A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
I want to tell you about my new favourite place, since it seems to be my new weekly hangout. No it isn’t a bar or club, sorry to disappoint, but hopefully there are a few culture vultures out there who will be interested; the Koninklijke Schouwburg. The Theatre Royal in The Hague is wonderful. The building itself started life as a royal palace but was later converted into a theatre. With its semi-circular facade and large glass windows it’s a lovely place to spend an evening.
Recently I seem to have been there about once a week. English language theatre is frequently performed here. Make sure when looking to book tickets online that it says ‘Engels gesproken,’ to make sure you are actually going to an English language performance. Furthermore, tickets for main house productions start at only five euros, so even students can afford an evening at the theatre. Moreover, to my utter joy, I discovered that during the interval between halves, there are free drinks! Water, orange juice and even glasses of red and white wine are on offer in the reception and first floor lounge.
Last month I was lucky enough to catch a performance of Don Giovanni, arguably Mozart’s most famous and popular opera and it really did not disappoint, possibly even the most enjoyable opera I’ve ever had the good fortune to see. Next was Il Trovatore, another opera but this time by Verdi. Whilst Don Giovanni was a comedy, Il Trovatore was a tragedy and whilst Don Giovanni was iin period costume, Il Trovatore was performed in nineteen thirties gangster style costumes. Not quite so amusing, but very beautifully sung.
After this I moved on to some good old fashioned theatre with ‘Our Country’s Good,’ a dramatic comedy about a convict colony in seventeenth century Australia. I was extremely impressed with the performance, being both funny, moving, conveying important messages with convincing performances from the actors. Lastly, a couple of days ago I watched ‘Lady M,’ a retake on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, as retold by the maid who only got one scene. This was a brilliant one-woman performance by a young Dutch actress who was a master of storytelling.
So with a huge amount of English language theatre with cheap ticket prices and free drinks in the interval, don’t be afraid to spend a night at the theatre!