On the Northern Dutch island of Terschelling, one of the most popular performing arts festivals in the Netherlands, Oerol, is in full swing through the 23rd of June.
By Hans de Preter
Comparable to Noorderzon in Groningen, the 2019 edition of the annual festival began on June 14 and runs for ten days. The first edition took place on June 18, 1982, and in the intervening years, Oerol has become one of the largest location theatre festivals in Europe: this year’s Oerol saw 130,000 tickets sold.
Around 50,000 visitors travel to the island every year to enjoy performances by dozens of Dutch and foreign theatre groups, musicians, works by visual artists and other performers 130,000 tickets were sold last year.
More than 30 performances will make their world premiere during Oerol 2019, and another new addition this year is the Secret Garden Sessions. This concert series with neo-classical music by Dutch and foreign artists takes place in the idyllic setting of Zelfpluktuin Groenhof.
Each year, the festival chooses a different inspiration theme, and this year, the phrase “shifting perspectives” is key: hundreds of artists can use the canvas of the island to explore, create and share. The organisation invites the public “to step into the rolling landscape of Oerol in an adventurous, open way”.
The name “Oerol” is derived from the word “everywhere” in Terschelling’s dialect and Frisian, referring to the time of year that cattle are released for grazing all over the island. The cattle-related oerol used to happen twice a year – in the early spring and late fall – when the grass in their own fields was insufficient.