Laika theatre company creates ‘theatre of the senses’: imaginative productions aimed at children/youngsters and grown-ups who have retained their child-like capacity for wonderment. Laika’s fascination with children and teenagers has to do with their ability to look at the world with fresh eyes and a sense of amazement. Laika, too, finds that the world is full of surprises and that nothing can be taken for granted. Whether it is feelings or ideas, or tastes, smells and colours, the world is one big discovery playground.
Artists from different disciplines join forces to deliver the company’s hallmark: lucid, expressive and accessible theatre. Laika stages productions in large and small theatres, is often invited to perform abroad and also ventures into unknown territory, such as old cinemas, shopping streets or a tent on a square.> Read more
Jo Roets and Peter De Bie also work together in different contexts. Peter De Bie researches the potential for sensory involvement in a production, while Jo Roets takes the text as her starting point and directs the actors.
A concern for and commitment to the urban social climate prompts Laika to organize the occasional local and urban project. With Hotel Ideal (2000 and 2003), droom de stad (dream the city) (2006) and BLOK-BLOC (2009-2011-2013) the company breaks through the safe walls of the theatre and shows its curiosity about the city as a community.
Laika’s productions draw very diverse audiences. Not only young and old, but also people who are new to the theatre, attracted by the content of a particular project.
Previously known as Blauw Vier [Blue Four], Laika started out in 1991 with a repertoire of professional productions for children and teenagers. Laika has since acquired an excellent international reputation. Productions such as A lady in a cupboard, Cyrano, PEEP&EAT, Undeuxdouce, Peer, Hotel Tomilho, Floris and Blancefloer, the kamishibai, Patatboem, Soup Sisters, Sensazione, Believe me!, Me gusta, Cucinema and Opera Buffa have been performed all over Europe.
Furthermore, Laika has developed long-term working relationships with a number of companies abroad: Le Channel (Calais), Le Volcan (Le Havre), Le Manège (Reims), Les Grandes Tables de la Friche (Marseille), Theaterfestival Boulevard (‘s Hertogenbosch), Cultura Nova (Heerlen) and with several cultural capitals (Rotterdam 2001, Bruges 2002, Lille 2004, Linz 2009, Marseille 2013).
JO ROETS is playwright, artistic director, director and the company’s binding force. Roets has been professionally involved in theatre as an actor, playwright and director since 1989. The pleasure of telling stories, major and minor, on the stage is what drives him. He appropriates great texts from the world repertoire – like the work of Rostand, Dostoyevsky and Shakespeare – and reduces them to their essence. His adaptations of classics have won acclaim for their powerful clarity and visual language. But in recent years he has also adapted contemporary authors like Filip Vanluchene, Gerda Dendooven, Bart Moeyaert, Judith Herzberg, Jean-Michel Räber and Angela Carter. Roets’ work has frequently been staged at festivals at home and abroad and nominated for awards.
PETER DE BIE worked as business manager of Blauw Vier before becoming a culinary artist in 1998. He currently creates sensory productions. In the context of Laika, he continues his exploration of the five senses, overturning prevailing theatre conventions in the process. He investigates and reshapes form and creates a theatrical concept that requires active audience participation, which is why he often works with people from outside the theatre: cooks, musicians, circus artists, sculptors, etc. Smelling, tasting and touching are as important as seeing and hearing. The unique character of his work makes it the object of great international interest.