Who? Matthijs Rijsdijk (25)
From? Oud Gastel, the Netherlands
Studies? Music Theatre
What? Was one if the roughly 40 students and alumni who performed at the Christmas dinner at Rotterdam town hall. The dinner is a gift from Codarts to the city.
Christmas dinner at Rotterdam town hall… Do tell!
“It is by now a tradition that during the Christmas dinner with the Mayor, the aldermen and the council of Rotterdam, and other guests, totalling over 150 people, Codarts presents entertainment in between the four courses. All disciplines – music, dance, and circus art – are involved, including many crossovers. Director Arlon Luijten asked me to be the MC, the Master of Ceremonies. In addition, I’m performing with the Saturners, the music theatre collective consisting of fellow students Jip Warmerdam and Veronique Post and myself – and I will sing two songs: ‘Giants in the Sky’ from Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim and ‘Toch hou ik van je, Rotterdam’ by Gerard Cox. Is that fun? You bet it is!”
Music theatre is not your first study.
“That’s right. I’ve also studied Language and Literature at the Free University of Brussels. I was good at studying and I sort of automatically went to university. I wasn’t that much into theatre at the time and hadn’t really been in contact with it until I joined the University’s musical society at. I enjoyed that so much! In my spare time I took singing and dancing lessons in Brussels. In my final year, I started doing auditions, at Codarts as well. To my great joy I was accepted! It was the happiest moment of my life. To this day, I am still so happy that I ended up here. I greatly appreciate the school and the music theatre study programme. Already during the audition – four rounds in three months’ time – I liked it here. Apparently, the audition committee detected some talent in me that was worthy of development. Well, they were right, ha ha. In spite of the high demands of the programme I am still here. Fortunately.”
You mentioned the music theatre collective Saturners…
“Yes. These two young ladies – Jip and Veronique – and I have a personal ‘click’ and we share the same interests. Most of our fellow students are mainly interested in performing the existing musical repertoire, but we create and play our own music theatre. We hope to be able to go on doing this after this school year as well – when we’ll have graduated. We have already done a number of performances as a collective during school productions, such as Show and Tell. And last summer we performed in the Laurenskerk. Last year, at the end of the school year, we received the first Hans Cassa Stipend of 1000 euros, which was a great surprise. It’s a stipend from the Friends of Codarts Foundation and we got it because, fully in line with the study programme’s ambitions, we navigate between the extremes of ‘musical’ and ‘experimental music theatre’. Nice, isn’t it?”
What is your favourite spot in Rotterdam?
“I can think of a few places… The Erasmus Bridge, the Kop van Zuid, the waterfront; that whole area. I like going to LantarenVenster with friends. On my bicycle, I cycle everywhere. I live in West, on the Nieuwe Binnenweg. When I cross the Erasmus Bridge, I feel like a real Rotterdammer. Especially at night. The light, the wind, the traffic, the water. I can’t help thinking: ‘Rotterdam is also beautiful.’ It’s a metropole. I like metropoles. They are the opposite of Oud Gastel, ha ha. I could also mention the Euromast. That is such a cool story… I had been living in Rotterdam for almost 4 years but I had never been on top of the Euromast. During the World Harbour Days, I finally went there, together with a friend, my current partner. When we were up there, he asked me if we were now really together. The night, the fireworks, the view, a glass of Cava… Yeah, that was beautiful.”
Codarts to me is…
“… the place where I’ve been able to realise my biggest dreams. Right from the start, the management and teachers of the programme have encouraged me to develop myself the way I wanted to. I’m so grateful that the school is there for me. When I auditioned, I thought: ‘it’s too late.’ But the school said: ‘It’s not too late.’ I already know now that leaving here will be a very emotional moment.”