Pieter Embrechts: A Street Concert
As far as loving Antwerp and its diversity goes, there seems to be no better spokesperson than Pieter Embrechts. He has proven time and time again that Antwerp has a special place in his heart, no wonder we got excited about his upcoming project. Pieter Embrechts is a singer, actor, director and so much more. Last year he released a new album featuring a Dutch cover of Tom Waits’ ‘In the neighbourhood’. Pieter Embrechts’ version is dedicated to one of Antwerp’s most diverse neighbourhoods: Borgerhout.
His love for this somewhat underrated neighborhood also served as the starting point of his new theatre show: A Street Concert. Alone on a stage, Pieter Embrechts will bring the different tales of nine different people to life through music, words and video. Portraits of nine ordinary people with small, but extraordinary stories. “It feels odd that I’m standing here alone on the stage, without them by my side”, says Pieter. “For such a long time I was filming with and talking to these people and all of a sudden it’s only me. They are still here, though, because I’m taking their stories with me in film.”
The starting point of the show is a very well-known street in Antwerp: the Turnhoutsebaan, hence the name A Street Concert. Pieter Embrechts interviewed people who live, work or walk along the Turnhoutsebaan. In this ‘street concert’ Pieter brings the street to the stage and it almost feels like you’re standing right there, talking to these interesting people yourselves.
Pieter worked very closely together with these nine individuals. He listened to them and, with their help, put their stories into song and film. We had the privilege of already seeing a few of these stories and they are characterized by a style that is very typical for Pieter. Those who are familiar with his song lyrics and previous theatre shows know that like no other, he is always able to make you laugh and end up with tears welling up. Likewise, in this intimate theatre show he found a way to narrate the moving portraits of these diverse individuals.
Borgerhout is the world
Through these stories of the inhabitants of the Turnhoutsebaan, we also learn more about the rich history of the street itself. For inhabitants of Antwerp the Turnhoutsebaan is a concept that doesn’t need much explaining, but let us have a go at it: the Turnhoutsebaan doesn’t look like the most appealing spot in Antwerp, but yet this boulevard is one of the most interesting streets with among others a cinema turned into a theatre- and concerthall, more kebab places then you can count and little exotic boutiques.
Antwerp is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and the Turnhoutsebaan is without a doubt the most multicultural street in Antwerp. As a lady featured in the show raps: Borgerhout is the world. Walking down this street, you can see, smell, hear and taste every continent.
The result of Pieter's collaboration with the Turnhoutsebaan premieres in HET PALEIS on the 2nd of February. Expect an intriguing theatre show in which musical theatre is combined with documentary, song with film and humour with deep emotions.
More Pieter Embrechts
Check out pieterembrechts.be.
Pieter did not only cover Tom Waits. He also made his own version of Madonna's 'Get into the Groove'. And of 'Dancing in the dark' by Bruce Springsteen, which featured on his last album, Onderwoud.
Text by Hanne Van Looveren
Pics by Diego Franssens & Paulien Verlackt