Jasmina Ibrahimovic has been appointed as new director of the Rotterdam Neighbourhood Theatre Company (RWT) and will succeed Heleen Hameete on 1 June 2019.
“Precisely now, in this historical moment, we need artists at the frontline of misunderstanding, who are capable of stepping out of their bubble and entering into a dialogue with ‘the other’, both in their process and in their product…”
Ibrahimovic has been working as theatre director with Rotterdams Wijktheater since 2013. In 2016 she became the company’s overall dramaturg as well as programmer of the International Community Arts Festival (ICAF). In addition to her work for RWT she is a frequent guest lecturer at several Dutch art academies and she serves as adviser on art and society for national and international institutions.
Jasmina Ibrahimovic regards her new job as reaching a destination after a long voyage: “The journey began in 1992, both for me personally and for RWT. In that year, two rebellious, visionary theatre makers established RWT. In that same year, some 1700 kilometers from Rotterdam, my mother and I were getting ready for a nightly escape from our homeland, Yugoslavia, which back then was in the middle of a devastating civil war. While during two years we searched our way towards a new home, the RWT was creating urgent and powerful theatre productions in more and more Rotterdam neighbourhoods aboutlocal residents whose life stories were insufficiently heard; withlocal residents who were not part of the dominant culture; and forlocals who did not recognize themselves in what was on offer in regular theatres. The performances connected people across difference and spoke to the empathy and imaginations of participants and audiences alike. They succeeded, little by little, to counter alienation and dehumanisation, the very things that had destroyed my home country. In that way, RWT has been placing art right where it belongs: in the heart of society. Precisely now, in this historical moment, we need artists at the frontline of misunderstanding, who are capable of stepping out of their bubble and entering a dialogue with ‘the other’ both in their process and in their product.”
Under her leadership, the Rotterdam Neighbourhoud Theatre will develop an ever clearer social-artistic direction and it will further strengthen its ties with the people and the urban realities of Rotterdam. It will remain a company that, like no other, will succeed in making theater with, for, and by Rotterdam residents who are less likely to perform on stage or visit the theatre. At the same time, Ibrahimovic will remain programmer of ICAF. She will increase the synergy between this festival and the day-to-day activities of RWT. In that way, ICAF will become more firmly rooted locally in Rotterdam and RWT will become more inspired and nourished by groundbreaking international social-artistic projects.