‘Big in Belgium’ returns to the Edinburgh Fringe

European Citizen Popsong - Bart Grietens

European Citizen Popsong – Bart Grietens

Following the huge success of the five previous seasons at Summerhall including productions such as the award-winning Us/ThemOne Hundred Homes and The Great Downhill Journey of Little Tommy which have since toured internationally and £¥€$ (LIES) which opens at the Almeida Theatre, London on 1 August, Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Summerhall in association with RBC/Upper Church, return to present a sixth BIG IN BELGIUM season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Featuring some of the most significant theatre companies from the Flemish part of Belgium, each has previously been celebrated on the European mainland and are now presented for the first time to Edinburgh audiences, some translated and adapted, ready for breaking new grounds in English-speaking territories.

Vooruit, Arenbergschouwburg, Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with Summerhall present

ANOTHER ONE –  Lobke Leirens and Maxim Storms

‘If you break my heart, I’ll break yours too.’

Two fictional mortals explore the sufferings of silence. Peacefully. Together they survive time. They defend their threatening depths, slowly squeezing into their world. This is how Another One becomes a sequence of tolerating and being tolerated. A nearly wordless creation by an inventive theatre couple which has previously toured in Belgium and the Netherlands

Lobke Leirens and Maxim Storms are both graduated from the School of Arts / KASK Ghent. In 2014, during TAZ (Theater Aan Zee), they presented their first collaboration; Krocht – a bizarre visual journey in which the spectator, while sitting on a chair, was wheeled through a macabre maze full of mealworms and half-people.

 ‘An intriguing well-performed chronicle about wanting to survive love when love hurts more than it brings comfort. ****’ (FocusKnack)

made and performed by: Lobke Leirens & Maxim Storms

Pidgeon by Diede Roosens & Carine De Swerts

Tipi by Wiebe Moerman

support/advice: Drift

 Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions, Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with RBC present

DE FUUT – Bastiaan Vandendriessche

Winner of the Best International Performance Award at the Fringe Festival, Amsterdam.

Bastiaan Vandendriessche’s new play invites the audience to celebrate his sexuality towards two young girls of whom he was a leader in the Sea Scouts in Ghent, 6 years ago. ‘The thing I love about Lolita is that you’re just completely consumed and engrossed by the ardent passion of a man, who is forever doomed to crave something sinister, something twisted.’  Using theatre as an excuse to be truly honest about his feelings in these times of moral ambiguity, and as a good test if you believe that admiration is endless.

After his master International Political Sciences at the University of Ghent, Bastiaan decided that the world was too beautiful and cruel to stay stuck in reality so he went to study drama at the Conservatory of Antwerp. As an actor/performer, he has performed/performs with many companies including Ontroerend GoedOrkater and Jotka Bauwens. One of Belgium’s most exciting new young writers his next currently play, A white man’s burden, supported by Theatre Rotterdam and Theatre Zuidpool,will première in October 2018.

Recommended for those aged 16+

Vandendriessche shows himself as a gifted playwright and performer’ (Theaterkrant)

This play, with a strong text and a manipulative performer, deceives the audience to perfection’ (Focus Knack)

Marieke Dermul, DeBrakkeGrond, Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with Summerhall present


 In European Citizen Popsong, the audience takes a musical trip through Europe. Last year, theatre maker Marieke Dermul researched if such a thing as a European identity or a common European sense exists. The power of music has erased boundaries before, but can it make us feel connected as citizens, even after the Brexit? With this question in mind, she started a journey through Europe.

By collecting opinions and musical input by citizens from all over Europe, the pop song for unity arose. With lyrics as a collection of fears and doubts. With music as a symbol of hope.

Marieke Dermul studied at the Amsterdam University of the Arts, where she developed herself as a theatre maker and a multidisciplinary performer. She has worked in various theatre houses in Belgium and Holland (MAAS Theater and Dance, the Noord Nederlands Toneel theatre company, fABULEUS, HetPaleis). In Rite of Spring, she was internationally seen at the Assitej Festival in Cape Town, Schöne Aussicht in Stuttgart, Blickfelder festival in Zürich, and Schäxpir Theatre Festival in Linz.

Her theatre work is about ‘the politics of the personal’ – whether big political themes can be made personal in an interactive way. She dares to ‘not know’, always looking for an intimate and open conversation.

Music always plays a crucial role in her work, mixing pop music with documentary material to tell her story. She is inspired by the concept of ART-IVISM – whether art can be meaningful in society, by asking the questions which aren’t often asked. In her practice, humour and vulnerability go hand in hand.

