Jos van Kan

Jos van Kan
theatre director
(1962, The Netherlands)
Photo: © Jan Glas


Since his debut in 1989, at Fact in Rotterdam, Jos van Kan directed almost hundred theatre plays, music theatre shows and operas.

He started to stage classical plays e.g., Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Tennessee Williams at Het Zuidelijk Toneel in Eindhoven and Carroussel in Amsterdam.

Since 1993 he works regularly in Germany where he directed i.a. at Staatstheater Schwerin, Schauspiel Essen, Staatstheater Braunschweig. At Schauspiel Wuppertal he staged Die Schöne Müllerin - F. Schubert and Gift - Lot Vekemans, and at Theater Osnabrück three comedies, Cloaca - Maria Goos, The importance of being Ernest - Oscar Wilde and Cash - Michael Cooney.

His staging of the baroque-opera Argenore - Wihelmine von Bayreuth at Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam was invited to the Barok Festspiele in Bayreuth. In Dresden he staged e.g., Peter and the Wolf - Sergei Prokofiev, a co-production of Dresdner Philharmonie and TJG, and Black Rider - Tom Waits, a co-production of Staatsoperette Dresden and TJG.

From 1995 to 2003 Jos van Kan was the artistic leader of Theatergroep Maccus in Delft. At Maccus he adapted classical plays and created a variety of music-theatre shows, together with composer Micha Hamel. He also staged King Arthur - Henry Purcell in collaboration with Liesbeth Coltof, the opening of the Holland Festival 1999.

From 2003 Jos van Kan worked as a freelancer again. Gradually, music theatre became more important in his work. He got a grant from the F.A.P.K. to study opera-styles on three continents: Lan Yang Taiwanese Opera Company, Yilan, Taiwan, Teatro di San Carlo, Napoli, Italy, and New York City Opera, U.S.A.

After his study in Taiwan Jos van Kan started to work in Asia. He initiated and directed a chamber opera at the Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company in Taipei. This music theatre show was performed at The National Theatre and Concert Hall in Taipei and at festivals in Beijing and Shanghai. He also staged music theatre at the Visual Theatre Festival in Singapore and at PPS in Battambang, Cambodia.

In the Netherlands he worked for theater companies like Artemis, Ulrike Quade Company and Wederzijds. But he also directed newly written music theatre and chamber operas by composers like Jan van de Putten, Joey Roukens, Wiebe Gotink, Sinta Wullur, Param Vir and Seung-Ah Oh.

Van Kan worked with Asko-Schönberg Ensemble, Ensemble Multifoon, Gelders Orkest and Slagwerk Den Haag. At Ives Ensemble he staged, beside works of Morton Feldman, Gerald Barry and Salvatore Sciarrino, two works of Richard Rijnvos: Die Kammersängerin and Mappamondo, a co-production with Zaterdag Matinee, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.

He staged Histoire du Soldat - Igor Stravinsky, a co-production of Oostpool, Gelders Orkest and Introdans, in Arnhem. At Concertgebouw Amsterdam he staged Ogen Dicht and De keuze van Ariane Schluter. Actress Ariane Schluter also performed in The story of the maid Zerline - H. Broch, which he staged at Orkater, in Amsterdam.

The heart of the music-theater show De rode Kimono was the original painting by G.H. Breitner. This co-production of Holland Festival and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam was created together with composer Micha Hamel.

In Leeuwarden he directed at Tryater i.a. Bridges of Madisson County and Brekber. Brekber was a combination of a theater show and an exhibition, curated by Van Kan, in the National Museum of Ceramics Princessehof in Leeuwarden. At Princessehof he also created Maria Louise was here, a son et lumière together with video-artist Frouke ten Velde and composer Max Knigge. A collaboration with North Netherlands Symphonic Orchestra (2021).

Van Kan directed several plays by Herman van de Wijdeven at PeerGroup, Zeeland Nazomer Festival and at De Wetten van Kepler, where he also staged the world-theatre-premiere of Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx.

He staged Van de Wijdevens newest play Kiem at Karavaan, where he also created Brandstof, the first Covid-proof drive-through theatre show in the Netherlands (both in 2020).

His most recent works are:

Rituall Bells, Global Gongs, a concert by composer Sinta Wullur. (2021)

Der Schimmelreiter - Theodor Sturm, a theatreplay at Landestheater Eisenach. (2021)

Toonzetters, a concert with 20 new compositions by young and upcoming composers, at Oranjewoud Festival. In collaboration with composer Primo Ish-Hurwitz and video-artist Bowie Verschuren. (2022)

Jealous Moon, a music theater show at the Hul’q’umi’num language and culture society, in Nanaimo, BC, Canada. (2022)

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