Intimate performance

  • Jeltry Katsma / Theatre in Education

Jeltry Katsma (Theatre in Education) created a performance in close collaboration with Birsen Baçar, a young woman of Turkish descent who is very open about her autism.


Jeltry: ‘I found an ad on the TIN (Theater Instituut Nederland) website that sparked my curiosity: “I would like to create a performance and I’m autistic”. Birsen Baçar turned out to be an enterprising 28-year-old woman who has only known she’s autistic for the past six years. Since then she has written two books and recently premiered a documentary film about her experiences. My idea was something different: not informative, but theatrical. I see Birsen first and foremost as someone who views the world differently and is not afraid to pursue her dreams.


It was Birsen’s first theatre experience. Her life story turned out to be so rich that I decided not to use more than a global concept. The idea arose from her successful work, her desperate search for true love and her struggle with what role her Turkish background plays in all this. So much freedom in the creative process naturally creates uncertainty, but I countered it with highly structured rehearsals: first with the two of us and later with more spectators to help increase her confidence.


Movement lecturer Petra Diktes supervised my performance. She taught me that you can always do something with the person standing before you on stage. That gives plenty of space to develop a theatrical character, certainly within the complex form of a monologue. It sometimes felt like a risk to use this as a graduation project, but I’m really pleased with it. To create such an intimate performance with one person and to have the opportunity to explore so much… it was a very special experience for me.’


film: Inge Meijer (class of ’12)