About Grand Theatre
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Grand Theatre is the mother ship for the performing arts, setting off from the heart of Groningen. We programme and produce trendsetting theatre, while actively engaging with our environment. Together with the public, local creatives, social partners, and national and international artists, we seek new concepts, connections and working methods to make the professional performing arts of value to everyone living in the northern Netherlands. This involves activities far beyond the confines of our own theatre.
At Grand Theatre we enjoy working together with others, which we do very often, with a wide variety of partners. We are a prominent venue for northern theatre and music festivals, programme children’s theatre together with SPOT during school holidays, and accommodate local theatre makers, supporting them with facilities, expertise and technology, while also offering a place to rehearse and perform. Fresh local initiatives can always come to us with great ideas, such as for storytelling events, talk shows, film programmes and pub quizzes. We also actively search out opportunities to collaborate and engage with social and cultural partners and organisations. In ‘Meet the Neighbours’, we set up joint projects to meet local inhabitants or groups we are not yet well acquainted with.
Studium Generale Groningen, Stichting Prime/Soundsofmusic, Noorderzon Festival, Urban House Groningen, Quiet Groningen, Groninger Archieven, SPOT, Noord Nederlands Toneel, Club Guy & Roni, Het Houten Huis, SIGN, Eurosonic / Noorderslag, De Noorderlingen, Talentweb Groningen, Stichting Squareweb, IIWII, Babaddaar, Groninger Forum, Noord Nederlands Orkest, PeerGrouP, Tryater, Oerol, The Grand Pillow Society, Garage TDI, Loods13, CLASH, Jonge Harten en Goldmund, Wyldebeast & Wunderliebe.
The rich past of Grand Theatre began in 1930, when it opened as a Groningen cinema venue. ‘Is the building facade attractive? That’s a matter of taste, which can hardly be argued about.’ So wrote northern newspaper Nieuwsblad van het Noorden at the time. Since then, a great deal has happened inside and outside its walls. The building was extremely fortunate to survive the end of the Second World War, when the entire east side of Grote Markt, the city centre square, came under heavy fire during the liberation of Groningen in 1945. In 1977 the cinema went bankrupt and the building stood vacant for three years. A group of squatters seized the opportunity and began organising presentations and rehearsals. The association that emerged from that squatting initiative managed the building for quite a few years, flying the flag of artistic freedom. In 1994, extensive renovation of the building took place, leaving only the facade and the side walls with their rough brick untouched. An entire new floor with offices and a theatre studio was constructed. The various spaces in the building proved to be a perfect place for the organisation to develop into a production house and to provide support to young makers. This allowed Grand Theatre to gain an increasingly prominent position as a creative hotbed for new work, but also as venue for trend-setting theatre and various festivals like Noorderzon and Jonge Harten. Throughout the years, many famous artists and theatre companies have performed here. After flourishing for many years, hard times set in for the organisation with the loss of state subsidies, resulting in bankruptcy in 2015. Thanks to the support of many local cultural partners and the City of Groningen, in 2016 a new organisation could start establishing today’s contemporary and independent Grand Theatre.
Grand Theatre receives structural support from the City of Groningen and the Performing Arts Fund NL (Fonds Podiumkunsten).