Jan Lauwers / Needcompany

Jan Lauwers, born in Antwerp in 1957, studied painting at Ghent's School of Arts. In 1979, he founded Epigonenensemble, which became Kollektiv Epigonentheater zlv in 1981 and contributed to a radical change in the Flemish theater in the early 1980s. In 1986, he founded Needcompany together with Grace Ellen Barkey, with which he developed a unique theater aesthetics that moves along the line separating theater, dance, performance, and art. In terms of the actors involved and their way of working, Needcompany has an international orientation: from the very beginning, each production has been performed in various languages. International success was soon to come. While the first works, Need to Know (1987) und ça va (1989) were still strikingly visual, later the narrative line and the development of a central subject gained in importance, whereby the fragmentary structure was maintained. Lauwers' background in the fine arts defined his approach to the medium of theater and is explains his highly individual theatrical idiom, innovative in several ways. A main characteristic here is the transparent, "thinking" acting of the performers, the exploration of the paradox between acting and not-acting. Lauwer's most recent works include Isabella's Room (2004), which like The Lobster Shop (2006) and the monologue All is Vanity (2006, with Vivianne De Muynck) were premiered at Festival d'Avignon. To mark the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Needcompany, Lauwers and Needcompany presented the walk-in installation Needcompany Deconstruction at Brussels' BOZAR. In November of the same year, Deconstruction 07 followed at Munich's Haus der Kunst at Theaterfestival Spielart. Jan Lauwers & Needcompany have been artists in residence at Vienna's Burgtheater since 2009.
Lauwers' extensive work was shown at the solo exhibition Restlessness at BOZAR (Brussels) in 2007. In 2012, he was honored with the ›Goldene Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich‹ .  

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