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concept, choreography

Arno Schuitemaker


performers (8 pax)

Jim Buskens,

Clotilde Capelletti,

Rex Collins,

Ahmed El Gendy,

Frederik Kaijser,
Emilia Saavedra,
Ivan Ugrin,
Paolo Yao


Aart Strootman


Jean Kalman

set design

Jean Kalman &

Arno Schuitemaker

artistic collaboration, dramaturgy

Guy Cools


SHARP / Arno Schuitemaker


La Place de la danse, Centre de développement chorégraphique national de Toulouse Occitanie (FR) / Pôle Sud, Centre de développement chorégraphique national de Strasbourg (FR)


Performing Arts Fund NL,
Amsterdam Fund for the Arts,
Fonds 21,


thanks to

Holland Festival 2022


9 June 2022, Holland Festival, Transformatorhuis, Westergas, Amsterdam (NL)


60 minutes


no problem

touring party


freight tbc


Season 2023-2024 and later

links & downloads

> performance sheet (EN)

> dossier de diffusion (FR)

> press review

> context

> trailer

> full video (password)

> HR photos (password)

> technical rider (password)

Regardless of what we associate with it, darkness can be disorienting, and even threatening: the unknown, the obscure, the void. But there is not always a chance to avoid it. Perhaps darkness can be turned into potential through a change of perspective. “The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be,” Virginia Woolf wrote.

With 30 appearances out of darkness, Arno Schuitemaker creates an experience where a new dimension opens from the dark. Barely lit images emerge in a pitch-black space, sometimes merely on the threshold of perception. Assumptions we make of what we see are being challenged, while a group of performers moves across the stage. Not everyone is visible at the same time, but their presence is always felt. This world has its own kind of gravity and absorbs each and everyone, gradually transforming itself into a place of protection, hope, and conquest.

Arno Schuitemaker: “Maybe it is proof that I am getting older, but I feel that I am less and less resisting the vulnerability of life. When I was reading Derek Jarman’s book Chroma, some of his words strongly resonated with me: ‘Is black hopeless? Doesn’t every dark thundercloud have a silver lining? In black lies the possibility of hope.’ It led me to reflect on the significance of this paradox, and how it can benefit and shape us. Maybe we can find enlightenment by disappearing in darkness, if only to be able to come out on the other side.”

Hopefulness is risky, since after all it is a form of trust,
trust in the unknown and possible.

Hope in the Dark — Rebecca Solnit



A masterly all-enveloping crescendo in dance, light and sound that fascinates right until the redeeming finale.

Annette Embrechts, de Volkskrant (Top 5 best performances of the season) ★★★★


In pitch darkness you look to looming then fading dancers, barely lit yet fully present, sometimes only by a silver outline of their bodies (…) Must-see performance of the year. Alexander Hiskemuller, Scenes

Movement, light, and sound engage in a perfect dialogue (...) The pivotal moment in the performance is when a voice breaks through the instrumental score. The intense humanness of a voice and a body is very touching. Heleen Westerik, Cultuurpers

Within the frame of an hour both the dancers and the audience make a journey from stillness and darkness to light and movement, from one extreme to the other (...) It is a hallucinatory experience. Kester Freriks, Theaterkrant

Arno Schuitemaker meticulously builds his choreography of 30 appearances out of darkness in a magnificent, disorienting light design by Jean Kalman. Francine van der Wiel, NRC

30 appearances out of darkness premiered at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam on June 9, 2022.


28 May 2023 - Stadsschouwburg, Utrecht (NL)

14 May 2023, 20 hrs - ITA, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (NL)

25 April 2023 - Theater de Veste, Delft (NL)

21 April 2023 - Chassé Theater, Breda (NL)

15 December 2022 - Toneelschuur, Haarlem (NL)

14 December 2022b - Toneelschuur, Haarlem (NL)

8 November 2022 - November Music, Den Bosch (NL)

28 September 2022 - Theater De Vest, Alkmaar (NL)

19 September 2022 - Stadsschouwburg, Utrecht (NL)

14 September 2022 - SPOT / Stadsschouwburg, Groningen (NL)

8 September 2022 - Schouwburg, Tilburg (NL)

7 September 2022 - Theater Rotterdam, Rotterdam (NL)

10 June 2022 , 22 hrs - Holland Festival, Transformatorhuis, Westergas, Amsterdam (NL)

10 June 2022, 19 hrs - Holland Festival, Transformatorhuis, Westergas, Amsterdam (NL)

9 June 2022 - Holland Festival, Transformatorhuis, Westergas, Amsterdam (NL) premiere

8 June 2022 - Holland Festival, Transformatorhuis, Westergas, Amsterdam (NL)


After multiple collaborations, pioneering guitarist and composer Aart Strootman (1987) and Arno Schuitemaker will be working together again for 30 appearances out of darkness. Apart from his usually acoustic compositions, Strootman also composes and produces his electronic music exclusively for Schuitemaker’s pieces. He does this using instruments he plays and records himself. Strootman and Schuitemaker spend time together during the creative process so the final music will optimally integrate with the whole: inventive, layered and with lots of attention to timbre, rhythm and texture. It is the outcome of an intuitive workflow with lots of back and forth exchanges, and neither shies from holding what was made up to the light again and again. It is essential that not too much is laid down in advance and that their joint search is given as much room as possible. For example, one of the questions they have for 30 appearances out of darkness is: ‘How much lightness does darkness need?

