Beursschouwburg is a multidisciplinary arts centre, situated in the heart of Brussels. It’s the perfect place for performances, screenings, concerts, exhibitions, debates, lectures, parties and a drink in the Beurscafé. Beursschouwburg provides a platform for innovative artistes, thus it’s the place to discover the famous names of tomorrow.
Apart from a pile of attractively stacked bricks in the heart of Brussels, Beursschouwburg is, for the time being, principally an inspiring platform for between-the-arts. Here, artists reflect, show, scrap and start again in an ongoing dialogue with thinking and creative Brusselèèrs. Beursschouwburg is a melting-pot and a thorn in the side, where art is served while it’s still hot. Where, now and again, artists rattle the programming. Where there’s more to life than art. Where performance, celebration, encounter and craziness all join in a merry dance.
Beursschouwburg makes this happen by:
- making an exacting choice for younger artists (active in Brussels and far beyond)
- an integrated multi-disciplinary approach
- offering a three-speed programme instead of seasons
- providing an inescapable view of the city
- exploiting its central location as an open meeting-place
- sparking genuine and complementary (international) collaboration
David Helbich (b. 1973) What People Say, 2012
Facade signage, plexi glass & ferrite magnets
During the fall of 2012, Beursschouwburg honoured failure with the focus programme I Fail Good. It was a programme offering a window on an insecure world: we celebrated everything weak, failed and dysfunctional for being an opportunity. With his textual work on the awning, David Helbich, a German living in Brussels, shows the ‘impossibility’ of the Dutch word Beursschouwburg in a multilingual Brussels context. With this work, he touches upon the essence of the identity of our house.
The premises where the present Beursschouwburg is housed has gone through a whole series of transformations. In 1885 the ‘Brasserie Flamande’ was built by an unknown architect in the Auguste Ortsstraat. A shop, a party venue and a café were housed in the building. The Brasserie was extended in 1922 and in 1946 converted to the Théatre de la Bourse, a theatre used by all kinds of organizations.
The party venue on the first floor was converted to a ‘salle à l’italienne’ by architect Jacques Cuisinier, who in 1958 also designed the Martinitore.
In 1997 the then Minister of Culture organized an architectural competition for the (meanwhile much-needed) renovation of the Beursschouwburg building. The competition was won by DHP-architects and B-architects.
The renovations took from 2001 until 2004. On 5th February 2004 the renovated Beursschouwburg opened its doors with ten days of festivities.
During the 60s there was an increasing need for a specific Flemish cultural network in Brussels. On 5th February 1965 the kick-off was given to the Beursschouwburg as a Flemish platform in the heart of Brussels. Dries Wieme, the director at that time, gradually developed the Beursschouwburg’s own theatre company. De Werkgemeenschap was born, a company with a distinct political hue. However, this company was swiftly quashed by the government, who had earmarked the Beursschouwburg to take the role of an open-minded cultural centre in Brussels.
In 1970 Frans Van Langendonck takes over the control from Dries Wieme. In 1972 the Beursschouwburg is taken under the wing of the CCC (Contact- en Culuurcentrum vzw) with Jari Demeulemeester, who later became artistic manager of the Ancienne Belgique. From 1974 it becomes a separate organization, vzw Cultureel Animatiecentrum Beursschouwburg. During that period the first editions of what has meanwhile become the legendary urban festival Mallemunt is organized, an annual open-air festival on the Muntplein which would continue until 1987.
Raymond van het Groenewoud and Willem Vermandere take the first steps in their career there, alongside young international talent such as Tom Waits and Dire Straits. In ‘78 the first Rockrally was organized, in collaboration with Humo.
Children’s theatre is also given a place in the Beursschouwburg thanks to the programme director Oda Van Neygen (who later, in 1991 would set up the BRONKS children’s theatre). At the end of the 70s the emphasis is on ‘experiment’, which includes organizing the Performance Art Festival. The Beursschouwburg takes a defining role in spearheading art and social debate. It develops into a free port for new theatre, modern dance, video art and performance.
In 1977 Jari Demeulemeester is succeeded by Lieven Van den Broeck. In that same year the Beursschouwburg sets the pace with ‘Brusselement’ and the first Kaaitheaterfestival. Hugo De Greef is engaged for the coordination of the Kaaitheaterfestival. In 1979 Dirk Vercruysse becomes responsible for the Beursschouwburg’s programme and Hugo Vanden Driessche is the administrative director.
In the 80s the Beursschouwburg is the place to be. Jan Decore, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Ivo van Hove, Marc Didden, Jan Fabre, Jan Lauwers, ...all present their own work. We talk about the birth of the Flemish Wave. In 1984 Johan Wambacq is appointed as performing arts programmer and is responsible for the communication.
In terms of business and finance, however, things do not look quite so rosy. Gradually the rented building lacks vibrancy, following which in 1983 it is purchased by the ministry of the Vlaamse Gemeenschap (Flemish Community). At the end of the eighties the glory years are clearly over. Financial problems, the dreadful state of the building and the lack of clear focus in the programme result in a serious crisis.
Headed by Paul Corthout and then Marijke Vandebuerie, from 1991 the Beursschouwburg resolutely changes direction: the focus is on all Brussels residents, not only on the Flemish in Brussels. The new team – which includes Dirk Seghers, Dirk Verstockt and Patrick Moyersoen as artistic personnel and Carine Meulders as artistic coordinator - opts for a thematic style of operation and for a large number of links with youth clubs, community centres, … thereby involving the multi-cultural society around the arts centre in its operation.
This social commitment is also expressed in the ten-day occupation of the Hôtel Central, the apartment building opposite the theatre, as a protest against the building of a modern luxury hotel on the spot. Once again the Beursschouwburg forms a forum for experiment in all kinds of genres, with a mix of mature and young creative people like Pieter De Buysser and Benjamin Verdonck.
