HF: The Art of Violence

Programme editor
In collaboration with

When seeing violence, people rather look the other way, but in the theatre, we can be confronted with rage, aggression and violence intended to get our attention to relive a violent moment. How do artists perform plays on complex matters and with such extreme emotions, and what happens in the hearts and heads of the audience when they do?

During this programme, directors Lisaboa Houbrechts and Abdel Daoudi talk about the role violence plays in their work. Where do their boundaries lie in showing violence on stage? Furthermore, we will dive into the difference between art and entertainment when it comes to staging violence.

Before the conversation between the two directors, art critic and journalist Wieteke van Zeil will give an introduction about the way visual art has shown violence over the centuries.

Holland Festival

Holland Festival is the largest international performing arts festival of the Netherlands and one of the oldest festivals of Europe. The festival was established in 1947 and will celebrate its 76-year anniversary in 2023. It takes places every year, In June, in and around Amsterdam, at various locations, both indoors and outdoors, both large-scale and intimate, both online and offline

More about the speakers

Lisaboa Houbrechts (1992) is a writer and director of theatrical works at the intersection of visual arts, opera, and text-based theater. Houbrechts invokes history and the classical repertoire through rituals and portrays humans in a chain of instincts. Her performances are baroque, audacious, but also playful and disarming. “Spellbinding and challenging theater,” is how De Morgen described the total spectacle Bruegel (2019). Currently, Houbrechts is working on a trilogy, of which Vake Poes; or Hoe God verdween is the first part, a production by laGeste – the new name under which the two Ghent dance companies les ballets C de la B and kabinet k will continue from 2023. Since 2022, Lisaboa Houbrechts has been a resident director at Toneelhuis and is part of the collective that has taken on the artistic leadership of Toneelhuis in Antwerp.

Wieteke van Zeil (The Hague, 1973) is an art historian and journalist. She has written, among other things, the weekly series ‘Eye for Detail’ in Volkskrant Magazine, which was awarded the European Newspaper Award. She has authored the books Dichterbij (2015), Goed kijken begint met negeren (2018), and Altijd iets te vinden (2020, all published by AtlasContact) on the subject of art observation. In 2021, she produced the television series Kijken op gevoel for NTR.

Abdel Daoudi is one of the permanent directors of Toneelschuur Productions. His adaptation of the History of Violence, based on the autobiographical novel of Edouard Louis, received critical acclaim. Other plays he directed include Antigone, in an adaptation by Abdelkader Benali and Freule Julie, and for Oostpool theater the performances El Mektoub, Sonnevanck and Macbeth. Previously he worked as assistant director of Het Nationale Theater on the theater marathon The Nation by Eric de Vroedt.


Lisaboa HoubrechtsAuthor and regisseur
Wieteke van ZeilArt critic and journalist
Abdel DaoudiDirector (beeld: Nienke Veneboer)