Times changed and new residents moved into the square. An open-air living room as the heart of a bustling neighbourhood, where there is commotion everywhere, every inch is inhabited, but no one knew each other. Van Beurden managed to break through this togetherness without being together with the headstrong folk theater of her Troupe Courage, the youth workers and the boys from the square. Stories from the neighborhood have been transformed into sharply detailed scenes and the acquired archetypes form the basis for crazy improvisations about recognizable situations on and around the square. Every evening there was special attention for one of the people from the neighborhood with a special story, on that evening they, and their story, experienced their own premiere. In the performance, a starring role was reserved for the square's unnoticed young talent. The boys from the square turned out to be the Heroes of BB.


“It is completely in line with what I believe today's young people need in difficult times. That their talent is seen.” - Erol Esen, youth worker of The Mall de Baarsjes


Note for editors:

For more information, please email Katinka Zoetmulder | Henneman Agency |

Request visual material: Thomas van Ouwerkerk, | +31(0) 6 1491 3614

If you would like to attend the presentation of the solo performance on 5 June, please contact:

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