ABOUT BERT BARTEN

Bert Barten (1951) is an award winning Dutch multimedia pioneer.

Talented in a wide range of fields - he is a theatre director as well as a composer, an entrepeneur and even a real estate designer - you might call Barten a true Renaissance Man.

His gift is for integrating multiple art forms. Barten easily combines theatre, film, music, visuals arts and dance into spectacular, opera-like mass events.

His imaginative modern day adaptations of theatre classics caught headlines and attracted tens of thousands of people. He rocked a medieval castle with his interpretation of The Tempest (Shakespeare), staged La Divinia Commedia (Dante) in a real harbor setting, played The Odyssey (Homer) in empty office buildings and Faust (Goethe) on a massive garbage heap.

However massive his stage productions may be, Barten never forgets to focus on the emotional experience of the individual spectator. The mental state of human beings in relation to their surroundings has always been a driving force in his work.

Besides that, environmental and corporate social responsibility issues continue to be of great importance to Barten. He has done work for organizations such as Greenpeace, Unicef, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and the Dutch national heritage foundation. He supports local initiatives to help create a better world.

Barten studied directing at the Theatre Academy and attended the Conservatory, where his main subjects were piano and composition. He has been involved in the theatre since the 1980s, with wide experience in directing and producing rock operas, participatory theatre and Strindberg adaptations. As he would characteristically say: “Basically, there is only one story to tell: leaving home, the adventure, and then the homecoming.”

As a musician, Barten has made a major contribution to Dutch pop culture. In the 'seventies, he toured Europe with his psychedelic band Marsh Mallow. In the 'eighties, he released an album of synthpop, Buried Alive, and worked with various cult bands including Clan of Xymox. In the 'nineties he enjoyed underground success with his ambient dance outfit NYX and as producer of a series of world music albums. Barten still writes music, for commercial and non-commercial projects.

Barten's pioneering work has been recognized internationally. He was honoured for his groundbreaking theatre and film oeuvre at the Theatre Festival of Vienna. His soundtrack for the nature documentary The War Of The Ants won an award in Japan. For his theatre spectaculars, he received an AVN Tourism Prize. And his contributions to the film 'Het Leven Dat Wij Droomden' (The Life We Dreamed) earned him a nomination for a 'Gouden Kalf', the Dutch Oscar.

Barten lives and works in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Vesoul (France). 

“Eventually it doesn’t matter to me what medium I use. I care about the emotional experience of the spectator.”

“There is only one story: Leaving home, the adventure and the homecoming.”