Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe is a Belgian performer, singer and director. He is born in 1995 and was raised in Eine. From a young age he was fascinated by the universes of puppet-theater and visual art. In 2018 he graduated from the Academy for Performance Art in Maastricht where he focussed on music and the big gesture. In 2022 he became part of the artistic leading at Toneelhuis, the Antwerp City Theater, where he also creates his work. Meirhaeghe is known for his extravagant, bombastic, alienating style, which he contrasts with sobriety, intimacy and intuition. He plays this shadow game both as a person as in his own work.
Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe is a director. His performances start from an intriguing cast, radical scenography, visual art, music, choreography and texts. He interweaves elements from old repertoire into an electronic futuristic carpet, he sees theatre as an echo chamber in which old and new forms exist interchangeably.
“I'm conducting a conversation between the past and the present, rather than smashing the place down. I just reshuffle the times.” Meirhaeghe’s work builds bridges between genres, art movements, artists and audiences and has an utopian enthusiasm.
"THE FUTURE IS FERTILE!” - A Revue
“I want to talk about how to conserve the past and how to bring it into the future. For me time-honored symbols must be freed from the yoke of tradition; it must become music of the present. Art, repertoire, rituals and traditions are much more fascinating in a kind of relay game in which others take over, than in an everlasting repetition of covers. I see it as a challenge to combine parts of this rituals and to reshuffle them with our new worlds and symbols. I want to see the theater as a wormhole through which we can see other times and new worlds, utopian places. The result can be a sensitive conversation between all generations and their collective history. It’s only with intuition I can approach every performance, together with an amazing team of designers, dramaturges, musicians and a variety of performers. We create every show an ideal biotope to search what the big stage can evoke in the here and now.”
“DON’T STAY THERE.”
Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe is artistic leader of Toneelhuis. Next to producing own work in Flanders biggest city theater he’s also responsible for defining the theaters artistic future. The model is unique: together with eight other artists, he has chosen to co-control the house horizontally. The organization is fully artist-driven and polyphonic. An interesting, hopeful experiment.
“DESTROY THE BODY!” - Spectacles
Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe is an autodidact contratenor, but likes to call himself the Chimney Soprano, yet his warmly extravagant opera voice has many operatic heights and bluesy depths. With his music and concerts he is internationally touring. In 2023 he started a project with the Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurdsson and the violinist Elisabeth Klinck.
In season 23-24 Benjamin is creating 'Shelly Shonk Fiffit' at Toneelhuis and 'Alles Was Man Hier Schonmal Gemacht Hat' at Volksbuhne Berlin. He has been and will be touring with ‘Madrigals', 'A Revue' and 'Shelly Shonk Fiffit’ all over Europe.