Speels Collectief is a theatre company with a non-normative composition. This means that people who deal with social exclusion in whatever form can fully participate in our company. We strive for a composition of performers with variation in age, gender, (physical, mental, social) disabilities and ethnicity. The company also embodies diversity through the choice of subject. Performances touch on themes related to power structures, inequality or (in)dependence. In this way, Speels Collectief dismantles prejudices, opens up the perception of people with disabilities for a wide audience, works on mutual understanding and exchange, and changes the perception of current themes such as inclusion and participation.
Society divides people into categories and labels them as ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’. This categorisation determines to what extent someone has the right to be part of society and the art world. By making theatre with a diverse company, Speels Collectief breaks this dichotomy. According to us, it is not certain body or mind that is limiting, but our society and its definition of ‘normal’.
Speels Collectief consists of two branches: Community and Company. Our Community is accessible to everyone and is a place to meet each other. In our Community, particicipants come into contact with different disciplines in which they can develop themselves. With our Community we play on a regional level. This is always in collaboration with students from art and social studies. Performers from our Community can grow into our Company. For each performance, we put together a new group of diverse performers based on their talent, skills and connection with the theme of the performance. With this group we make performances of a high artistic level and go on tour throughout The Netherlands.
Together with Sanne, Merel founded Speels Collectief in 2014. Together they form the artistic and business direction of the company. Merel graduated from ArtEZ University of the Arts in 2016 and from the master Gender Studies at Utrecht University in 2021. She researches the practice of inclusive theatre companies.
Sanne graduated from ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem in 2016 and has been a social documentary theatre maker ever since. In order to show as many different perspectives as possible on stage, Sanne always puts together a theatre group as diverse as possible. By putting these perspectives next to each other, she questions the norm in her performances and breaks through normative ideal images.