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COCO CHANEL named Best Show

The Wijk Jury, a group of twelve Amsterdammers who had never before been to the theatre, has named our coproduction with Ulrike Quade Company, the puppet theatre performance Coco Chanel, the best show this season. The prize is that the performance will be shown at the Nederlands Theater Festival this September.

Every year The Wijk Jury is being composed of people with various cultural backgrounds from different neighborhoods in Amsterdam. It’s always people who, for some reason, normally don’t find their way to the theater. This year the jury, whose youngest member was 17 and the oldest 62, visited a total of 15 shows in Theater Bellevue, the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Bostheater. The performances were always followed by discussions with each other and with the creators of the piece.

This week, the The Wijk Jury chose their favorite performance this season: The puppet theatre performance Coco Chanel by Ulrike Quade Company and Jo Strømgren Kompani. The Jury has this to say about the performance: “In a minutious, aesthetically beautifully staged puppetry game by Ulrike Quade, Jo Strømgren and the three actors: we are taken into her life. Into her beauty, strength and loneliness. The Wijk Jury came out of the hall: reconstructed, gilded and full of power.”

Hatice (Turkish, 45) says this: “This is not a theater performance, but a moving visual artwork. All the elements are so precisely assembled. Everything got my attention, everything was thought out. The music, the dance, the decor, the actors of the actors and the dolls. Coco came to life.”

Anhar (Irakees, 24): "If it was told by actors, it would not be so interesting. It’s not a biography, it’s not the story of her life, but all the footprints she has put on it. The fashion industry, perfume, and “stand for yourself” are all imagined and transferred. The dolls are like poetry, they take care of your imagination and makes it possible for everyone to make associations for themselves."

For juror Sorayma, 49, from Amsterdam North, Coco Chanel was the absolute favorite. “I was just sorry when the performance was over! It was a puppet theater but had nothing to do with children. It was a very realistic story about a strong woman, and I’m inspired to make clothes again.”

Like most other members of the jury, Soraya had never been to the theater before this. “I was too busy with work and my children. Until I was picked out of my vegetable garden.” Sorayma was working in the garden when one of the organizers claimed her. “When I was asked for the jury later, I said yes, finally something for myself, I thought.”

The other jury members were named in similar ways: Through meetings in the streets, in neighborhood centers, at other local projects or through an old neighborhood jurist who is a friend or family member. “Sometimes discussions could be high,” says Sorayma. “But then I always went home with a feeling of: good, that was a top night again.”

Source: Het Parool