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New theater maker: Otto(line) Calmeijer Meijburg

Since March 18, three new theater makers have been working at Theater Babel Rotterdam: Otto(line) Calmeijer Meijburg, Saskia Meulendijks and Maria Sartzetaki. They will be given the space and support to create their own inclusive project with the ensemble and guest performers from Babel. This way, Theater Babel Rotterdam wants to actively distribute the inclusive work method in the theater sector. Shows have been planned in June 2021. Next weeks we will introduce you to the three new makers, starting off with Otto(line) Calmeijer Meijburg. 



Otto(line) Calmeijer Meijburg


Can you tell us something about who you are, about your background?

I am Otto, a physical theater maker. I was born in the Netherlands and studied gender studies and philosophy here, after which I followed and completed the physical theater training in Essen. Now I live in Cologne.


What is physical theater to you?

For me, physical theater is the coming together of dance and performance, relying on the body to tell something. I am interested in dance theater, especially the German Tanztheater like that of Pina Bausch, and I want to explore what dance theater can look like today. I do this in different ways, and working inclusive is one of them. I want to consciously choose which bodies I show on stage.


How did you get to know Babel?

Friends in the Netherlands, who, like me, are active in theater, sent me the vacancy for new theater makers. I had to respond to that.



What do you want to research at Babel?

I want to explore the theme of “healing” in an imaginative way. My research question is: how can you heal from a life in this world? We work physically: feeling what your body is doing in great detail, increasing your body awareness. We improvise a lot with movement and dance. Acting will be added in the second half of the rehearsals.


Why did you choose healing as a theme?

Because it is very political, especially for people with disabilities who end up in the healthcare system. There they have to conform to certain ideas of how to heal. I want to investigate if we can master those processes? And how can we learn from each other, from our shared experiences?


What do you find challenging about working at Babel?

I am amazed to see how good the Babel players are. Their acting level is very high. In Germany you have a word for it: hemmungslosigkeit. Go for it completely, dive in without compromise. How can we link that to an increasing body awareness?


When has this project succeeded for you?

When all performers, including me, enjoyed the creation process and learned something from it. At Babel there is a very nice evaluation culture: at the end of each rehearsal, the group sits together to discuss what we have done. That way you know that the group is taking steps. If this continues to develop in this way, the project will certainly have been successful.


Want to know more about Otto (line)?