Far beyond bourgeois theatre: this was 2023






What a year! According to the critics, Milo Rau and his team delivered their ”best” or “most significant” work of their career no fewer than three times in 2023 with Antigone in the Amazon, The Last Generation and The Interrogation – plus two brand-new books and a “revolutionary” opera production!


In January 2023 was the Belgian premiere of The Interrogation. “Milo Rau’s most austere performance in years was also his best performance in years”, wrote De Morgen about the show in its best of list 2023. Rau created this “profound meditation on the power of theater” together with the French writer Edouard Louis, the actor Arne De Tremerie and the dramaturgs Carmen Hornbostel and Giacomo Bisordi. After Holland, Croatia, Belgium and France, The Interrogation will continue its European tour in January at the Teatro di Napoli.


Four months later, in May 2023 premiered Milo Rau’s cooperation with the Brazilian Landless Movement. Antigone in the Amazon – the Swiss director’s “most significant play to date” – has since toured throughout Europe and has been showered with superlatives: “a total show, as militant as it is spellbinding”, wrote La Libération, for example.


No wonder the piece has appeared in numerous best of 2023 lists, including those of the iconic French magazine Les Inrockuptibles, Swiss national television SRF or the Portuguese magazine Publico: “The Milo Rau-MST alliance went far beyond the modus operandi of bourgeois theater, claiming, like the Greeks, to mirror the audience and the polis.” Next Stop: Thalia Theater Hamburg.


Rau’s third show of 2023, “the hellscape and pamphletThe Last Generation, a cooperation with Theater Stap, was declared  “Milo Rau’s best theater production in five years of NTGent”. “Everyone will remember this experience forever”, wrote Radio France Culture about the controversial production that sparked a debate in Belgium about disability on stage.




2023 also saw the publication of two new books, the “literary jewelWhat Theatre Can Do and the artistic-activist essay The Reconquest of the Future. “I have to shout it out: read this book!” wrote the Frankfurter Rundschau about Rau’s The Reconquest, the second edition of which has already been printed.


But that’s not all: Milo Rau’s first opera staging La Clemenza di Tito at the Flemish Opera was met with rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. “The boundaries of opera have been pushed”, wrote f. e. the newspaper De Tijd, and the production was voted both in the Netherlands and in Belgium in the best of 2023 for its “overwhelming richness of images”.


The Viennese premiere of this “raw and magical” (NRC *****) interpretation of Mozart’s last opera, together with a cast of local citizens, will also mark Milo Rau’s start as the new Artistic Director of the Wiener Festwochen in spring, Europe’s largest performance festival alongside the Festival d’Avignon.


But the most important and at the same time saddest event of 2023 was certainly the farewell to our friend, the great actor Johan Leysen. Leysen performed in IIPM’s classics The Civil Wars (2014), Five Easy Pieces (2016) and La Reprise. Histoire(s) du Théâtre I (2018), among others, played Agamemnon in Orestes in Mosul (2019) and was one of the co-founders of the Film School for Mosul. We will always carry you in our hearts, Johan!


Oh, 2023! We are looking back on a year that will remain unforgettable forever – and forward to another year full of shared experiences and debates. Thank you for your support, cooperation, friendship, enthusiasm, solidarity and critical interest!