In the audiovisual performance Europadorp/Europadorf, theater maker Silas Neumann takes us to the border area between Germany and the Netherlands. With video fragments, live soundscapes and augmented reality, he reconstructs the twenty year old utopia of a borderless village.

Kasper Veenstra

‘Is it possible to search for a feeling that no longer exists?’ wonders documentary and theater maker Silas Neumann at the beginning of his performance Europadorp/Europadorf. Neumann, who is originally from Germany, moved to the Netherlands in 2008 with an optimistic mindset: with the European Union, borders would not be that important anymore, right?

‘I believed in the European project’, he confesses on stage. ‘I thought Europe would soon become one country. Was I naive?’ Covid-19 appeared to become the ultimate test case: would Europe be united as one, or would it be each country for itself? The last became reality, Neumann concludes with disappointment.

So what about the original idea of European unity? Digging into this idealistic concept at the beginning of the crisis, the theater maker bumped into Europadorp, a village that was planned on the border between the Netherlands and Germany twenty years ago. All the way in the North of these two countries, between Bellingwolde (NL) and Rhede (DE), policy makers elaborated on the possibilities of developing a borderless place that would combine best of both worlds.

Kasper Veenstra

With a model village, video fragments, recorded phone interviews, live soundscapes and augmented reality, Neumann and his team set out to reconstruct the story of this village that never came into existence. They develop the chronicle in such a convincing way, that the village and its inhabitants almost become real - whereas simultaneously, fragments from actual interviews and historical anecdotes are quite amusing, even surreal.

Live on stage, the theater maker shares his thoughts and the struggles he had along the way: how can you search for a village that was never there? Is it possible to explore emptiness? And was the idea about this borderless village as utopian as he originally expected?

Eupadorp/Europadorf is touring through the Netherlands. For performance dates, check

Wieger Steenhuis