Petra Roggel



After living in Berlin for 15 years, Petra Roggel came to Brussels in 2004 to work. Living in Brussels feels very different. In Berlin, it is for example much easier to travel to Moscow and Eastern Europe. Roggel feels part of several communities: the Kaaitheater-community, the community of artists and audiences coming to Kaaitheater, the performance / theater / dance / arts community and of ‘Belgium’, although she knows the Flemish part much better than the Francophone part. Just before she left Berlin, she was going more to theater than to dance performances because she was questioning the quality of a lot of the work that was shown in dance. There was often no selection made in what was shown and she did not want to support a scene of decreased quality anymore.
In her job as a presenter, the quality of the work is the deciding factor, not where a creator is from. Kaaitheater does however have a certain responsibility in presenting Dutch theater. It is important that the house has its own signature. The program needs to be a reflection of today and it needs to be well-balanced. There is a balance between Brussels-based versus international artists and new artists versus artists Kaaitheater has worked with for a long time. Roggel feels free in her job as a presenter; she does not have to tailor her own ideas towards certain perceptions. She takes the context into consideration but does not have to make compromises. Giving advice to artists is something she considers as part of her job. She feels that her work is recognized by the Brussels dance community in the sense that the audience is very supportive and trusts the program of Kaaitheater. The recognition she values most is when her conversations with artists are constructive or when the audience shows its appreciation for a show that she is enthusiastic about. She travels a lot to go to see performances and tries to keep track of the work of makers she already knows and to discover new work. The latter happens in different ways: by the brochures she receives from theaters, submissions by artists but also by a constant exchange with people from the arts field and research on the internet.
There is a big difference between working freelance (as she did before) and working for an institution. It is strange to her to know what she will be doing next year.

find a language – exchange – Tallinn – intensely – economics – East-Berlin – managing – support young people – one-year break – be aware – feedback – constant exchange – sports community – profile – share interest – fluent – interesting balance – host – traveling – be available – balance


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