 Compagnie Cornelius, Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with RBC present


Nele Needs A Holiday is the stage name of Nele Van den Broeck, Belgian musician and theatre practitioner living in London.  Nele studied Drama at The Royal Conservatory of Ghent and Music Production at The London Centre Of Contemporary Music and has performed with renowned Belgian companies including the Royal Flemish Theatre, Kaaitheater and Kopergietery.  Nele has worked a television host for VRT, the Belgian public-service broadcaster, and had her own Radio Show, Nele in Radioland, on Belgian Radio 1. She writes a biweekly column for Belgian national newspaper De Standaard, in which she reports about her life in London. Last year, she wrote and directed How to Fail At Being Perfect: The Musical at Lyric Hammersmith, which will shortly begin its second run.

Nele writes songs about the tragedies of daily life: career paths without future, bands who threw her out, impossible love stories: She scratches where it itches. She turns her desires, problems and neuroses into up-tempo melodies with cheerful backing vocals. She aims at your heart, but hits you in the kidneys.

At Nele’s side stands her all female band, who deliver a whole lot of shalala and an instant-holiday feeling. Their music could be described as mean folk, friendly lo-fi, acoustic punk or new objectivity. Nele is inspired by anti-folk heroes like Jeffrey Lewis, Daniel Johnston and The Moldy Peaches, but also by sixties girl bands like The Ronettes, The Chrystals and The Shangri-Las. Further inspirations are a desire for revenge, the occasional hangover, a wide variety of personal issues, a complete lack of self-confidence and that feeling you don’t want to wake up.

Under the stage name Nele Needs A Holiday, she has been writing music and playing live concerts for over ten years. She won the prestigious Theater Aan Zee Award for music and has brought out two critically-acclaimed full albums, It’s My Party and Love Yeah.

In 2014, Nele had an existential crisis, decided to leave her home country, and moved to London following a dream of becoming an international popstar. That might not have worked out exactly as planned – yet – but it sure left Nele with a lot of material for a very amusing musical.

 A Belgian popstar moves to London to steal the job of British popstars. Luckily, austerity is there to stop her.

A witty pop-opera about a girl called Nele who turns her life into a big international mess because she wants to be famous on the other side of the English Channel. It’s a rags-to-more rags story showing the magnificent relief of grandiose failures in love, life, and a so-called career.

Expect theatrical show-tunes and profound torch-songs with an overriding eyebrow raised at the absurdity of life, brought by an all-female band meticulously trained to sing with their tongues in their cheeks.

‘The wittiest songs in years ****’ (De Standaard)

The Belgian Lena Dunham ****’ (Het Nieuwsblad)

 SKaGeN/KVS, Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with Summerhall present

UNSUNG – Valentijn Dhaenens 

Valentijn Dhaenens returns to Edinburgh following sell-out performances of BigMouth and SMallWaR at the Edinburgh Fringe and throughout the world.

The creators of BigMouth return with a thrilling and timely new show. Delving deeply into the politician’s life, exposing those juicy backstage scenes we all look for and asking why anyone seeks recognition in a job that is known to be the most unpopular ever. Valentijn Dhaenens’ performance unravels the DNA of the politician – including attendant nastiness – creating a personage that mesmerises and repulses. While the world’s asleep, follow this political animal as he pulls into yet another hotel, peels off yet another white shirt, peps himself up for yet another speech. Today, we give you the all-time politician: the power junkie, rogue, strategist, but also the husband, father, and in the end, the very lonely human.


Venue:                                                 Summerhall, Summerhall Place, EH9 1PL

Another One                                                      4 – 26 August, (previews 1 – 3 August)

10:00-10:55 Main Hall (not 6, 11, 12, 13, 20 August)

Ticket prices – £10 (£8 concessions)

De Fuut                                                                8 – 26 August

8 – 12 August at 15.00

14 -19, 21-26 August at 19.45

Upper Church (not 6, 11, 12, 13, 20 August)

Ticket prices – £10 (£8 concessions)

European Citizen Pop Song                           4 – 26 August, (previews 1 & 3 August)

18:00 – 19:00 Red Lecture (not 2, 6, 13, 20 August)

Ticket prices – £10 (£8 concessions)

Nele Needs a Holiday : The Musical          4 – 26 August, (previews 1 & 3 August)

22:15 – 23:10 Upper Church (not 2, 6, 13, 20 August)

Ticket prices – £10 (£8 concessions)

Unsung                                                                4 – 26 August, (previews 1, 2, 3 August)

12:00-13:15 Main Hall (not 6, 13, 20 August)

Ticket prices – £12 (£10 concessions)

Box Office:                                                         0845 874 3001