Ivo Van Hove takes over as artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale


The Belgian theatre director and former artistic director of the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA) Ivo Van Hove took over the artistic direction of the Ruhrtriennale on 1 November 2023 for the 2024–2026 seasons, succeeding Barbara Frey, who directed the festival from 2021–2023.

The board of directors of Kultur Ruhr GmbH voted unanimously on 4 May 2022 in favour of Ivo Van Hove as the new artistic director, stating he is "a great asset to the NRW culture scene in general and to Ruhrtriennale in particular" with his "proven international track record and his many years of experience, including as director of the largest theatre company in the Netherlands and artistic director of a renowned theatre festival".

"I am honoured that Kultur Ruhr GmbH’s board of directors asked me to take on the artistic director at this fantastic international festival, which brings together many artists from all over the world in a short period of time", says Van Hove. "For me personally, it is back to my roots, as it were, to the early 1980s, when I did theatre together with Jan Versweyveld in unusual places like port warehouses, an old laundry, a cellar and a number of living rooms. The Ruhrtriennale also gives me the opportunity for my programming to focus, next to the typical Ruhr venues, on music theatre and theatre. I plan to present a world premier each year, with the ITA company, as part of the festival"

Ivo Van Hove has been closely associated with the Ruhrtriennale for many years. He has staged a total of five productions at the festival of the arts under different artistic directors, most recently in 2015–2017 with his trilogy of novels by Dutch author Louis Couperus, starting with "Die stille Kraft" and continuing with "Die Dinge, die vorübergehen" and "Kleine Seelen".

About Ivo Van Hove

Ivo Van Hove (Belgium, 1958) started his career as a theatre director in 1981 with his own productions such as "Disease germs" and "Rumours". Even then, he liked to stage his productions in unusual locations such as harbour warehouses, an old laundry or cellars. He was artistic director of the theatre group AKT-Vertikaal and of De Tijd theatre in Antwerp. From 1990 to 2000 he was director of Het Zuidelijk Toneel in Eindhoven and from 1998 to 2004 he managed the Holland Festival in Amsterdam. From 2001 to September 2023, he was director of the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA), formerly Toneelgroep Amsterdam, the largest theatre company in the Netherlands. In November 2023 he has been appointed as artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale for the 2024–2026 seasons. 

Ivo Van Hove's productions have been performed at the Festival d'Avignon, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Venice Biennale, the Holland Festival, the international theatre festival Theater der Welt and the Wiener Festwochen, among others. He has directed the ensembles of La Comédie-Française, Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, Schaubühne Berlin, Staatstheater Stuttgart, the National Theatre London, Vienna Burgtheater and the New York Theatre Workshop and has worked with actors such as Gillian Anderson, Juliette Binoche, Bryan Cranston, Isabelle Huppert and Jude Law. His productions have been performed all over the world, from New York, London, Chile, Argentina, and Sydney to Taipei. 

He directed the musical "Rent" for the theatre and musical producer Joop van den Ende. At the Vlaamse Opera, he staged "Lulu" by Alban Berg and the entire “Ring des Nibelungen” by Richard Wagner (2006–2008). At the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, he directed Janáček's "The Makropulos Affair" (2002), Tchaikovsky's "Iolante" (2004), Schreker's "The Treasure Hunter" (2012) and "Salome" (2017) by Richard Strauss. In 2014, he directed the world premiere of the opera "Brokeback Mountain" at the Teatro Real. Van Hove directed "A View from the Bridge" (2015) and "The Crucible" (2016) by Arthur Miller on Broadway. He also directed David Bowie's last work, the musical theatre show "Lazarus". 

In the past, Ivo Van Hove has been invited to the Ruhrtriennale with the co-productions "Die stille Kraft", "Die Dinge, die vorübergehen" and "Kleine Seelen" by Louis Couperus (2015 - 2017), with "Rocco und seine Brüder" by Luchino Visconti (2008) and "Teorema" after Pier Paolo Pasolini (2009). 

Ivo Van Hove staged "Network" by Lee Hall with actor Bryan Cranston at the National Theatre in London in 2017. A year later, the production premiered at the Cort Theatre on Broadway. It was nominated for five Tony Awards, the most prestigious American theatre prize. At the National Theatre in London, he also directed "All About Eve" with actress Gillian Anderson and staged Hanya Yanagihara's novel "A Little Life" (2023). Van Hove has directed at the Opéra de Paris, De Nationale Opera Amsterdam, Komische Oper Berlin, De Vlaamse Opera and De Munt in Brussels, among others. In 2023, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera New York with two opera productions: Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "Dead Man Walking" by Jake Heggie. In February 2020, Van Hove and choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker created a radical new production of the musical "Westside Story", which premiered at the Broadway Theatre in New York. This was immediately followed in March 2020 by Van Hove's production of "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams with leading actress Isabelle Huppert, which premiered at the Théâtre de l'Odéon.