photo by Pander Roskam

Wax and Wayne sold out its entire run at Oerol, Holland's largest theater festival and one of Europe's best known. Now in it's 21st year, Oerol brings together companies from around the world to perform all over the island of Terschelling. Oerol is principally a site-specific festival with a yearly theme related to the island; the theme for 2002 was "Identity". Visit www.Oerol.nl

In recent years site-specific performances have been developed by:

  • Dogtroep (Netherlands) www.dogtroep.nl
  • Groupe ZUR (France) www.groupe-zur.com/indexa.htm
  • Tryater (Netherlands) www.tryater.nl
  • Derevo (Germany) www.derevo.org
  • Ex Nihilo (France)

In recent years performances on typical island-sites have been brought by:

  • Les Arts Sauts (France)
  • The Marrugeku Company (Australia)
  • Semola (Spain)
  • Generik Vapeur & Serge Noyelle (France)
  • de Appel (Netherlands)



Body of Work


June 2002
An International, site-specific theater festival
on the island of Terschelling, Netherlands

Oerol Profile [ Oerol ]
Oerol is now 21 years old – not bad for an all-island Theatre festival set out in the sea off North Holland. Terschelling, one of the Frisian islands, is 15 miles long and 5 miles wide, a strip of sand dunes and meadow dotted with several small, typically quaint Dutch villages. It has a distinct fishing and farming lifestyle that is offset by ten days in June during which it hosts a gathering of hundreds of theatremakers and performers, and 40,000 audience members – all of whom must travel by ferry from the mainland most with sleeping bag and bicycle. Oerol brings together companies from around the world to perform all over the island. Groups set up in taverns and barns, garages and tents. They perform outside on the dunes at sunset or you might catch something as you are riding your bike down a forest path. Though some of the biggest performance companies in Europe and Australia come year after year, it is also a laboratory for some smaller home-spun groups experimenting in small halls. And around it all, a plethora of offerings from world music stages, arts routes, sculpture paths and street-theatre in the villages. If all the world is a stage, Terschelling is the world in a nutshell.

The island of Terschelling, as an historical landscape, is shaped by sand dunes, dikes, manmade pine-woods, and dwellings. This many-faceted landscape inspires theatre makers for their site-specific performances while the audience travels through it on bicycles from one show to the next. Some companies are commissioned to make site-specific performances on the island while other international companies are engaged to bring existing performances and play them on beautiful spots.

Oerol creates an unforgettable experience for its audiences and artists alike. It fosters a temporary society among its participants nurturing artistic exchange and development. Theatre companies co-habitate and co-create at the same time. Their work is shared over communal dinners at the catering tent or by lantern light in the campgrounds. Friendships form that last long after the festival closes.

Terschelling's Oerol is principally a site-specific festival with a yearly theme related to the island.

Recent themes have been:
1999 Footprints in the Sand
2000 Turning of the Tide
2001 Surrounded by the Sea
2002 Identity

The festival's theme always takes into consideration the island and her people. It promotes theatrical performances that use its entire landscape; the geographical as well as the social. For the audience, going to see a show becomes a journey physically and spiritually.

Terschelling is timeless. Its personal culture has developed with the pace of the ocean. The tempo set by tide is the pulse of their blood. Terschelling is moving into the 21st century at its own pace, trying to identify and confront the influences the outside world on its close society. The Oerol festival has become part of the island's identity. The ten-day gathering in 2002 asks us to look at life on a little island that is slowly being eaten by a larger European Union. If the island is a metaphor for human conditions, where is our own identity in this ever changing world? Can we hold onto our small selves as the world goes global?