Since its founding in 1992, Rotterdams Wijktheater (Rotterdam Community Theatre, RWT) has been producing theatre made for and by people with no previous experience. RWT achieves this by creating work that connects closely with the experiences of the audiences they want to reach out to. RWT also organises the International Community Arts Festival (ICAF) every three years.
RWT uses the following proven and effective methods for their work:
● Productions are made in close collaboration with the actors, all of whom are from local Rotterdam communities.
● Local residences put their experiences on stage under the guidance of professional writers and directors.
● These personal experiences relate to subjects that will be familiar to audiences: domestic or local tensions, the search for a cultural identity, friendship, ageing, and so forth.
Every year, dozens of local members of the community step onto the stage for the first time in their lives. For many, this is a life-changing experience. RWT performs between 70 and 80 times annually, for a total audience of around 10,000 people. In turn, these audiences often produce new generations of RWT actors.
RWT makes theatre aimed at specific target audiences, previously examples have included young people, women who are unable to leave the house in the evening, and the elderly. RWT sometimes collaborate with welfare organisations to produce educationally oriented performances that focus on subjects such as domestic violence, teenage motherhood, female circumcision and the relationship between young people and the police. Every two years RWT produces a large-scale site-specific work. This involves working for a period of eighteen months in the selected neighbourhood with large numbers of locals. In the past they have done this in the Heijplaat and Katendrecht neighbourhoods of Rotterdam.