Living in Brussels

Quit Being an Onlooker in Brussels… Act


The Onlooker in Brussels

Well now … You are one of the countless Brussels dwellers who have the privilege to revel in the smorgasbord of entertaining resources sprawling all over the city, right?

So, let me strum that guilt chord, alright? Don’t you think that it would be fair for you to give back?… give a little?… or simply belong?

Listen, Brussels is an organic and ever-bubbling social cauldron. Haven’t you noticed? So, what if you became a new thread woven into the city’s social fabric?

And there I can hear the “… but what can I do, what can I do …? I am not a musician, I couldn’t sing to save my life, I know no magic trick …blah blah blah “. Ah ha! Do I have the answer to your qualms!

Thespis Is The Ticket

Yeah, that great big ol’ Greek poet, you know, Thespis a.k.a. The Father of Tragedy… 534 or 5 BC …but who cares? Before him, tragedy was limited to big singing processions. But Thespis, the wandering bard, had the guts, one illustrious day, to leap out of his procession and recite poetry while incarnating the characters whose lines he was reading. He was the first ‘actor’. His performance had such an impact on Greek culture that a road show has been celebrating it ever since. That show has remained extraordinarily popular and spread all over the world since. The original name of the show was “Η Ελλάδα έχει ταλέντο”. For those foreign to the Hellenic language: “Greece’s Got Talent”.

And here in Brussels, displaced adorators of their demigod have founded no less than five theater companies. Each with a different flavor.

Catch The Bug

So, isn’t it time to jump and frolic on stage to awake the thespian bottled up deep inside you and finally become the real you? Or better even, dwell in the art of the suspension of disbelief, a state where audiences willfully accept that what they see is real. Pure bliss.

I know, I know, you are thinking: “… but I know zippo about theater, acting …”. This is the point. Those theater groups’ members are mostly expats from all over the world  who decided to get together and … act. Ah yes, I forgot … In English! You may join a group whether you are the pure product of the Royal Shakespeare Company or a proud member of your local knitting club. No difference here. You will learn. Not to mention that there is a lot of backstage stuff to do… even tend the bar after the show. Ah ha!

So pick your fave:

  • The American Theatre Company: 50 years of existence in Brussels. From serious drama to light comedy, from intimate studio productions to main stage classics, there is something for you, I know it.
  • Brussels Light Opera Company: the largest amateur musical company in Brussels. 200 members from 22 countries. I know, you can’t sing but still, they need someone to sweep the stage after a performance.
  • Brussels Shakespeare Society: Aaaah, time to shake your spear and chase that Moor .. yeah, that’s Othello… serenading your Juliet or being serenaded by your Romeo… be an asp … The Bard of Avon is tolerant so, go for it.
  • The English Comedy Club: Theater with a definite English flavor. Monthly playreading, Enthusiasm is the only requirement.
  • The Irish Theatre Group: Don’t miss this one if only for the utter pleasure of working on your Irish accent which, by the way, has been voted the sexiest in the world … Thanks Colin… Farrell, duh.

Now, Go International

You and your talent feel a tad cramped in Brussels? Wait, I have got the answer to this. It’s called FEATS… an acronym that stands for … brace yourself … Festival of European Anglophone Theatre Societies. Phew. Since 1976, theatre troupes from all over Europe have got together for a fierce competition rewarding the best production, actress, actor, stage presentation, stage management, original script and the coveted Discretionary Award. It has so far taken place in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Luxembourg.. Told you… you may become a star in no time… but behold, competition is fierce.

Judy*, Peter**, beware.

Stardom is the limit.


*Dench, **O’Toole