Tulips, bicycles, canals, clogs… can you guess what’s coming up?
2019 is starting with a bang! ITI is back after our winter break and we are back swinging – bringing with us a HUGE, intensive tour across The Netherlands that launched this week. Running until April, we have sent two star teams to the land of windmills and cheese to spread the joy of our very Faulty comedy.
This tour is more like a homecoming than ‘just’ a tour for us. In 2009, Faulty Towers The Dining Experience sprouted its European roots in long tours across The Netherlands and we think of it as a second home. In 2015 we even celebrated FTTDE’s 15th birthday in Nieuwegein.
One of our long-time Manuels, Anthony Sottile, even made himself a home there while he was performing there for about a year (on and off) almost 10 years ago. He paints a picture of a beautiful life, buying second hand bikes and riding them to markets to get fresh local produce and flowers twice a week (doesn’t that sound like a dream?!).
I had the opportunity to ask Anthony some questions about the early years spent touring in The Netherlands, along with the company and artistic director Alison Pollard-Mansergh who lived in Hilversum in 2011. He truly sells it as an easy place to be. Somewhere with a simple life and bright creative culture that existed in contrast to his Australian experience:
“What I love about The Netherlands is that almost every city (suburb or town) has a theatre. The theatre culture in the country is unlike anything I’ve experienced. Unfortunately, Australia is a country largely focused on sports and sporting events. It was beyond refreshing to see a culture where theatre and performance is considered an important experience for all ages, and where language is no barrier to that experience.”
This year’s tour is mammoth, running January-April with two brilliant casts tag-teaming. Our brilliant Basils: Benedict Holme and Dave Tremaine. They’re partnered with two skilfully snappy Sybils: Karina Garnett and Rebecca Norris; along with our magnificent Manuels: Ben Hood and Philip Oakland. These six will be stopping at just about every town on the map including some company favourites like Zandaam, Cuijk, Waalwijk, Breda, Emmen and Rotterdam. I asked Anthony if any of these towns looked familiar and if he could remember any specifics about the venues he performed in. Although he has travelled to and performed in just about every town we are returning to, to him, one stood out with a clear fondness:
“Zaandam was one I remember most. Yes, the audiences were great and the venue was brilliant, but it’s the staff and managers at this venue I remember most. With almost all the venues we performed in, audiences blur into each other and it’s difficult to remember them all, but it’s the people who work at the venues that you do remember. And Zaandam was a highlight.”
Anthony also didn’t miss the opportunity to remind me of the group bonding that happens when there are long tours like these. He mentioned some of his favourite memories weren’t just the shows but also the activities the cast did together like dinners and sightseeing in new cities. His top memories include trips they did to theme parks across The Netherlands (of which there are over 30… who’d have known?!).
So, with this year opening on a bang, ITI would like to declare 2019 the year of the tulip! We are chuffed to be embarking on this fun-filled adventure over the next four months.
If you’re crossing your fingers and clog-loving toes that we’ll be stopping in your town, you can find out about all our upcoming events here.
or you can watch and listen to Basil (try to) explain it here.
That’s all from us for now, friends. Thanks for stopping by, and gelukkig nieuwjaar!