directors Frank Van Laecke and Alain Platel
composer and music director Steven Prengels
created and performed by Chris Thys, Griet Debacker, Hendrik Lebon, Wim Opbrouck, Gregory Van Seghbroeck (bass tuba), Jan D’Haene (trumpet), Jonas Van Hoeydonck (trumpet), Lies Vandeburie (bugle), Niels Van Heertum (euphonium), Simon Hueting (horn), Witse Lemmens (drums), Steven Prengels (conductor)
and with Banda A. Ferri Città di Modena directed by M° Andrea Pedrazzi: Sonia Predieri, Elena Roveda (transverse flute); Angela Arbizzani, Jessica Camatti, Alice Garau, Raffaele Garofalo, Ernesto Guardascione, Giovanni L’Astorina, Monica Sighinolfi (clarinet); Giacomo Roveda (bass clarinet); Maria Maddalena Cattani, Marco Gigli, Pier Giorgio Serafini (alto sax); Claudio Consoli, Federico Nuzzo (tenor sax); Enzo Alfredo Fasano (baritone sax); Oronzo Degennaro, Gian Marco Malagoli, Andrea Pedrazzi (trumpet); Luigi Ambrosano (soprano flugelhorn); Stefano Bignozzi, Dario Lucchi, Gianluca Pagliara (horn); Massimiliano Marchitiello (baritone flugelhorn); Giuseppe Policicchio, Antonio Roccasalvo (trombone); Fabrizio Pollacci, Orlando Porrari (bass tuba); Martina Di Maio, Massimo Nezi (drums).
dramaturgy Koen Haagdorens
soundscape executed by KMV De Leiezonen directed by Diederik De Roeck
assistant to directors Steve De Schepper, Katelijne Laevens
light design Carlo Bourguignon
sound design Bartold Uyttersprot
set design Luc Goedertier
costume design Marie ‘Costume’ Lauwers
costumes and set realized by atelier NTGent
stage management Wim Van de Cappelle
production management Marieke Cardinaels, Valerie Desmet
tour management Steve De Schepper 

NTGent and les ballets C de la B
in collaboration with VLAMO
in coproduction with La Rose Des Vents (Villeneuve d’Ascq, FR), TorinoDanza (IT), Théâtre National de Chaillot (Paris, FR), Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (LU), Festspielhaus St. Pölten (AU), Lud-wigsburger Schlossfestspiele (DE), Festival Printemps des Comédiens Montpellier (FR), Croa-tion National Theatre Zagreb (HR), Le Maillon Strasbourg (FR), GREC-Festival de Barcelona (ES), KVS Brussel (BE), Brisbane Festival (AUS), Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne(CH)
distribution Frans Brood Productions
with the support of City of Ghent, Province East Flanders, the Flemish authorities
many thanks to the whole staff at  NTGent and at les ballets C de la B, to Etienne Soens, Linda Bonte, Annelies Desen-dere, Jan Czajkowski, Bart De Lausnay, Isnelle da Silveira, Bérengère Bodin, VLAMO, Huis van Alijn, Hilde Van Wesepoel, Griet Van Landeghem, Wim Hees, Jozef Lust, Anette De Wilde, Schoenfabriek Van Beers

Running time 1 hour and 40 minutes

Concert bands – brass and other wind bands – have been part of the social and cultural life for decades. In 2012, this inspired the Huis van Alijn museum in Ghent to present a much appreciated exhibition of photos and traditional objects from past and present, under the title En avant, marche! In cooperation with Stephan Vanfleteren and other photographers, this also led to a book of pictures, containing both new portraits of musicians and majorettes and black & white pictures from the archives.
Now it is under the same title – En avant, marche! – that directors Frank Van Laecke and Alain Platel together with composer Steven Prengels, came together taking inspiration from this tradition. This is their first joint production since Gardenia, the theatre production that earned them so much success at home and abroad in 2010. For this new production, Van Laecke and Platel approach the world of music clubs as a ‘miniature society’ in its own right: a collective of very different individuals who try to keep to one and the same marching direction. An arrangement that is kept as well as possible, sometimes by trial and error, and, as such, is a metaphor for our society as a whole.

