History | NTGent


​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), and Minnemeers (200 seats). In addition, there are also partnerships with arts centre VIERNULVIER and Minard.


From the 23-24 season, the artistic leadership of NTGent will be in the hands of a trio: Barbara Raes, Yves Degryse and Melih Gençboyacı. They represent multi-voiced, shared and caring leadership. The trio succeeds Milo Rau, who has been artistic director since 2018 and was appointed intendant of the Wiener Festwochen in spring 2023. Current business leader of NTGent is Daan Vander Steene.

Until June 2018, NTGent worked with a permanent ensemble of actors, 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 is engaging actors on a project basis. Currently, NTGent is working with house artists Milo Rau, Luanda Casella and Lara Staal, and artists in residence Ontroerend Goed, Miet Warlop & Irene Wool vzw and Action Zoo Humain.

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.

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 KNS in Ghent was mainly used by the KNS from Antwerp and KVS from Brussels. 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.

Artistic leadership 

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, artistiek team met Martine Gos, Alain Pringels, Mathias Sercu en Domien Van Der Meiren, 2000, Johan Simons, 2005, Wim Opbrouck, 2010, Johan Simons, 2015, Milo Rau, 2018, Barbara Raes, Melih Gençboyacı en Yves Degryse, 2023.

Only humans can fantasise Until it holds from the inside With closed eyes, you can see whomever you’d like Beyond madness, tenderness awaits There's all that future, still