In conversation with Mariska Simon about education in Amare

Amare is devoted to the principle of 'Lifelong learning’. Sounds great, but what exactly does it mean? We talked to the person in charge of education at Amare, Mariska Simon. She tells us about the various programmes for people of all ages, and about remaining eager to learn throughout one’s life.

Would you like to introduce yourself?
“Hi, my name is Mariska Simon and I’m Amare’s education officer. My job is to organise educational programmes for people of all ages. I maintain contact with schools and am busy with all sorts of programmes, from workshops to introductions to guided tours. All these activities are part of the idea of ‘Lifelong learning’. Because why stop learning after you leave school? 

Another part of my job is to help residents of The Hague who otherwise probably wouldn’t visit Amare to get to know us. As I spent the past 25 years working in The Hague and surroundings, I am very familiar with the city, its people and organisations. This helps me to forge connections at various levels.”

Mariska Simon
“I have been Amare’s education officer since May 2022. My job is to organise educational programmes for people of all ages."

Can you tell us a bit more about the idea of ‘Lifelong learning’? 
“As part of the idea of ‘Lifelong learning’, I find it important to link up amateurs, artists-in-training and professionals. We learn from each other. Education literally means upbringing.

In my view, upbringing is not a one-way process. A parent learns from the child, and the child learns from the parent. Art education is a mutual exchange of knowledge, inspiration and pleasure. Art education is for everyone!”

What motivates you personally in your job at Amare?
“I am motivated personally by a passion for music, theatre and dance, and sharing that passion with others. Theatres are peculiar places. Behind the screens, we are all busy creating something that didn’t exist before. We are a bit like magicians, really. We make everyone believe that the things we do sort of happen by themselves.

If you don’t see that we exist, then it means we did our job well. But our contribution to wellbeing, to connection, to reflection and inspiration, is definitely real. Our contribution to a healthy society is indispensable, if you ask me!”

What do you like doing most of all in Amare?
“What I like most of all is to take a peek at the backstage technology. As a maker and actor I have seen lots of theatres in the past twenty years, and I just love all the stuff that goes on before and after a performance.

Some time ago I saw a primary school class dancing at Kunstenplein. After their hip hop lesson I took them to have a peek in the Danstheater. They were completely enthralled to see the dancers warming up there, and the technicians fiddling about with the lamps. These are the kinds of moments that mean everything to me.”

“Art education is a mutual exchange of knowledge, inspiration and pleasure. Art education is for everyone!”

Can you tell us about the education programmes still to come this year?
“We have lots of fun things lined up for the coming theatre season. To name a few: we’re organising guided tours for children, our own Amare school show, and collaborations with the Royal Academy of Art, the Amsterdam University of the Arts, The Hague’s Hip hop centre, the Flamenco Biennale, and with various schools. 

To stay on top of everything that’s happening, it’s best to regularly check what’s on at amare.nl/education.”

Can education institutes organise their own event at Amare? 
“Absolutely! Schools can always contact me for a guided tour or to stage their own performance on the Tribunetrap or on Kunstenplein, which are Amare’s public spaces. Just send an email to educatie@amare.nl

➤ More about education in Amare

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