Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Groningen | The Netherlands

Theater De Citadel was founded in 1992 by artistic director Rob Bakker and since than it has been the professional theatre company of the North of the Netherlands that makes productions for children and teenagers.

The company works with professional actors and makes about 3 productions a year. These productions are suitable for people of the ages 4 and up. One of these 3 productions is especially for the ages 11 to 18. On average the company plays 120 shows a year, mainly in the North of the Netherlands. Most performances are done at schools, gyms or the classrooms, and there is a strong relationship with the teachers at the school. Each production has an educational program especially made for the production and its audience.

Besides that Theater De Citadel plays in their own theatre or on location.

Theater De Citadel has a wide spread cultural network in the North of the Netherlands: Noord Nederlands Orkest (orchestra), Noord Nederlandse Dans (dance), Noord Nederlands Toneel (theatre), Grand Theatre theater en productiehuis and Jonge Harten Festival (youth theatre festival).

It is a political choice to work like this, and Theater De Citadel is one of the only companies who makes such a choice. Through our work children of all layers of society get in touch with theatre. This is how we want to learn children to love the theatre. Because we concentrate our work on our region, children will get in touch with several theatre styles throughout their school career. The choice to bring theatre to the schools is not a random choice. School is first and foremost a place to learn, subjects such as math and writing, but also a place for social skills and creative outings. But it is also a place where you meet your first enemies and friends, or where you get your first kiss.

There is a lot happening in a child’s live. If not through the disasters displayed on the news then through arguing parents or other troubles close to home. Our theatre can be a way of putting an arm around their shoulder, a pat on the back.

Theatre doesn’t have to be recognizable but it does have to be understandable. The older someone gets the more they will relate understanding to what they see, referring to their own experience and knowledge. For children this is not yet the case. So much what they experience is new that they will accept unknown, never experienced and not to their own knowledge related events as the truth. Young children will accept anything that happens in the theatre as a true thing for that moment. Only around the age of 12 will credibility become relevant. An adult will interpret according to their own experience and knowledge. Theatre can appeal to that through mockery, cynicism and irony. Those are typical adult theatre devices. For a child theatre is not the contradiction between the shown and the known. The shown brings the child a new experience and will be taken seriously. This means that in youththeatre we can only refer to a very elementary social reality (family situation, friendship etc.) and that other themes or forms should be seen as a possible reality. Because of that we have to take the audience in youth theatre much more serious than an adult audience. Because of their naivety theatre is more than just entertainment, it brings a form of truth.

Theater de Citadel wants to confront children and youth with beauty. Especially in this age. Especially in this world. Theater De Citadel wants to learn children and teenagers to read the theatre, to love the theatre, give them insight in theatre so they can learn to distinguish styles and genres.


Theater de Citadel - Logo
Theater de Citadel - Studio stage
Theater de Citadel - view from the outside



Artistic Director
Rob Bakker

Visual Artists
Michiel Johannes Jansen

Art Education
Roos Glastra

Bouke Oldenhof