Even in a loss, something can be gained. Mourning for a loved one is often seen solely as a sad and lonely experience. But there’s more to it. Yes, it is intense and emotional. But it does not always (or only) have to be somber and sorrowful.


My project Mourning explored the many different ways in which people deal with the loss of a close family member. In 2012, a first version of the project was featured during Festival Cement in Den Bosch (in the Netherlands). A year later, a second iteration of this project was presented in Borgloon.

In both cases, the presentations were shaped around the personal testimonies of people I interviewed. Those interviews were conducted in Poland, The Netherlands and Belgium contained testimonies on how to cope with death and how to say goodbye.


But the resulting show was also a hybrid project that alternated the filmed interviews with live performances. For instance, visitors could join a man and a woman at the coffee table , where they were saying goodbye to a loved one.

In 2013, a group of Borgloon patrons invited me to create work that reflected on grief and how we deal with death, regardless of religion. They chose me, an artist working in the dramatic arts, because the theatre was born from lamentations, a mourning ritual.


I used the texts, photos and videos of conversations I had between 2010 and 2013 in Poland and I added similar new interviews I conducted in the region around Borgloon.

In November 2013, the multimedial project was presented on three different locations in the center of Borgloon: the Gasthuiskapel, the CPAS-kerk and the Sint-Baptistkerk in Kuttekoven.

Rouw – Den Bosch (2012)

commissioned by Festival Cement
produced by Productiehuis Brabant
directed by Leen Braspenning
text Annemarie Slotboom


Rouw – Borgloon (2013)

commissioned by De Nieuwe Opdrachtgevers
with support fromĀ Fondation de France / Cultural department of Borgloon
directed by Leen Braspenning
mediator Julie Rodeyns
video Leen Braspenning and Johan van Gerwen