Frank Van Laecke, Alain Platel, Steven Prengels biographies

Frank Van Laecke

Frank Van Laecke has a rich international career both as a writer and as a director. He received numerous awards both at home and abroad for his work. Writer of TV series for the Flemish public television channel VRT, Van Laecke took his first professional steps as a director at the musical department of the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Since then, he has been directing plays, operas, musicals and television programs.
When he directs musicals and large scale theatre productions, Frank Van Laecke does not shy away from entertainment and knows exactly how to combine comical content and size. This way he achieved resounding successes with musicals such as Kuifje en de Zonnetempel (Tintin and the Temple of the Sun – the French-language version being hailed as best performance 2002 by Télémoustique), Dracula, Oliver !, Rembrandt – de musical, Pirates Pirates !, Daens, Fiddler on the Roof, Domino, Ben X…
With the greatest of ease, Frank Van Laecke applies himself to work that requires pure aesthetics such as the theatre production he directed about Anton Chechov (Jouw hand in mijn hand) in 2006. The same year saw the premiere performance of Kijk mama, ik dans (Look mummy, I’m danc-ing), a monologue directed jointly with Vanessa Van Durme. Later on, the performance toured worldwide. In 2010, Frank Van Laecke worked with Alain Platel for the first time: Gardenia (the story of a memorable group of older artists in a transvestite cabaret) got a nomination for the prestigious Oliver Award 2012 in London. In 2012 he also directed Aida, the opening performance of NTGent season; right after that, his performance Masterclass with Pia Douwes as Maria Callas premiered. This one was nominated for the prestigious Neder-landse Toneel Publieksprijs (Dutch Audience Drama Award) and was selected for the Theater-festival.
Frank Van Laecke also directed many operas in several countries such as Faust (2009), Madame Butterfly (2012) and La Traviata (2014) for Opera Zuid in the Netherlands, La Bohème (2013) for the Florida Opera Festival and Peter Grimes (2013) in Germany. 2014 was a year of extremes with the intimate Pauline en Paulette ( for Judas Producties) and ’14-’18 a great musical performance about friendship and love in the First World War. As he did before in other productions, Frank Van Laecke wrote the ’14-’18 script together with Allard Blom and worked on the music together with composer Dirk Brossé. In 2014-2015 season, projects follow at full speed: Kadanza (Ketnet-studio 100), Aspe, Moord in het Theater (Uitge-zonderd Theater), En avant, marche! (in collabation with Alain Platel and Steven Prengels), De Sokkensonate (Cour&Jardin), Carmen (summer opera Alden Biesen), Marathon (NTGent) and Sacco &Vanzetti (Festivaria).

