Club Gewalt

Between the classes of their bachelor programme Music Theatre, the eight of them would come together for hours on end in the rehearsal rooms at Kruisplein. Improvising, pitching ideas and making wild plans for the future. Eight young Turks, ready to change the world of music theatre. “Many people from outside the school advised against starting a collective, saying we had no idea what we were getting into and that there was no chance in hell that we could earn a living in music theatre. The more everyone kept telling us, the hungrier we got”, says Dook van Dijck , admiring the Rotterdam skyline from the fifth floor of Codarts. Their hunger paid off. Now, six years later, Club Gewalt is taking on the world step by step. Recently, there was interest for their latest production WH0DUN!T$ from Italy, England, Australia and America.

WH0DUN!T$ is a R&B Opera. That’s just a name we came up with ourselves. Do not expect any normal R&B songs, it is more like a through-composed trip.

Van Dijck assures us.

WH0DUN!T$ is a R&B Opera. “That’s just a name we came up with ourselves. Do not expect any normal R&B songs, it is more like a through-composed trip”, Van Dijck assures us. Like many other Club Gewalt productions, this one is a sketch of a generation, based on various fascinations held by the group’s members. “We are fascinated by binge watching: watching series on Netflix in marathon sessions. As soon as one episode ends, the next one begins. It means you are never satisfied and if you don’t watch the next episode you end up in in a void that cannot be filled”, says Gerty van de Perre (24), another Glub Gewalt member. This is why in the performance WH0DUN!T$ – loosely based on the famous murder dramas by Agatha Christie, in which the detective tries to find the perpetrator, or the answer to the question ‘who done it?’ – the murder is not solved. “The characters don’t want to solve the murder, they want to continue the search. Because if you find out who did it, then it’s all suddenly over and you fall into the void”, says Van Dijck.

WH0DUN!T$ is the collective’s third production since they all graduated together from Codarts in 2013. Van Dijck: “We had been working together since the third year and many teachers advised us to keep it up. We thought it was a great idea, so we just went ahead and gave it a try. It was scary, of course. But wherever there was an opening, we kicked in the door. Even at places where we normally wouldn’t even want to be caught dead. We played in so many shabby bars, where our ‘dressing room’ was next to the portable toilets and we got paid next to nothing. So, when you are starting out you need to invest and be patient.”

Now they have left the shabby bars for the stages of the Parade, Lowlands, Down The Rabbit Hole and the Opera Days Rotterdam. For months now, the collective has been earning stars and high praise from reviewers. Still they do almost everything themselves: “From production to marketing, and that is not going to change any time soon. We simply don’t trust anyone else to do it better than we do it ourselves “, laughs Van Dijck.


Photo by Elsemarijn Bruys.