In 2004 Dutch native Elske van Holk returned to the Netherlands from the UK after having worked for 6 years at Southwark Playhouse, an innovative and leading fringe theatre in South London.
When Elske told people in the Netherlands about her work in London, many of them wondered whether it wouldn’t be possible to create an English theatre for the ever growing international community in The Hague. On 6 June 2006 the very first production Summit Conference was performed in the Koninklijke Schouwburg by The Hague-based English-language theatre company Tusk. This production was then followed by the now famous open-air Shakespeare performances of the British theatre company Illyria, which have since become a tradition. The first productions marked the start of a growing venture and STET The English Theatre was officially founded in November 2006.
To stimulate and provide high-quality professional English language theatre in the Netherlands with an emphasis on the The Hague - area to Dutch and non-Dutch audiences alike at interesting locations and venues.
STET present and future
STET’s programme now averages 8 to 10 performances a year. The open-air performances in the summer and A Christmas Carol in December are recurring productions and have continued to prove very popular with audiences. Starting in 2009 a young talent programme was established in conjunction with the renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Each year three young graduates from the school are invited to perform their self-devised solo pieces.
In the early years performances were staged in sometimes unusual venues in The Hague, such as almshouses, chapels, shops, museums and small theatres. However, since 2012 STET productions have been performed mainly in Het Paradijs, studio theatre of the Koninklijke Schouwburg (The Royal Theatre). This beautiful theatre is centrally located in The Hague and easily accessible by public transport including trains.
STET is proud to have a loyal group of supporters. Each year thousands of members of the international community, Dutch and non-Dutch alike, attend. Performances, ranging from children’s plays to political drama are staged for a wide and diverse audience: from students to CEOs, from toddlers to grandmothers and everything in between.
From 19 November till 2 December 2013 STET together with Dutch theatre company Het Vijfde Bedrijf and the Koninklijke Schouwburg has produced the first ever English-language Shakespeare Festival in the Netherlands.
STET is exploring the possibility of joining forces with festivals, such as the De Betovering (The Enchantment), a children’s arts festival and Movies that Matter and other cultural organisations in a sometimes challenging climate for the arts. Bringing theatre at the premisses of businesses and organising lunchtime performances is a spearhead for the future.
Starting in 2013 STET is the recipient of a small subsidy from the Municipality of The Hague. STET relies on its audience, private and governmental funding organisations for its finances. As from January 2011 STET has been recognised as a SKIP podium by the Fonds voor de Podiumkunsten (Arts Council).This is for a three year period. The current period runs until January 2017.
A group of devoted volunteers assists in promoting and carrying out the activities. Other generous volunteers contribute in kind with beds and bicycles or are members of the Reviewer Circle, established in 2012.
STET has a Board of five members recruited from the Dutch and international community. Members have different backgrounds in private and public office but are all equally committed to the arts and to STET in particular.
STET works project based and works with a small group of self-employed people to create continuity in the daily tasks of production, programming, education, technique and administration. It recruits independent theatre makers and crews and other third parties per project.
For the full text of STET's strategic plan, please click here
What we can do for you as a theatremaker
Production and/or Promotion
Production and/or promotion of initiatives developed by English language theatre companies. STET can be involved in all or part of the production process: research possible location negotiate and contract actors and technical staff negotiate conditions for a venue prepare funding applications develop a corporate sponsorship campaign marketing and promotion through STET's extensive network evaluate the production
Search, Marketing and/or Fundraising
Search, marketing and/or fundraising on behalf of theatres and other locations. STET can be requested to: search for performances through its network of theatre companies fundraise and/develop corporate sponsorship campaign promote the venue and performance in the international community