de kolonie


MUZIEKTHEATER DE KOLONIE produces high quality musical theatre for a broad audience. Our productions are both multilayered and accessible, targeting particular audiences: small children, musical theatre for adults, creations for pensioners, etc. People who have roots everywhere in the world are grabbed by global sounds and universal themes which are then integrated into our work.


However diverse and colourful our productions, there is always one uniting element: our artistic director Bo Spaenc.  He is constantly ferreting about looking for interesting themes and people. Over the years he has created a pool of actors, writers and musicians that circles around DE KOLONIEMT, people who often return to appear in our musical theatre productions. These artists, from different backgrounds, represent a wide variety of disciplines. Bo Spaenc creates spaces where they can meet and makes sure they stimulate each other’s creativity in order to explore their boundaries and expand them. DE KOLONIEMT is above all Bo Spaenc who unites, inspires and oversees. He is the mentor and instigator who supervises all artistic input and output. He also composes most of the original scores and is responsible for the musical and theatrical direction. The result, time and time again, is effervescent musical theatre that you rarely see, hear or feel.


MUZIEKTHEATER DE KOLONIE provides room for vulnerability. Sometimes we hire well-known professionals, sometimes we make less obvious choices. People who are by no means stars or who don’t belong to the world of the arts. We choose them because we are touched by them, and because we think they will touch you. Anyone who works at MUZIEKTHEATER DE KOLONIE, whether a thoroughbred or a beginner, has to forget poses and masks. We insist on integrity and intuition and we ask a lot of those we plan to work with. They have to be prepared to free themselves from their preconceptions and head in the direction that their gut feelings bring them. Not adhering to a constraining professionalism but always aiming for extraordinary artistic heights.


Inspiration can be found everywhere: in books, newspapers, on television or in the street or just by talking to people. Driven by “What drives me?”, Bo Spaenc searches for the answer to the question “What drives us all?” It is a search that will never end. Because the complicated world in which we live is constantly changing. MUZIEKTHEATER DE KOLONIE finds inspiration far away but also close by: in the endless imagination of small children, in the flurry of the city, in the sunny and the dark corners of our soul, in the rakish lives of famous singers. It is these divergent worlds that are merged time and time again into a unique musical-theatrical universe.


MUZIEKTHEATER DE KOLONIE produces refreshing musical theatre that caresses the ear and stimulates the imagination.  Speech, text, music and image for each production are freshly constructed. Sometimes we choose material that already exists which is then ruthlessly reshaped. To us musical theatre is nothing less than a craft. Together we chip and plane away until we have an original custom-made piece of work, inspired by the spirit of today or prompted by the spur of the moment. Narrative material and sounds can come from everywhere and anyone, from the four corners of the world. We always end up far from the well-trodden path. This sanctuary is our destination and an inspired but stubborn presence in the Flemish artistic landscape is our mission.


MUZIEKTHEATER DE KOLONIE believes in the multiplying of talent. Not only musical genres but also artists are placed side by side so they can cross-contaminate and fertilise. A jazz pop musician next to someone with Down’s syndrome, a sufi singer next to a famous author, an experienced composer next to an actor who is just beginning. Pluck someone from his natural habitat and he will feel uncomfortable at first but it will also be a thrilling experience. This thrill produces fireworks.  We believe that. Unexpected partners question but also inspire each other. We rate cooperation highly because we know that united we are far stronger than when we are alone.


The prime mover behind all this is Bo Spaenc. Music is in his blood. Since he was a kid he has constantly finger-picked and drummed. He is a multi-instrumentalist who has sailed many musical seas. Conducting and composing theatre, film, radio, television, jazz or New Orleans tunes. (click here for more info). Needless to say all this experience is has produced a degree of expertise from which DE KOLONIEMT naturally benefits. Much has happened to this music theatrical company which was created in 2008 and has been structurally subsidised by the Flemish Community since 2013. When he worked with “De Vikingen” Bo Spaenc and his creative companions produced a whole range of greatly appreciated musical performances for young children. Later with DE KOLONIEMT there were more successes including ‘Geen spijt’ (based on the life of Edith Piaf) ‘Raam’ and ‘ScattiWhatti’ for children and for adults ‘Stanley’, ‘Begin’ and ‘Zoals de dingen gaan’, three productions in association with Peter De Graef ( plaudits include The Flemish Culture Award for Stage Literature 2010 and a nomination for the Taalunie Toneelschrijfprijs 2012).


Although MUZIEKTHEATER DE KOLONIE gathers material from everywhere, the end result is always one harmonious entity. With apparent ease we heedlessly switch from jazz to pop, from Arabic rhythms to classical. Exotic musical instruments next to self-concocted ones or everyday objects used as unexpected sound boards. Nowadays such an approach could be called eclectic or even trans-disciplinary, but for DE KOLONIEMT this is business as usual. With this single objective always in mind: to seamlessly blend masterly text and image with intriguing live music.

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