© Jan Versweyveld

The artistic director of the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam will succeed the current artistic director Barbara Frey on 1 November 2023 – Minister Pfeiffer-Poensgen: Ivo van Hove inspires a global audience with ambitious and multi-faceted productions.

Just a few days after the incumbent artistic director, Barbara Frey, announced her broad-based and diverse programme for the Ruhrtriennale 2022, the second part of the three-year cycle, we are getting a glimpse into the immediate future of this largest culture festival in North Rhine-Westphalia. Today, 4 May 2022, the state’s Minister for Culture, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, introduced Ivo van Hove as Barbara Frey’s successor as from the 2024 season. The Belgian-born theatre director and artistic chief of Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA) will take over the directorship, which changes every three years, in time for the 2024– 2026 season. The board of directors of Kultur Ruhr GmbH, chaired by the Minister, voted unanimously in favour of Ivo van Hove as the new artistic director. He will take office on 1 November 2023.

»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, Ivo van Hove is a great asset to the NRW culture scene in general and to Ruhrtriennale in particular. He has staged several productions for the Ruhrtriennale in recent years and is therefore already more than familiar with the Ruhr’s characteristic venues. His ambitious productions aim to inspire a wide audience. His critically acclaimed renderings, ranging from classical and modern theatre to film and opera, testify to the success he has achieved in Amsterdam and during his worldwide guest performances. The Ruhrtriennale will surely be shaped by this approach during his tenure,« says the Minister Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen.

»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. 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,« says Ivo van Hove.

»Even though the necessary lead time for the search of a director means that the announcement of the future artistic director always coincides with the incumbent artistic director’s active season, the Ruhrtriennale will be dominated by Barbara Frey and her team this summer and next. The first impressions of this year's programme hint at another promising period where a multitude of artistic positions, whilst conscious of the seemingly never-ending crises, convey a clever, challenging and sensual ‘gestus’,« says the Minister, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen.

Personal details:
Ivo van Hove (*1958 in Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium) has been artistic director of the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam ITA (formerly Toneelgroep Amsterdam), the largest theatre ensemble in the Netherlands, since 2001. From 1998 to 2004 he was artistic director of the Holland Festival, one of the most long-standing Dutch music and theatre festivals. For his theatre and opera productions, he draws on the entire range of classical and modern material, and often uses film material as well. His productions are performed at festivals in Edinburgh and Venice, in Lisbon, Verona, Rome and Vienna, among others, and on international stages in London, Taipei, Seoul, Sydney, Buenos Aires and New York. His most important works include an adaptation of Shakespeare's Roman Tragedies, Ingmar Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage as well as countless international performances such as Hedda Gabler at the National Theatre in London or Luchino Visconti's Obsession, also in London at the Barbican Centre. Just before David Bowie's death, he worked with him on the play, Lazarus, which has run in New York, London, Amsterdam and many other cities. His productions can be seen at the Schaubühne Berlin, the Théâtre de l'Odéon in Paris, the Hamburg Schauspielhaus, the Comédie-Française and on Broadway. His opera productions include Don Giovanni at the Paris Opera and Macbeth at the Opéra de Lyon. In 2023 he will make his debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera.

Van Hove has received numerous international awards for his work, including two Tony Awards and two Olivier Awards – the most important theatre and music awards in the US and Britain – as well as many other prizes in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. He is a recipient of the French Ministry of Culture’s ‘Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’, the Order of the Arts and the Letters, and has been awarded the Order of the Crown by King Philippe of Belgium for his cultural services.