From 2000: the nillies
2001 marks the start of vital renovation works to the theatre, causing the operation to move for three years to an empty garage/shop in the Kazernestraat under the name BSBis. The artistic team of Dirk Seghers and Carine Meulders together with B-architecten set up the premises in a most inventive way with sandbags for hall walls and prefab greenhouses for offices. During that period the Beursschouwburg banks on new artistes, making it authoritative in the artistic debate.
A number of leaders follow in quick succession: Marijke Vandebuerie being followed by Carine Meulders, Guido Minne and Marie Droogmans as general manager. From 2002 the position of administrative director is taken up by Frederik Verrote. From 5th February 2004 the operation returns to the renovated premises with ten days of festivities. However, following the return the operation once again finds itself back in the doldrums due to various financial and organizational problems, resulting in a lengthy crisis.
Cis Bierinckx takes the helm in 2006 and re-establishes the relevance of the Beursschouwburg with performances including Mil Rau and Meg Stuart. From 2008 he is assisted by Koen De Visscher as general manager. However, the hoped-for large public influx remains a trickle, prolonging the financial problems.
The here and now
In 2012 Tom Bonte takes on the leadership, filling the position of general and artistic director. Together with Helena Kritis as film and visual arts programmer, Elisa Liepsch as performing arts programmer and Gilke Vanuystel as music programmer he opens up the programme to attract a wide-ranging audience with a strong link to the surrounding city. Young talent, cross-fertilization and an opportunity to experiment are pivotal in the diverse programme of performance, screenings, music and visual art. Beursschouwburg avoids monotone character and instead embraces a polymorphic identity which seamlessly coalesces with generation 2.0.
sponsors and partners
City of Brussels
Government of Flanders
Flemish Community Commission
Brussels Capital Region
board of directors
Anna Van der Wee
Anna Van der Wee
Koen De Visscher
Godfried Van de Perre
Herman Van Laar
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In this privacy statement we aim to provide clear and transparent information about how Beursschouwburg handles your personal information. Whenever you submit your personal information to us, either online or offline, we handle it in accordance with the policy below. This policy is based on the applicable laws and regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of 25 May 2018.
Beursschouwburg is the data holder, i.e. the one responsible for processing all the data we collect about you and receive from you when you use our services.
If you have any questions after going through our privacy statement or wish to contact us, you can do so via these contact details:
A. Ortsstraat 20-28, 1000 Brussels
How does beursschouwburg collect my data?
We collect your personal data through various channels:
- when you purchase tickets
- when you sign up for the newsletter
- when you contact Beursschouwburg by email, phone or other means
- when you visit our website
- via third parties, such as our ticketing partner Ticketmatic and the newsletter software Campign Monitor
What personal info does beursschouwburg process?
- Your IP address. The identity of specific individuals or organisations cannot be drawn from this.
- Your first and last name, email address, postal address, telephone number and year of birth.
Photo and video material. During Beursschouwburg events, photo and video material is recorded by our digital team. These photos are stored in our archive and a selection of the photos and videos is published on our social media channels. If we wish to take a photo in which you appear recognisably, we will always do our best to gain permission from you beforehand. If you appear in one of our photos and do not wish for the photo(s) to remain published, please contact us.
What does beursschouwburg use the collected information for?
Beursschouwburg uses the collected and stored data:
- to send you practical information about the event for which you have purchased a ticket;
- to contact you by phone or email in the case that an event is cancelled or changes are made to the event;
- to aid in ticket checking;
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Which choices can I make regarding how beursschouwburg uses my information?
When you purchase tickets or sign up for the newsletter, you give Beursschouwburg permission to collect, process or use your information for specific purposes. If you want to revoke this permission, you may contact us. You can unsubscribe from our emails at any time by clicking the link provided. If you revoke this permission, it may be the case that you no longer receive practical information and other useful information.
With which thirds parties can beursschouwburg share my information?
Beursschouwburg can provide certain personal information to third parties if this is required to fulfil the above purposes.
For example, we use third parties for:
- ticket sales (Ticketmatic)
- web hosting (kpn)
- sending newsletters, personalised emails and invitations (Campaign Monitor)
Beursschouwburg has concluded an agreement with these data handlers that is in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of 25 May 2018. We never forward your personal information to any parties with whom we have not entered into a data handling agreement. Furthermore, we do not forward the information provided by you to third parties unless it is legally obligated of us and permitted.
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For more information regarding cookies, we advise you to view this animation from The Guardian.
For how long is my information stored?
Beursschouwburg stores personal information no longer than is necessary in order to fulfil the purpose for which it was provided. If you make no purchases for 10 years, your data will be deleted from our ticketing database.
What security measures are undertaken by beursschouwburg?
- We have undertaken suitable technical and organisatory measures in order to protect personal information against misuse:
- All persons who may access your data on behalf of Beursschouwburg are bound to maintain its confidentiality.
- We use a username and password on all our systems.
- Our team members are informed of the importance of protecting personal information.
Can I view, change or request the deletion of my information? Where can I direct questions and/or complaints?
A. Ortsstraat 20-28
You are always entitled to submit a complaint to the Privacy Commission, a supervisory authority specialising in privacy protection.
Belgian Privacy Commission:
Commissie voor de Bescherming van de Persoonlijke Levenssfeer
Drukpersstraat 35, 1000 Brussels
Tel +32 (0)2 274 48 00
Can this privacy statement be changed?
Beursschouwburg may update this privacy statement in response to changes in services, the feedback of clients or following changes to privacy laws and regulations. Beursschouwburg announces any such changes on its website or in its newsletters.