As part of the Zeeland Year of Slavery, the impressive theatre production Zeeuws Slavernij Moment (Zeeland Slavery Moment), a contemporary exposé on the history of Dutch and especially Zeeland’s history of slavery, was performed in May. A two-hour ‘tour’ took the audience along a Theatrical Bazaar with musicians, dancers, video installations, storytellers and actors.
More than 25 artists from different countries performed, including amateur groups. Zeeland played an important role in this fraught history. As early as 1569, the first 100 black people, captured from the Portuguese, were exhibited in Middelburg as an ”exotic” species. By using the songs, dance, clothing and physical theatre from Senegal, Ghana, Surinam, the Dutch Antilles, and Zeeland, it is possible to depict the individual stories. Stories of the Ashanti king, the slave Baquaqua at the gate of Fort Elmina, the escape attempts of the Marrons and their Talking Drums, the slaves on transport from West Africa, the cruel plantation keeper Susanna de Plessis, the language of the Koto Misi of the Surinamese slaves, the Dutch traders at the forts and the Zeeland sailors of the Middelburgse Commercie Compagnie.
The artistic execution was in the hands of Berith Danse, director and theatre maker. As part of the Year of Slavery in Zeeland and the Zeeland Month of Freedom, the performance was made in the monumental building of the De Schelde shipyard in Vlissingen. In Zeeland, there was close cooperation with the Zeeland Cultural Heritage Foundation, the Liberation Festival and the Zeeland Archives.
Location: The Shipyard ‘De Schelde’ in the Timmerfabriek in Vlissingen, 4 to 29 May 2005.
Director/artistic direction: Berith Danse
Producer: Art of Development
Production Manager: Sabine de Tonnac
Director/assistant writer: Caroline van Leerdam
Historical research: Dienke Hondius
PR & Communication: Karin Sligting
Set design/build: Bartel Meyburg
Dance: Yaaj Naffi Du-Spel
Writer: Thea Doelwijt
Actors: Caroline van Leerdam, Sergio Ijssel, Izaira Kersten, Naomi Antonius, Joseph Tojo
Vocals: Surinamese Women’s Choir Konmakandra
Extras: Theatre group Amazone Vlissingen
Subsidies: Mondriaanfonds, ASN bank, VSB fonds, St Doen, NCDO, Province of Zeeland, Pr Bernard Cultuurfonds, BPF Bouwinvest, Municipality of Vlissingen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HIVOS, Vd Velde publications, St Moerman.
Special thanks to: St Cultureel Erfgoed, Zeeuws archief en Zeeuws Slavernij Verleden [ affiche + nieuws item tv Zeeland].