'Roosen asks some incisive, poetic questions'
- de Volkskrant

Niet Meer Zonder Jou

Adelheid Roosen | Female Economy & Zina

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‘Your father and I have decided that if you don’t do as we say, we’ll commit suicide.’ “The phrase stabbed me in the back. For the first time in my 18 years it hit me with sharp clarity. I turned around and saw my place in the midst of my community, uninhabited by me.
Because I was different, therefore unworthy. A place to leave for good. I looked my mother straight in the eye. But it’s my place, my right of birth. I’m not going to be turned into a stranger. I won’t do as you say. I will follow my own path, and while doing that, you cannot cast me out, because I will be different, but not without you.”

Nazmiye Oral developed her concept for Niet Meer Zonder Jou (No Longer Without You) based on her own experience. Performed live on location, it confronts us with a fraction of someone’s life, based on the delicate moment when they make their first step towards a reconciliation. The actors recount how they, with the ones dearest to them, went their own way, at the same time refusing to estrange themselves from their communities. In tandem with and inextricably connected to the live encounter is a series of portrait photographs, which are displayed in the public space.

practical information

This performance takes place on the 1st floor of the venue De Vlugt.
There is NO LIFT available.


Nazmiye Oral about her project Niet Meer Zonder Jou

“Growing up in an Islamic culture of 'we' meant  that the 'I' which was forming in me clashed with the existing structures. There was no room for me to live according to the autonomous 'I', with its own rules, and stay within my culture at the same time. It seemed these two structures could only exist separately from each other. Choosing one meant giving up the other. Niet Meer Zonder Jou (No Longer Without You) originates from the wish to break down these barriers, to be able to be 'me' without having to give up my place in my community, to create a fluid, free space in which there's only one guiding principle: love. This is only possible if both camps fully enter into the experiment of Niet Meer Zonder Jou and surrender themselves to a radical intimacy, even inflict intimacy on themselves.

Intimacy makes me behave like an amoeba, formless and awkward. I find it difficult to deal with, and that's exactly why I want to inflict it on myself. Not experiencing intimacy makes me furious and violent. I cannot stand it if it's absent in my daily routine, in the train, on the tram, walking down the streets, when I visit my mother, when it's absent in myself and in my relation with myself. I had to engage in this experiment, this confrontation with my Mother, no doubt about that. Our parents are our most important teachers, because they are in a position to keep us imprisoned. Our most restrictive behavioural structures derive from our relationships with them; these structures are ingrained the deepest, at the same time lying closest to the surface and causing us to lose contact with the here and now in our daily lives. It's a prison built from what once was love.”

What does it mean when you decide for yourself: 'I know where I can find the key, I'm stepping out of this prison, I'm going to be myself, but 'No Longer Without You', meaning that you share everything - everything that I am and everything that you are?' This is what Nazmiye Oral tried to do when she persuaded her mother to live with her in a specially created space in which everything can be addressed, including the distance, the rejection, the disputes, the violence, the love.

Not only have actors and musicians entered the experiment of Niet Meer Zonder Jou, but members from the 'we' camp also participate: they put themselves in a vulnerable position in front of the camera, reaching out to family members who they could not share this intimacy with before. These photographs will be exhibited on billboards around the city, along the various routes leading to the performance location.

The community of people who have been photographed will frequently visit the space of mother and daughter to participate in workshops leading up to the performance, which they will influence through the structures and dynamics they bring to it.
On the night, the audience will also bring their own structures of 'I' and 'we' to the performance, acting as a living, breathing part of the performance, having an impact on the space, the themes, the energy and the course of the evening, as well as having an impact on each other.

How can you reject love in order to achieve real love? How can you counter this love, pierce right through the other's chest, take their heart in your hand and softly say: 'This is who I am, I will live my life, but 'No Longer Without You'.


Two years ago, Dutch theatre maker Adelheid Roosen's idea that people from residential areas should move into the cities' theatres became increasingly urgent. Having worked for years to seduce residents from the city centre to cross the cities' thresholds and explore the outskirts, it was time to reverse the process, moving from the outskirts to the centre and into the heart of the theatres. She picked up the phone and called director Johan Simons, asking him whether she could bring 100 local residents to walk into the theatre during the performance and occupy the stage after the performance and stay there overnight, using the theatre as a community centre! Simons agreed and so it happened that in every city that Danton's Death (Toneelgroep Amsterdam, 2014) was performed, 100 local residents would reside in the city's theatre. The inspirational clash between the life stories of professional performers and local residents which ensued is exemplary for Roosen's recent work. From 2010, she developed her 'adoptive' concept of WijkSafaris (Residential Safaris) in the cities of Amsterdam (2012), Utrecht (2013) and Mexico City (2015). The concept is for performers to be living in with local residents for a few weeks, creating scenes which will be played in the various local residents' houses and will together constitute an overall performance.

