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What’s on this week: 15-21 November

11:26 14/11/2019
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

Family Day at the House of European History is chock-a-block with activities such as games, crafts and a Discovery Space where kids can dress up as historical figures. Numerous workshops see them designing objects with a 3D pen, making augmented reality videos and learning how to upcycle. All workshops are in English and Dutch. The free event is part of the Flemish region’s Art Day for Kids, which includes some 15 initiatives spread across Brussels. 17 November 10.30-18.00, Rue Belliard 135

De Centrale hosts the first major show of work by Roger Ballen, one of the most famous art photographers in the world. Theatre of the  Ballenesque features photographs, videos and interventions by the New York-born, South Africa-based artist. Belgium’s Ronny Delrue adds his own photographs to the mix, for an intriguing show that delves into the unconscious and the absurd. 14 November to 14 March, Place Sainte Catherine 44

Cole Porter’s wonderful score for Kiss Me Kate comes to bustling life as Brussels Light Opera Company performs the classic musical. Ex-spouses, a gambling addict and a couple of mobsters get mixed up onstage and behind the scenes as a theatre troupe puts on Shakespeare in 1950s Baltimore. 21-24 November, Auderghem Cultural Centre, Boulevard du Souverain 183

Paul Delvaux’s ‘Les Ombres’

Paul Delvaux was bestowed with the honorary title of Stationmaster in Louvain-la-Neuve. It might sound strange for a painter, but a look at a few of his works explains it all: He was obsessed with trains and stations and the journeys – psychological, physical and industrial – that they represented. Train World’s Paul Delvaux: The Man Who Loved Trains includes about 50 drawings and paintings dedicated to the subject, as well as some of the 20th-century artist’s personal belongings. Until 15 March, Place Prinsesse Elisabeth (Schaerbeek)

The Guardian calls Stephen Carlin “a cult favourite among fans at the sharper end of stand-up”. Be among this witty crowd as English Comedy Brussels presents the Scottish comic together with comedian and actor Paddy Lennox of Northern Ireland. 20 November 20.00, Théâtre Marni, Rue de Vergnies 25

American poets, authors and professors Lisa Samuels and Jennifer K Dick perform new work and talk about literary experimentation and performance alternatives at VUB’s new culture centre Pilar. 18 November 16.00-17.00, VUB Building Y, Entry 6 (at Blvd du Triomphe & Avenue Henri Schoofs)

Vita Siyo Muchez Ya Watoto

Snap up a ticket for the fascinating Vita Siyo Muchez Ya Watoto, or War is No Child’s Play, in which nine Belgian actors, three actors from Congo and Burundi, and 10 local refugees seek common ground on stage. Thanks to live direction, every show is different, but all of them speak volumes about compassion and humanity in a world full of contradictions. The production was previously staged with some of the same actors in the open-air in Africa (pictured). Following the run in Brussels, Vita Siyo travels around the country. (In multiple languages with real-time translation) 20-23 November, KVS, Quai aux Pierres de Taille 7

Avant-garde pop music is in the spotlight at the Schiev Festival, which features an eclectic line-up of innovative local and international musicians, a music market and a series of talks. Belgian-born, Berlin-based DJ Gista will speak in English about Afrofuturism and the work of Kodwo Eshun. Schiev, by the way, means crooked or distorted in Brussels dialect. 15-17 November, Beursschouwburg, Rue Auguste Orts 20

Dykes of all stripes are invited to the L-Festival, a seemingly endless programme of activities and events. Lesbian love stories in the cinema, drag king shows, badass girl concerts, feminist stand-up, exhibitions, workshops, rouble-rousing and paaar-ties. And more. 21-30 November, across Brussels

Klaus Pichler’s ‘Skeleton in the Closet’

Photography is one of the most accessible genres of art because it is ubiquitous – everyone takes photographs. PhotoBrussels Festival can appeal, then, to a wide variety of people. Hosted every year by Hangar Art Center, it showcases more than 100 photographs according to a theme, which this year is Still Life. Think more Andy Warhol than Paul Cézanne, though. 15 November to 21 December, Hangar, Place du Châtelain 18 (Ixelles)

Before Dimanche sets off on its international tour, don’t miss this Belgian-made ode to absurdity during its Brussels run. Dialogue-free and with pertinently themed climatic catastrophes, it’s a surprising, comic and very human show by companies Focus and Chaliwaté. While three reporters set off on an expedition around the world to film rare species, a family attempts to spend a quiet Sunday at home. With the help of some breath-taking special effects and superb puppetry, chaos soon descends. 19-30 November, Théâtre des Tanneurs, Rue des Tanneurs, 75


You’ll see extraordinary feats of physical prowess at Festival de Cirque en L’air, a wild and wonderful circus festival in Walloon Brabant. Your tickets gets you into two shows at the weekends, and there’s an extra performance mid-week. Whether high wire, pole, acrobatics or a giant wheel hanging from above, all works get performers off the ground and in the air. 16-24 November, Walloon Brabant Cultural Centre, 3 Rue Belotte, Court-Saint-Etienne

Photos, from top: Courtesy House of European History; Paul Delvaux’s ‘Les Ombres’, photo by Vincent-Everarts; ©Benjamin Geminel/KVS; Klaus Pichler’s ‘Skeleton in the Closet’(cropped)

Written by Lisa Bradshaw, Sarah Crew