In conversation with Gerko Telman of Open Amare
Get to know Open Amare: an initiative offering a platform to the creative energies of The Hague. But what does it entail, exactly? Gerko Telman is the Open Amare Creative Producer, and is happy to tell you all about it!
We talked to Gerko about the idea behind Open Amare, the importance of Open Amare, and the target groups. And also about his own role, his personal motivation, and his passion for art and culture.
Read all about it in the interview. But first, let's get to know Gerko:
What is Open Amare? What’s the underlying idea and how did it come about?
The idea behind Amare is that the building is more than just a theatre with auditoriums and lobbies. It is also a platform for the city’s own creative energies. We aim to flesh out that role through Open Amare. We offer makers and creatives an opportunity to connect with the widest possible audience. The Open Amare platform is of course multidisciplinary: we welcome and present all forms of art and culture.
You briefly alluded to it, but who are the actual target groups of Open Amare?
Open Amare is for everyone! We organise activities for young children, for example with Taartrovers and the Dansdag, and for older people with for instance a dance afternoon called Danspaleis. As said, we welcome and present all disciplines, including art, music, dance, debate and workshops. We also offer physical exercise events; for example, every Thursday at 12.30 people can pop in to participate in a Dao Lu session.
How did you end up at Amare and what do you like most about Open Amare?
I followed the development of Amare over the past few years with a lot of interest. I previously worked at TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht, which was also a new cultural complex just starting up. So I know how challenging the process can be, and how rewarding! So I was eager to experience the same process again, at Amare.
Why is it important to also offer a fringe programme through Open Amare, in addition to the regular programmes?
It’s healthy to engage with art and culture: it’s relaxing, it triggers new ideas, and it increases your sense of well-being. At Open Amare, the programme is always free of charge and it offers an opportunity to performers who aren’t ready yet for the bigger stage. Open Amare also gives the public a chance to join in, for instance at the social dances organised by Hague Hoppers and Tango Mooovs. How fun is that?
What is your personal motivation and how does that feed into Open Amare?
Everything that happens on a stage interests me. From punk concerts to classic ballet, and from spoken word to theatre plays. Meeting all the different parties involved in Open Amare also gives me lots of energy. I am a people’s person and always eager to work on the basis of a good relationship. That’s why I like to approach productions as a co-creation, which means that the collaborating partner has as much to say about it as Amare does. Connecting people and doing the organising are my particular strengths. Regarding the content, I am happy to depend on Open Amare’s collaboration partners.
What have you enjoyed most in Open Amare, so far?
During the climate conference in Egypt this year (the COP27 from 7 to 17 November 2022), artist Johan-Harm Hovinga will visit Open Amare. He will give a performance that is inspired in part by Marina Abramović. He will perforate by hand the 3068 pages of the IPCC climate report, generating confetti, because he feels that the report has failed to raise any sense of urgency. You can join him to help make confetti, or just to talk to him. It’s a man with a message, and with an interesting and interactive presentation – and he’s very friendly too!
What can visitors look forward to this year? Which Open Amare activity, performance or exhibition should they really not miss?
If you like dancing, then make sure to mark all Wednesday evenings on your calendar. We will be organising all sorts and styles of social dances at Amare’s Kunstenplein. I also recommend the weekly Dao Lu sessions during lunch break every Thursday. You can wear your regular clothes, and half an hour of Dao Lu will leave you feeling as if you just had a massage! And for those more interested in music, make sure to keep an eye on our website.
Can anyone take the initiative to organise something for Open Amare?
Everyone is welcome to submit a pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org. What’s important is that your proposal is of added value to Amare and The Hague, that it is accessible for a wide audience, and that it is practically feasible. People should also note that much of the Amare building is publicly accessible during our opening hours (07:30 – 23:00) and that everyone is welcome to look around, and perhaps to rehearse a presentation with a Bluetooth speaker or to try out some dance moves.