Gieskes-Strijbis Stage Award for Tjon Rockon and Katja Heitmann

Theatre maker Tjon Rockon and choreographer Katja Heitmann won the Gieskes-Strijbis Podium Prize 2020 on Monday evening. They each receive sixty thousand euros for their contribution to the quality and diversity of the Dutch performing arts.

“What both creators have in common is that – despite the systems in which they operate – they are looking for ways to set their own rules and create their own frameworks”, according to the advisory committee. “They do not allow themselves to be dictated by a (often unruly) practice; their own dreams dictate an entirely new practice”

According to the committee, theatre maker Tjon Rockon (1971) is a unique voice in the theatre landscape. Coming from the world of graffiti and hip-hop, he calls himself a late-bloomer in the theatre who fearlessly continues to claim his own place on stage with idiosyncratic stories, forms and vocabulary‘. Choreographer Katja Heitmann (1987) opens up the conventions of modern dance with a completely original oeuvre. Averse to existing categories, she opts for her own artistic path and for her own circumstances in which she wants to present her work’, according to the committee.

The Gieskes-Strijbis Fund wants to stimulate free thinking and imagination, and in 2017 it awarded the Gieskes-Strijbis Podium Prize. The award is presented annually to two creators who contribute to the quality and diversity of the performing arts in the Netherlands. Creators of theatre, music theatre, composition or dance are eligible for the award and candidates are expected to have a clear vision on how to reach new audiences, deal with new themes and develop new repertoire. The winners may use the prize money as they see fit for their artistic development.

The other nominees this year were spoken word artist Babs Gons, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producerBINKBEATS and theatre maker Naomi Velissariou. In 2019 theatre maker Alexandra Brother and choreographer Guilherme Miotto won the prize.