Thomas Verstraeten


In September 2021 I created Familiestraat. Familiestraat was about the truly extraordinary, but also perfectly normal street where I live and work in Antwerp, Belgium. This unremarkable street is located right in the heart of the Seefhoek, one of the most vibrant and diverse parts of the city. During the bizarre year 2020, I tried to inventory and describe everyday life in Familiestraat. In order to then seek out the relationship between what is happening in the street, and what is going on in the world at the same moment. Does the butterfly effect really exist? Someone who drops a flowerpot from their window may unconsciously be setting in motion another worldly event.

For this performance, I built a life-size replica of Familiestraat in cardboard. At the head of it was a grandstand. Spectacular theatrical resources - lighting, sound, music, scenery, special effects, rain - were deployed to turn humdrum occurrences into drama, thereby juxtaposing the little human being with a big, majestic, uncontrollable environment. Together with 250 local residents I created a six-hour performance in which a whole year passed by. From cold winter nights to sultry summer evenings. Familiestraat was a performance about the influence of the big on the small and vice versa. A poetic and fragile attempt to understand life.


With: 250 participants of The Seefhoek
Production manager: Joris Goorden, Yuni Mahieu, Adel Setta, Eline Verzelen
Production assistant: Jacob Liégeois
Assistant director: Janne Coonen
Cue directors: Willem Badenhorst, Carolien Cuyvers, Carlijne Hertog, Eva Rys, Lotte Schiltz, Els Selleslach, Stijn Vervoort
Group leaders: Inge Bulens, Vincent Francken, Jan Lybeert, Ruben Schiltz, Caro Van der beck, Tim Vandewalle, Jens Vanoosterweyck, Ruth Van Reusel, Sabbo Verleye, Astrid Vingerhoets, Griet Wils
Dramaturgy: Leen Hammenecker, Mark Luyten
Light design: Ken Hioco
Sound design: Senjan Jansen
Costume: Joëlle Meerbergen, Monique Van Hassel
Set construction: Rachid Amghar, Patrick da Silva, Dédé Dieudonné, Hannelore Dreher, Mohammed El Mediouni, Luc Galle, Gabriel Hernandez, Charissa Plasmans
Filmcrew: Heleen Declercq & crew
Runner: Geert Godelaine
Technical support: Robrecht Ghesquière
Special effects: Divi Divi
Scale model: Winnie Claessens

Production: DE SINGEL, d e t h e a t e r m a k e r
Co-production: CAMPO (Gent), Het Oude Badhuis (Antwerpen)
With the support of: Cultuur District Antwerpen, de Vlaamse Regering, Perpodium (Antwerpen), Stad Antwerpen, Tax Shelter van de Belgische Federale Overheid via Cronos Invest
Thanks to: Adria & Nana, Apers & partners BVBA, Archipel, Blikfabriek, Brandweerzone Antwerpen, Buurtcentrum de Wijk, Catering Kapitan, Charlotte Heller, Damiaanhuis, Depannage 2000, Dienstencentrum Seefhoek, Elegast, Garage Schelkens, Ilse Rossou, John Lambrechts filmvoertuigen, Kiels Scooter center, Koen Maes, KRAS Noord, Ligo, Mohammed Karag, Pieter Vermeiren, PSC Open Huis, Stadsreiniging Antwerpen, Unicorn Arts vzw, Villa Stuivenberg