In it’s 37th incarnation, Uitmarkt literally translates to ‘outmarket’ which simply refers to ‘going out’ (as in to see a show). Quite aptly named as it heralds the opening of Amsterdam’s cultural season with a long weekend where many of Amsterdam’s theatres throw open their doors for free shows. Yes, all the shows are free! All organisations involved volunteer their time meaning that, as a spectator, all the events are free. Witness shows as diverse as classical music and ballet to cabaret, hip hop to literary recitals and film, all completely free.
And with over 450 different performances by over 2000 artists, you are spoilt for choice. What’s more, this festival acts as a gateway to learning about other cultural shows and events hosted throughout the year in Amsterdam, so it’s a great place to take your diary to and start filling up dates for the rest of the year.
As in previous years, Uitmarkt will be held around Leidseplein and Museumplein. Museumplein translates to ‘Museum Square’ in English as it has three major museums within it (the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum) as well as Concertgebouw, a renowned concert hall. And Leidseplein is full to the brim with nightclubs and restaurants as well as having the notable Stadsschouwburg theatre. Add to that the wide open spaces at both locations, together they create the ultimate location for the Uitmarkt as you can wander from show to show very easily, taking in some great food and also a little bit of night life as well.
Being a bit of a dance and music theatre fan myself, I’ll definitely be checking out ‘Seeking Junkie Yamilla‘ (Saturday August 30, 12pm at Bellevue Kleine Zaal), a musical theatre show around the subject of addiction (I’m not sure how drug addiction can be expressed in musical theatre, but I guess that’s why I’m excited about it).
I’ll also make sure I see ‘Dox and 155‘ (Sunday August 31, 12:00 at ABN AMRO Podium), a show about how dancing is for everyone. Coming from an Indian background (where everything is about music and dance, just look at our weddings) I’m always amazed how in the West, dance and music is seen as ‘something for professionals’ rather than something that is for each and every one of us. Dox and 155 is a show about ‘non-dancers’ who dance as if no one is watching. If anybody out there feels worried about being judged when dancing and are too shy to let go and just be immersed in music, then this is the show to watch.
Following this I’ll be heading to ‘Homebody‘ (Sunday August 31, 1pm at Stadsschouwburg Grote Zaal), a show depicting the story of a housewife who is about to make the journey of her life on a quest for happiness that could also mean the demise of her family. A heady cocktail of drama, music and dance, with soloists from the National Ballet with musicians and opera singers, this is one not to be missed for me!
But it’s not all about dance! Check out the Uitmarkt website where you can choose genres, from cabaret, film, stage, literature, pop, jazz and world music, classic music and opera and youth, and it will then find shows in your chosen genre for Friday, Saturday and Sunday (29-31 August) so you can plan away.
And don’t worry if you have little ones with you, they will not get bored. Next to the pond near Museumplein, there will be a specific theatre tent for all children, and it will be open all Saturday and Sunday (30 and 31 August, from 11am onwards). Activities involve creating your own newspaper, creating a self portrait from foam, learning to play in a real orchestra and ‘Snow White and the 7 Breakers‘, a modern twist to the traditional Snow White tale, where traditional story telling is woven with hip hop, b-boys and dance. It’s enough to make me want to be a child again! Here’s the full programme for kids:
There is something for everyone at Uitmarkt and it’s all free, so make sure you head down to the south of Amsterdam on 29-31 August.