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The message in Anne’s and Emre’s performance: long live the margin and f*ck the norm!

  • Music
  • Theatre

How do you live in a world that is not yours? And who actually decides which world belongs to whom? In her graduation performance 'De Linkshandige' (The Left-Handed One) Master's student in Music Theatre Anne Reitsma explores breaking out of a world that doesn't belong to you. She doesn’t do that on her own: Anne works with Emre Varlik, a first-year Master’s student Music Theatre. Their collaboration is based on equality. “It’s about a certain sincerity towards each other.” 

Anne Reitsma in De Linkshandige. Photo by: Maxime Scharrenberg
Anne Reitsma in De Linkshandige. Photo by: Maxime Scharrenberg

Intuitive, based on music

‘The left-handed one’ is inspired by the novella of almost the same name by Peter Handke, The Lefthanded Woman. “It’s about a woman who decides to live on her own. Not being lonely, but alone. It’s about making the decision to live alone and what that means,” Anne explains. The main character of the performance is a left-handed person, in a world of right-handed people. So all she has to do is break out, build a life in a parallel universe to celebrate her left-handedness. During the performance, Anne takes the audience along and introduces them to an impudent universe in which the marginal side of our existence is allowed to flourish. Long live the margin and f*ck the norm!

Anne works on the piece together with Emre Varlik in a rehearsal room in Utrecht. He is a first-year master’s student and plays the saz, a stringed instrument. The performance is still in full development, is intuitive and has music as its basis. Each day, she takes notes on a roll of paper on the floor. “I do that because the room has to be empty at the end of the day. And this is easy to carry.”  

A piece from Anne and Emre's roll of paper. 


“We really create this together”

The collaboration is of great importance to Anne. “We are completely equal to each other. “We really create this together. It’s about my graduation, so I’m the one who takes the lead, but Emre has just as much space and that understanding comes very naturally.” Emre: “For me, the main thing is that we’re able to create what you have in mind, but I can still be very honest with you, which works well.”

It was completely new for me: working more freely, looking at the world differently

Anne Reitsma, graduating Master's student in Music Theater

The two have known each other for longer. In the first half of this academic year, the programme linked them together during an internship at Sonnevanck Theatre. They made a short performance called ‘Spinning Jenny’, about the personal experiences of Turkish Dutch who came to live in Twente in the late 70s to work in the textile industry. “It proved to be a good match,” Emre says. “You discover from each other how you work and learn what to expect from each other. That broke the ice and now we can explore more in-depth.” Anne: “There is no social awkwardness between us and that is exactly what I need. He’s receptive to how I think and work. I can be a bit all over the place and then it’s nice to have someone like Emre in front of you.”

From acting to making theatre music 

Anne previously studied Acting at HKU. She graduated at the tender age of twenty. “I started acting for a few years, but found it rather boring. I thought: I too have ideas! My engagement grew and that was something I further explored in this master. My philosophy is often about equality. Such as: when is interest genuine and who do you reach with it.” The step from acting to making theatre music was a big one. “It was completely new for me: working more freely, looking at the world differently. You work with music as the basis, before it was text.”   

Questioning Turkish folk music 

Prior to the master’s at the Music Theatre, Emre completed the Bachelor’s degree World Music at Codarts, with a specialisation in Turkish Music. He wants to question Turkish music by breaking new grounds with it. “My grandparents brought the music with them and I feel the need to do something with it. When I look around me, the music is only intended for the first and second generation of Turkish Dutch. A tradition is maintained and that’s it. I believe that has no future. I’m looking for other forms, for innovation, I want to involve a wider audience.”  

For me, this master is about the question: How can I shape the baggage of my Turkish background myself?

Emre Varlik, Master's student Music Theatre

Emre thinks this already works well in collaboration with Anne. “I’m primarily approached as a musician, without this being about my Turkish identity. That’s very valuable. For me, this master is about the question: How can I shape that baggage of my background myself? How can I create space for my own instrument?”

Emre with his saz and the rolls of paper during the rehearsals of De Linkshandige. 

A bit fickle

After her graduation, Anne will expand ‘Spinning Jenny’ at Sonnevanck into a longer performance played by young people. She’ll be a director for the first time and the collaboration with Emre continues. Anne also hopes to be able to work on a new performance. “For that I want to conduct another preliminary social survey by speaking with people. I like to vary in collecting material. In ‘De Linkshandige’, I look for it within myself and that process is intuitive, with the next performance I’ll get it from others.”   

Follow Anne Reitsma 


After reading Anne and Emre's story, would you also like to do a Master's programme in Music Theatre? Then check the website of Music Theatre for more information, admission requirements and the curriculum.