“Theater Na de Dam is exactly what it is: Theater Na de Dam”, says co-founder Jeff Stranders. The festival aims to add depth to the Remembrance of the Dead on May 4th by organizing theater performances throughout the Netherlands. It is a beautiful, special way to bring past and present together on a day that is heavy with emotions. Theater Na de Dam: “We feel commemorating is essential for the community, as commemoration is about imagining the suffering of others and of previous generations, about coexisting and about identity: you are, after all, your memories, and that holds true for both individuals and communities.”

The creators felt that the Remembrance of the Dead was too vague and too general. Stranders: “The Remembrance especially needed substantive historical reflection. As dramatists, we can provide that.” Plays made specifically for the manifestation will be put on in Carré, among others.

Theater Na de Dam (Theater After the Dam) was founded 6 years ago. The last edition counted over 60 performances across the the Netherlands – from Groningen to different Amsterdam neighborhoods. The unique anniversary performance by Wende Snijders, Typhoon and Joost Prinsen (directed by Titus Tiel Groenstege) was last year’s highlight.

Theater Na de Dam also engages the Dutch youth, who base plays and special walking routes on their conversation with elder survivors of the Second World War. Actual events are played out as theatrical scenes in the neighborhoods they took place in, keeping wartime stories alive. In these ways, the initiative is a new tradition that gives a contemporary interpretation to an essential historical event and, accordingly, the Remembrance of the Dead. Furthermore, the Theater Na de Dam connects young and old Dutchmen, engaging them in conversation about our shared present and collective future.

Stranders is pleased with the support from the Democracy and Media Foundation: “It shows that we are more than an art project. That is very important to us. We create plays, but we also want a spot in the public debate. This kind of support enables that.” He continues: “And of course, we both have a strong connection to the Second World War.”