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Mariaberg Community Theatre


Europe, The Netherlands

Buurttheater Mariaberg (BMT) is Maastricht’s pioneering force in the field of ‘personal documentary theatre’. The participants come up with the social and personal themes the performances will be based on, and thus decide the content of the productions. A production takes place under the guidance of a professional social worker, a theatre maker, and a team of young theatre designers. In this sense, the actual performance of the artistic design and the organisation of the performances themselves are in hands of the community. 

BTM wants to raise awareness about social and personal problems and shape them in unusual ways. The participants are of all age groups and receive acting training, engage in conversation and are being interviewed throughout the process. The theatre maker and social worker write everything down and together, with the community, cut and paste it in the form of a theatre script.      

At ICAF 2014 BMT presented the physical and absurdist production of ‘Drei, twie, ein, veuls diech al gèt?’ The production was collectively created by an inter-generational group of residents from the Mariaberg neighbourhood in the southern city of Maastricht. Based on interviews and improvisations, the play tackles delicate themes such as alcoholism, abuse, education, ageing, loneliness, opportunities, traditions, and love in a visually attractive performance that literally and figuratively moves. In this show, the cast, which ranges in age between 12 and 80, wanders from past to present. Questions the performance centred around were: do these people want to move forward or backwards? Do they each get lost in their own web of memories and desires? What do they remember? And what do they wish for?