Melkweg is in TEH from the beginning

Erik Backer

The Melkweg is member of Trans Europe Halles Network. Actually we were one of the founders in 1983 when it was started in Brussels. I think we are one of the few left who are already there from the beginning. It is actually the only international network that we were heavily involved in.

We benefit from the network in many ways actually. You benefit because you can have opportunities to exchange ideas, experiences and also sometimes people which is done in certain project. Now we also benefit from that we are growing older. People usually look around when they are starting a new centre. Of course they can benefit from our experiences as the established alternative centre. But this starting something new with your few people, with the high spirit of that you want to reach something. You have to take care that in your established centre you are not losing that spirit. So in that sense we also learn from a lot of initiatives all over Europe when something is started.

And of course having an old building ourselves sometimes we get ideas of how others do deal with that. There are specific problems of having an old building, huge spaces, the heating. Especially now we are trying to save money on spending too much on that. This being involved in the Trans Europe Halles network has actually many aspects.

In Netherlands we are operating in a network with other pop venues of course. It is the same. We exchange ideas and experiences or the lobby for the authorities when we have common interests. Then there are in Amsterdam some more networks where you participate on the theatre. We are joining forces in open space theatres. We work together with the other big pop venue in Amsterdam called Paradiso with our own production house where we combine knowledge in staging the same multidisciplinary productions. So we are not operating on ourselves all the time alone. We work together with others although sometimes you can also be a competitor.

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Erik Backer

Erik Backer

Executive director of Melkweg in Amsterdam, Netherlands

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