NTGent (or Nederlands Toneel Gent) was founded in 1965 as the city theatre of Ghent. It presents its own theatre productions as well as guest productions, it is touring in Flanders, the Netherlands and internationally. In Ghent, the city theatre company is performing in its three venues: the Royal Dutch Theatre (KNS) on Sint-Baafsplein (600 seats), Arca (200 seats) and Minnemeers (200 seats). In addition, there are also partnerships with Vooruit and Minard.
Since March 2018 artistic leadership has been in hands of the Swiss director, sociologist and theatre maker Milo Rau. Stefan Bläske, his permanent dramaturg, functions as his right hand man and Steven Heene is artistic coordinator. Current business director is Daan Vander Steene.
Until June 2018, NTGent worked with a fixed ensemble, including Elsie de Brauw, Wim Opbrouck, Els Dottermans, Steven Van Watermeulen, Frank Focketyn, Bert Luppes, An Miller, Chris Thys, Oscar Van Rompay, Lien Wildemeersch, Benny Claessens and Risto Kübar. From June 2018, NTGent will involve actors on a project-by-project basis.
Foundation and Board
On October 28, 1965, NTGent was founded as a public institution. It is subsidised by the Flemish Community and the City of Ghent. The board of directors is composed of members appointed by the subsidising authorities: five members from the City of Ghent, six from the Flemish Community and two from the Province of East Flanders. There is also room for six co-opted members. Luc Van den Bossche has been chairman since 2007.
NTGent had to contend with financial difficulties for a number of years, but eliminated them in the course of a decade.
Royal Dutch Theatre (KNS)
The Royal Dutch Theatre is located in the centre of the city, within the triangle of the cathedral, belfry and city hall. The KNS was set up in 1899 as a permanent location for the then 'Nederlands Tooneel van Gent' (Dutch Theatre of Ghent) (1871-1945), a company that had previously performed in the Ghent Minardschouwburg. Between 1945 and 1965, the municipal theatre functioned as the second platform of the KNS in Antwerp. It was not until 1965 that the KNS became the home of NTGent.
In the period of 1979-1993, the KNS was thoroughly renovated and a house on the Biezekapelstraat was added to the building. Between 1987 and 1993, the entrance and the auditorium were thoroughly restored and renovated, which resulted in NTGent having to search for alternative locations several times. One of those locations was the Tolhuis sports hall. The total cost of the renovation was 340 million Belgian francs.
In October 2016, NTGent started major renovations of the theatre again. With the aim of modernizing, there were two interventions on the agenda. The flying tower was automated and the loading and unloading dock was moved to the left-hand side of the theatre, making it directly accessible from Sint-Baafsplein. The plans were designed by B-architecten (Antwerp). For the execution of the works, NTGent received a grant of 2 million euros, 500,000 euros for the flying tower and 1.5 million euros for the modification of the loading and unloading dock.
Listed chronologically according to the year in which they were appointed:
Dré Poppe, 1965, Albert Hanssens, 1967, Walter Eysselynck, 1972, Jacques Van Schoor, 1976, Jef Demedts, 1977, Hugo Van Den Berghe, 1991, Jean-Pierre De Decker, 1997, artistic team with Martine Gos, Alain Pringels, Mathias Sercu and Domien Van Der Meiren, 2000, Johan Simons, 2005, Wim Opbrouck, 2010, Johan Simons, 2015 and Milo Rau, 2018.