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February 1, 2017

The minds of the makers: Mattijs Verhallen

Art & Cult

Once a year, Volkshotel transforms into one big stage during Secret Rooms. Where bright, new theatre makers go wild. Bump into a little band in the elevator, join a theater-genius in an intimate hotel room or get lost in the smoky basement. Discover live music, theatre, performance art, mime and spoken word. What goes on in the minds of these creative makers?

For starters, tell us a bit about yourself.
“During my conservatory I studied singing and piano. In the third year I got infected with the love for theater. I started writing Dutch songs and I never stopped. My songs are stories with a lot of humour in them. Some time ago I met my fellow theatre-musicians Bas Marée and Ludo van der Winkel and we’ve been creating intimate blues performances ever since.”

What inspires you to create a performance?
“Ok, that’s an interesting and impossible question. I do have an answer to that though. Unfortunately it’s quite cliché and universal: Just life itself. You just try to live a rich life and give in to your curiosity and feed yourself with new things. Over and over again. Then the ideas just pop up. Unfortunately there isn’t some kind of fountain of everlasting inspiration. If there was, I guess it would be pretty busy with people stuffing their pockets with endless inspiration.”

What will you do during Secret Rooms?
“Well we have this Dutch poet that we love. Jean-Pierre Rawie. He’s quite a renown poet, but for some reason there are a lot of people that still don’t know him. His poems and word skills are out of this world. So beautiful. Being a blues musician, I one day tried to sing one of his poems while playing the piano. And that was a match made in heaven. So for Secret Rooms Bas, Ludo and me are playing the Rawie blues in a hotel room. Maybe we will put Ludo with his double-bass in the bathtub. Preferably with a little bit of water in it.”

Mattijs Verhallen - Dit alles

How does an unusual location, like a hotel room or elevator, contribute to your performance?
“It just does something with the vibe. Normally we play living room festivals and a lot of times it really feels like you’re inviting the audience in your own living-room. The fun thing is that you don’t have separate areas for the audience and us. You’re actually sharing your stage with them.”

Can you tell us a little secret of your own?
“Somewhere in Volkshotel I quite possibly may, or may not, have used some form of illegal substance. In a theoretical bathtub in one of the hotel rooms. On the night of the big opening-party of Volkshotel. But it’s also quite possible that this never happened…”


// Secret Rooms – Location theatre festival for curious minds
Sunday 26 February 2017 // 13:00-22:00
Tickets between €7,50 and €12,50 per show
Available online //

// Dit Alles by Mattijs Verhallen
Find out more about Mattijs’ Secret Rooms performance.

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