Roosen is also the author and director of a successful three-part performance about muslim immigrants: Vijf op je Ogen (1998), De Gesluierde Monologen (2003) and Is.Man (2006), about honour killings. In 2009, Roosen made the acclaimed documentary film Mam, about her mother's alzheimer's. In 2014 she initiated and performed in the autobiographical film Brozer, in which the dying actress Leonoor Pauw is followed during the last two years of her life. Roosen's work is not an attempt to understand what's different or strange; rather, she changes the perspective, showing that what you thought was strange or a stranger, is not. Roosen was awarded the Amsterdam Prize for her groundbreaking contribution to the arts in Amsterdam (2009) and the Proscenium Prize for her recent work (2012). In 2010 and 2011, Roosen was ambassador for the fight against domestic violence.

Nazmiye Oral (Hengelo, 1969) is the founder of Zina. Born to Turkish parents in the Netherlands, she regards herself as the first generation of a mutated species. Her DNA has been constructed from two distinct cultures, as different as night and day. Her work is a result of the urge to eradicate these differences and to bring the two closer together. From 2003 until 2012, Oral wrote columns about her family life with her mother, brother and sister for Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant. When her brother-in-law Ugur (which means Fortune) came to the Netherlands as an imported bridegroom, she set out to explore with him what it meant to land somewhere foreign. They lived together on one of the allotments which featured as a location in #Moes (2011) by Zina, Adelheid|Female Economy & de Veenfabriek, resulting in a scene in the final performance.

In order to explore her feelings towards the rise of right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders and his PVV party, Oral went 'into adoption' with Ricky, a PVV voter, in Zina neemt de Wijk (2010). Published by De Bezige Bij, Oral wrote her first novel Zehra in 2011. She is currently in the process of writing her next novel, Anatomie van een Migrant. Oral started her project Niet Meer Zonder Jou from an urge to inflict a sense of intimacy on herself in her relationships with her mother, her family and herself.

In his relatively short life, Melih Gençboyaci (1977) has already lived in three different countries, speaking three different languages. His nomadic disposition has been derived from his Turkish roots, his German 'Pünktlichkeit' and his Dutch sense of adventure.
Gençboyaci studied economics in the Turkish city of Bursa, before switching to train as an actor in Izmir. After graduating he joined the National Theatre in Turkey as an actor. When he was touring in the Netherlands as part of a Turkish production, his curiosity was drawn to the mime course at the Theatre School in Amsterdam. In between performances, he auditioned for the course and was accepted. When he had returned to Turkey, Gençboyaci packed his bags and came back to Holland, to follow his dream. Since then, he's been making his home all over the world, working as a choreographer, theatre maker and performer in countless productions, with many companies and at various festivals.

With other members from his year at the Amsterdam Mime School he formed the theatre collective Schwalbe. In 2014, the group won the BNG New Theatre Makers' Prize for their fourth production Schwalbe zoekt massa. Gençboyaci is also one of the founding members of the collective Copycats, which this season will be performing their production Copycats#2 in the Netherlands, Turkey and England. When he first met Adelheid Roosen in 2012, he shamelessly took her hand never to let go again. Since then, he's been part of Zina and has performed in WijkSafari Slotermeer (2012), WijkSafari Utrecht (2013) and De Oversteek (2014). This year, he will perform in Niet Meer Zonder Jou. If you asked Gençboyaci about his dreams, he would respond that he's currently living them.


Nazmiye Oral
Adelheid Roosen
Cigdem Yuksel
Meral Polat
Seval Okyay
Meral Polat
Melih Gencboyaci
Nazmiye Oral
Wassi Soma
Niet meer zonder ... Havva Oral, Malika Hamdaoui, Aliihsan Polat
Adelheid|Female Economy, alliantie Toneelgroep Amsterdam
with thanks to
DMO, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds

This performance was made possible with support by