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 around ninety theatre plays, music theatre shows and opera's.

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

For many years he works regularly in Germany where he directed about twenty shows, 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.

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

From 2003 Jos van Kan worked as a freelancer again and gradually music theatre became more important in his work. He directed newly written chamber opera’s and modern music theatre by e.g. Jan van de Putten, Joey Roukens, the Indian composer Param Vir and Seung-Ah Oh from Korea. Van Kan worked with Slagwerk Den Haag, Asko-Schönberg Ensemble and the Ives Ensemble. Beside works of Morton Feldman, Gerald Barry and Salvatore Sciarrino he staged at the Ives Ensemble two works of Richard Rijnvos: Die Kammersängerin and Mappamondo (a co-production with Zaterdag Matinee, The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam).

His staging of the baroque-opera Argenore by Wihelmine von Bayreuth at Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam was invited to the Barok Festspiele in Bayreuth.

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 studying 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 multimedia show was performed at The National Theatre and Concert Hall in Taipei and at festivals in Beijing and Shanghai.

He also staged at the Visual Theatre Festival in Singapore and at PPS in Battambang, Cambodia.

In the Netherlands he worked e.g. for Artemis, Orkater, and Oostpool. In Leeuwarden he directed for Tryater i.a. Bridges of Madisson County and Brekber. Breaker was a combination of a theatershow and an exhibition, curated by Van Kan, in the National Museum of Ceramics Princessehof in Leeuwarden.

He staged Histoire du Soldat (Igor Stravinsky), a co-production of Oostpool, Gelders Orkest and Introdans in Arnhem.

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

At The Concertgebouw Amsterdam he staged Ogen Dicht and De keuze van Ariane Schluter. The actress Ariane Schluter also performed in his staging of The story of the maid Zerline - H. Broch.

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 made together with composer Micha Hamel.

In Dresden he staged e.g. Peter and the Wolf - Segei Prokofjev, a co-production of Dresdner Philharmonie and TJG, and The black Rider - Tom Waits, a co-production of Staatsoperette Dresden and TJG.

Recent works are:

Brandstof, the first Covid-proof drive-through theatreshow in the Netherlands (June 2020) and Kiem, a play by H. v.d. Wijdeven in the open air, (September 2020), both at Karavaan.

Mestmoeders a play in the open air, also by H. v.d. Wijdeven, at Peergroup (May 2021).

Maria Louise was here, a son et lumière together with video-artist Frouke ten Velde and composer Max Knigge. A collaboration of Princessehof, National Museum of Ceramics and NNO, North Netherlands Symphonic Orchestra (July 2021).

Rituall Bells, Global Gongs, by the composer Sinta Wullur (September 2021).

Der Schimmelreiter, by Theodor Sturm, a play, at Landestheater Eisenach (February 2022).

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