In 1947, when the Netherlands and the whole world were much poorer than now, at Leiden University, the Leiden University Arts Centre and its theatre started.
During the Great Economic Depression in the 1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, president of the USA, did not cut arts funding. Quite the contrary. The arts budget became much bigger, by giving unemployed artists work, etc.
In the present economic crisis, however, governments, including in the Netherlands, believe in the economic fairy tales of Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher.
Though Dutch voters oppose austerity, the collapsed caretaker Rightist minority government keeps cutting in education and arts.
Conforming to government policies, Leiden university bosses have decided to close down the theatre.
On Tuesday 22 May, there was a farewell evening in the theatre. Presenter Egon Snelders presented it, sometimes helped by former presenter Fons Delemarre.
The theatre was overcrowded, with hundreds of spectators. Some of them had to sit on stairs.
First, there was slam poetry by Jaap Montagne; about the closing down of the theatre.
This is a Jaap Montagne poetry video.
Then, guitar music and singing by Ed Citroen. One English language cover (“Leaving on a jet plane”), two self-written Dutch songs.
After him, Marnie Baumer. This singer is originally from the USA, now she is living in the Netherlands. A year ago, she tried to sing the well-known Dutch song “Verdronken vlinder” (Drowned butterfly) at the theatre, but forgot the lyrics half way through the song. Now, she has learned more Dutch, and the song went spotlessly. She also sang two songs in English. Two women on guitar and piano accompanied her.
This is Marnie Baumer last year, when “Verdronken vlinder” went wrong.
There was stand-up comedy by Mustafa Dönmez.
Then, music by Art for Art’s sake (named after Arthur, the lead singer).
After a pause, Riekje Renes told a story by Marga Minco on a shrub.
There was music by Fabian Schrama (two songs in English; one in Spanish; he was born in Spain).
Then, a column by yours truly on government austerity.
Tilman Andris did conjuring tricks, with ropes, cups, and oranges.
Finally, the choir KOORnelis sang songs by Cornelis Vreeswijk.
This is a KOORnelis video.