21.02.19 14.03.19

Histoire(s) du théâtre II - Faustin Linyekula


Histdutheatre Voorpub Horiz Michiel Devijver Web Uitgesteld Michiel Devijver
We had to cancel the premiere due to the fact that we could not obtain visa for the Congolese dancers. Read more about in our press release and in the open letter further on this page.

As a dancer, choreographer and stage director, the work of Faustin Linyekula addresses postcolonial issues, inspired by a grim legacy of ‘decades of war, terror, fear and a collapsing economy’ in the Congo, his African home- land. Since the 1990s, his theatre and dance productions have toured the world, mixing artistic references from European, African and American art traditions and confronting them with each other. Founded in 2001 in Kinshasa, Studios Kabako, his organization, is based since 2006 in Kisangani, fostering the debuts of young Congolese artists in the fields of dance, theatre, music and film.

Histoire(s) du Théâtre II (working title) combines the personal story of Faustin Linyekula with the history of contemporary African Dance. Faustin was born in 1974 when the famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ took place in Kinshasa: the legendary boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

In the same period, after becoming politically independent, African countries were searching for their own identity. Ironically, this sometimes lead to cultural statements based on European examples – like the founding of a ‘ballet national’ in several countries, inspired by the classical ballet companies in Europe and Russia. After Guinea and Senegal, it was Zaire's turn to create its Ballet in 1974, bringing together in a single ensemble different music and dance from this immense country... And it is interesting and moving to think that at this period, many African leaders turned to the body, movement, music, to invent a certain idea of the nation. But what could have been a formidable laboratory, questioning the "body of the nation", quickly became a propaganda tool and a source of fierce political rivalries on the continent... With three musicians and dancers, members of the national ballet since 1974, Papy Maurice Mbwiti, a long-time companion and Oscar van Rompay, Faustin will follow in the footsteps of what this young Congolese nation could have become...

Linyekula’s performance is the second part of a new series of productions curated by Milo Rau. The series starts in May 2018 with La Reprise directed by Milo Rau, opening at Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels. The title Histoire(s) du Théâtre refers to a series made in the 1980s and 1990s by the famous French film director Jean-Luc Godard: His¬toire(s) du Cinéma. This was also a reflection on key moments in the history of film: how filmmaking evolved in the 20th century and how it interacted with politics and society in general. In each episode of Histoire(s) du Théâtre, these questions are answered in a very personal way, by directors and choreographers from different countries and with very different backgrounds.

The international press wrote the following about Linyekula’s oeuvre: ‘Breathtaking political art’ (Los Angeles Times), ‘A favourite of the international festivals’ (New York Times), ‘Probably the most important artist on the African continent who is active today’ (Frieze magazine).

‘Breathtaking political art’ (Los Angeles Times), ‘A favourite of the international festivals’ (New York Times), ‘Probably the most important artist on the African continent who is active today’ (Frieze magazine).


standard: €28 - €20
reduction: : €24 - €16
under 26: €14


Multilingual performance with Dutch and English surtitles

estimated duration

  • Oscar Van Rompay
  • Wawina Lifeteke
  • Marie-Jeanne Ndjoku Masula
  • Ikondongo Mukoko
  • Papy Maurice Mbwiti


director's assistent

Papy Maurice Mbwiti

production coordination

Virginie Dupray



with thanks to


in collaboration with

le Ballet National de la Cie Théâtre National Congolais

in copresentation with

Vooruit & Campo during the 'Same Same but different' festival



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