Sign of the Times: A Culture of Democracy

Forum on European Culture

De Balie and ITA present a one-off collage performance directed by Ivo van Hove about the state of democracy in Europe. With a special performance of one of the most famous historians worldwide: Simon Schama.

The artist and the tyrant have been age-old foes. The arts are outlawed in most dictatorships, because dictators know that the artist has the power to win over the public and inspire freedom.  Throughout history, artists and writers have fought for truth, freedom, and democracy.

For democratic rule to endure, citizens must believe in its worth. Failure to internalize a culture of democracy can lead to its demise. Misinformation and propaganda fuel distrust, which can in turn breed dictatorships. Therefore, nurturing the arts is vital for a true culture of democracy.

Bringing together political speeches and theatre texts, recent events and historical moments, the performance, featuring ITA’s ensemble and guest speaker Simon Schama, reflects on the European society of today.

Every two years, De Balie and Ivo van Hove create a one-off performance for the Forum on European Culture. The performance Re: Creating Europe (2016) travelled to Manchester International Festival and Théâtre d l’Odéon in Paris.

About Simon Schama

Simon Schama is one of the most famous historians worldwide, a renowned expert on European history, ecology and art history. He published numerous awarded history books such as Landscape and Memory (1995), Rembrandt’s Eyes (1999) and A History of Britain (2000). He also created famous television series such as The Power of ArtThe Story of the Jews and most recently The History of Now (2022). With over 40 documentaries on his name, he keeps informing his audience about Europe’s vast history.


Simon SchamaHistorian
This programme takes place in Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, Leidesplein Amsterdam.

Dit programma is een voorstelling, niet het programma met Simon Schama: What History Teaches Us About Pandemics vind je hier.