His musical intelligence and frank, fresh view on music genres and styles justify a most prominent position in the music scene. He studied classical guitar and composition at Conservatory Fontys & Zuyd and at the University of Utrecht he obtained a MA in Musicology. Currently he is a PhD candidate at the university of Leiden via the DocArtes program.

Since 2009 Aart Strootman teaches music history, (advanced) ear training, analysis, philosophy and performance studies at the Fontys School of Arts in Tilburg. He is artistic leader of contemporary music ensemble F.C. Jongbloed. In 2012 he found his band TEMKO. As a core member/guitarist of ensemble s t a r g a z e he worked with Laura Mvula, John Cale,Terry Riley, Bill Frisell, Philippe Jaroussky, Shara Worden, Nils Frahm and many others.

In 2012 Aart Strootman was awarded “Brandstof” talent by the BKKC, followed the next two years by MuziekLab’s “New Arrivals”. In 2014 Aart was granted “Nieuwe maker” by the Dutch Fund of Performing Arts. With this support he follows masterclasses composition with Nik Bärtsch in Zürich. In September 2017 he won the prestigious Gaudeamus composition where the jury described him as a 'complete original: a performer, an improviser, an inventor and a unique composer.’ In May 2018 he won the 1st prize at the prix Annelie de Man composition competition and in december of that year the 1st prize at the International Viola Congress. In 2019 he received the most important composition prize of The Netherlands, the Matthijs Vermeulenprijs.

He has played solo with Britten Sinfonia, the HR,WDR, SWR, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. As a soloist he played recitals at the most diverse venues: from local museums to the Barbican Hall, from Amsterdam to Wellington. Most of these concerts are played on homemade instruments developed via elaborate collaborations with composers or in depth research.

Aarts music has been performed by F.C. Jongbloed, DissonArt Ensemble, TEMKO, KLANG, Storioni, Slagwerk Den Haag, Axolot, Bang on a Can, s t a r g a z e, Kaleidoscope ensemble L.A., Nora Fisher, Ramon Lormans, Jacqueline Hamelink, Jane Chapman, Sandbox Percussion, Vincent van Amsterdam and many others.


Schuitemaker has also worked regularly with lighting designer Jean Kalman. This collaboration goes further than just the lighting: as with the previous two pieces, they develop the look of the set together. For this new piece, this consists in essence of a black box, though in this case it is more a ‘blackest’ box. They look for ways they can keep influencing the feeling this space gives off during the performance.

Jean Kalman was born in Paris in 1945 and since 1979 he has created the lighting for countless theatre and opera productions in France, Japan, Great Britain, Holland, and Italy. He has worked with numerous directors including Peter Brook, Hans Peter Cloos, Pierre Audi (for whom he created the lighting for several productions at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam and, more recently, Iphigénie en Aulide and Iphigénie en Tauride at La Monnaie in Brussels as well as Attila at New York’s Metropolitan Opera), Robert Carsen (Nabucco, Alcina, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann among others at the Paris Opera), Nicholas Hytner, Tim Albery, Zhang Yimou (Turandot at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino), Jean-Louis Martinoty (Le Nozze di Figaro at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées), Francesca Zambello (Dialogues des carmélites and Boris Godunov at the Paris Opera), Jonathan Miller, Tim Supple, Adrian Noble, and Deborah Warner...

He created the sets and lighting for the Deborah Warner production of Fidelio at the Glyndebourne Festival as well as the lighting design for the world premiere productions of Dionysos (Wolfgang Rihm) at the 2010 Salzburg Festival and Gisela ! (Hans Werner Henze) at the Ruhrtriennale (September 2010). Jean Kalman received the 1991 Laurence Olivier Best Lighting Design Award for Richard III at London’s Royal National Theatre and the 2004 Evening Standard Award for Festen at the Almeida Theatre. More recently, he created the lighting for John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer at the English National Opera (Tom Morris), Orlando at La Monnaie in Brussels (Pierre Audi), La Traviata at the Vienna Staatsoper (Deborah Warner), Wolfgang Rihm’s Dionysos at the Berlin Staatsoper (Pierre Audi), Charpentier’s Médée at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Pierre Audi), Die Zauberflöte (Simon McBurney) and Guillaume Tell (Pierre Audi) at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, the world premiere of Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream at the Welsh National Opera (directed by and with sets and costumes by Pierre Audi), and the world premiere of Julian Anderson’s Thebans (Pierre Audi) at the English National Opera. 


Guy Cools (Vienna) and Arno Schuitemaker have been collaborating since 2010. He has contributed with his dramaturgical knowledge and insights for all of productions that are created. Guy Cools is also a writer, and amongst his publications is his recent book Performing Mourning. Laments in Contemporary Art (2021).


For the cast, Arno sought out a group of performers who together form a cross-section of diverse personalities. Besides Ivan Ugrin and Emilia Saavedra, with whom he has worked for some time already, Ahmed El Gendy, Jim Buskens, Rex Collins, Frederik Kaijser and Clotilde Cappalletti will take the stage as well.

Jean Kalman
Arno Schuitemaker © Renate Beense
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