Alain Platel

Alain Platel trained as a remedial educationalist and is a selfeducated director. In 1984, he set up a small company with a number of friends and relatives to work collectively. Emma (1988) marked his intention to focus on direction. He was responsible for Bonjour Madame (1993), La Tristezza Complice (1995) and Iets op Bach (1998) with which les ballets C de la B (that was the name of the company at that time) rocketed on the international scene. In the meantime, his collaboration with Arne Sierens had a similar effect on the Ghent youth theatre company Victoria, with three plays Moeder en Kind (1995), Bernadetje (1996) and Allemaal Indiaan (1999).
After Allemaal Indiaan. he announced that he would stop his production career. But shortly afterwards, Gerard Mortier persuaded him to work at Wolf (2003) based on the character of Mozart for the Ruhr triennale. The choir project for the opening of the new KVS marked the start of close collaboration with composer Fabrizio Cassol. vsprs (2006) proved to be a turning point in his career. So far, his work has been exuberant in both the diversity of performers and subjects to became more profound and intense revealing a world of passion and desire. And violence as well, in Nine Finger (2007) with Benjamin Verdonck and Fumiyo Ikeda.
After the baroque pitié! (2008), Out Of Context for Pina (January 2010) is an almost ascetic reflection of the movement repertoire of spasms and tics. Platel consistently keeps on searching this language of movement in order to incarnate feelings that are too vast. The yearning for something transcending the individual is becoming more and more palpable.
In collaboration with director Frank Van Laecke, he signed Gardenia (June 2010), a production in which the closing of a transvestite cabaret offers a glimpse into the private lives of a memorable group of old artists. In 2015, Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke renew their collaboration, this time joined by composer Steven Prengels, for En avant, Marche ! a performance about how society is inspired by the tradition of fanfare orchestras and brass bands.
C(H)OEURS (2012), Platel’s biggest project so far, was commissioned by opera director Gerard Mortier. He worked on the famous choral scenes from Verdi’s operas to which some pieces of Richard Wagner’s music works were added later on. In C(H)OEURS,–together with his dancers and the choir of Teatro Real – he examines how ‘dangerously beautiful’ a group can be. The political connotation in performances such as tauberbach (2014) and Coup Fatal (in collaboration with Fabrizio Cassol 2014) lies in the joie de vivre and energy that is displayed on stage proving how people sometimes live or even survive in undignified circumstances (a landfill in tauberbach and the actual living conditions of the musicians from Congo in Coup Fatal). “Lust for life” as a way of rebellion.
To make it clear though, Platel is not just into large scale projects nowadays. In the recent past, he worked on small projects such as Nachtschade (for Victoria in 2006) and on coaching for Pieter and Jakob Ampe amongst others and their production Jake & Pete’s big reconciliation attempt for the disputes form the past (in 2011). These two projects have had a significant influence on his way of perceiving theatre.
He also almost surreptitiously entered the arena of dance film together with British director Sophie Fiennes (Because I Sing in 2001, Ramallah!Ramallah!Ramallah! in 2005 and VSPRS Show and Tell in 2007) and with de balletten en ci en là (2006), an impressive view of what goes on in a twenty-year-old dance company, taking us all the way to Vietnam and Burkina Faso, but also and mainly being an ode to his home town Ghent.

Steven Prengels

In 2009, Steven Prengels graduated as Master in Composition at the Conservatory of Amsterdam in the class of Wim Hendrickx with whom he had already obtained a master degree in composition at the Conservatory of Antwerp in 2007. His work covers a wide range of artistic fields including music for large orchestra, theatre, dance, short film and visual arts. His work has been executed by the Chamber Orchestra of Belgium, Brussels Philharmonic, deFilharmonie, SPECTRA and the Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam. In 2012, he wrote Sisyphe for mezzo, baritone and orchestra, commissioned by the Symphony Orchestra of Flanders and based on the writing of Albert Camus. Shortly after that, he wrote Wagner in Bayreuth, commissioned by the Oxalys Ensemble and created by the bass-baritone Dietrich Henschel and the Oxalys Ensemble.

In the field of theatre and dance, he often works as a musical director and composer. Highlights are Gardenia (2010 -by Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke) for which he created the musical concept. Other projects with Alain Platel followed : C(H)OEURS (2012), the large scale production by les ballets C de la B and Teatro Real Madrid, featuring a big choir, orchestra and ten dancers, and for which Steven Prengels created additional music and soundscapes to the work of Wagner and Verdi. In 2012, tauberbach premiered at Münchner Kammerspiele. In 2015, he joins directors Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke once more for En avant, marche ! co-produced by les ballets C de la B and NTGent and also works with director Johan Simons and conductor Philippe Herreweghe on Accatone, the 2015 Ruhr Triennale opening event.


En avant, marche! by Koen Haagdorens, April 2015