An apartment literally on the Grote Markt is the stuff of many a Groningen resident’s dreams. For at least a couple of weeks, the Grand Theatre is making that dream come true for a pair of foreign students.
Translation by Traci White
The students who are chosen to live in the theatre will also get to attend current performances and previews being held at the venue. The participants will also be called upon to share what their own experiences have been in the city thus far.
Meet the Neighbours
The idea to house a couple of foreign students inside the theatre on the Grote Markt is part of an international project called Meet the Neighbours. The initiative is about “connecting and building relationships with the new members of our city”, according to the Grand Theatre’s site.
Meet the Neighbours began in 2017 and will run through January 2020. The project is financed with a nearly 200,000 euro grant and focuses on questions about the intersection of art and civic life. Other cities participating in the cross art form project are Béthune, Lillers & Bruay-la-Bussiere (France), Lublin (Poland), Manchester (United Kingdom) and Marrakech (Morroco).
MOHA, an art collective based in Amsterdam, will also be a part of the short term housing in the theatre. The group will reportedly research how international students experience the city and what influenced their decision to move to Groningen. The group consists of contributors from France, Hungary and the Netherlands, and their projects typically involve the urban environment.
During their residency in Groningen, the collective members will stay in The Student Hotel, where they will also give a performance based on their time spent in the city.
The building housing the Grande Theatre was created in 1929 and originally served as a cinema. It was designated as a city monument in 1994, but went through a troubled period in recent years: national cutbacks to arts funding prompted the founding of the Grande Theatre Foundation in 2012, but the foundation went bankrupt in 2015. The theatre reopened in early 2016 under new ownership. The venue hosts international theatre, dance and other fine art performance throughout the year, including the Jonge Harten Fesitval in November.
Photo source: Google Maps