I am working with Jan Fabre and the company Troubleyn for over 15 years now and I can clearly say that I do not recognise the image of Jan Fabre and the company as suggested in the Open Letter published in Belgian media on 12th September 2018. As a performer and as a human being I ask that my reality is heard as well.
I never experienced Jan Fabre as being a racist, a sexist, a sexual harasser or a sexual abuser, not in the rehearsal space nor outside. That Fabre does anything he pleases with anybody in the name of his artistic genius is simply not true.
If Jan Fabre crossed certain limits as a director towards some individuals,I am sure this complains can be resolved appropriately and responsibilities can be taken.
In my experience Fabre has always cherished his performers; his actions towards them were never rooted in any form of hatred. On the contrary: they were rooted in an idealistic quest to make them glow. And to make them glow not only in artistic sense, but also as individual, empowered human beings!
Fabre always guides his performers through a very focussed, disciplined creative and physical process. He educates them, evokes use of their imagination, asks for their personal involvement and artistic responsibility. This is not a quick nor easy process. Yes: at times it can be very confronting. And yes: this probably is not for everybody. But in the end Fabre’s goal is to let go and to shape a performer who is his/her own director. The shape a performer who knows his/her own limits, embraces his/her own freedom and who is at the end fully empowered!
Over the years I have seen many performers in the company, including myself, growing, blooming, becoming stronger and independent. I have seen many performers becoming confirmed in their creative powers and their abilities. This serious approach of Fabre and his company created a safe working environment where we felt cherished, challenged, stimulated, guided and were held responsible for our own artistic choices. I experienced all this time how Fabre brought his performers to places they themselves did not know they could go. And I am thankful for that.
Fabre is demanding: oh yes! But he was never deaf to our worries and questions. I can fairly say that Fabre indeed can be very direct and tough
in his conduct towards people and his provocative sense of humour can be taken wrongly sometimes. When taken out of context his behaviour can seem inappropriate. But in my opinion he kept far from humiliating or bullying.
There is a thin line between strong, demanding, challenging and powerful leadership on the one hand and uncontrolled tyranny on the other. But there IS a line. Thin but clear for everybody, including Fabre. In my opinion the creative processes as I experienced them, simply cannot happen under any form of tyranny. For sure not the evil tyranny suggested in the Open Letter.
I have chosen to work for Jan Fabre and Troubleyn for so many years, because I remain —again and again—inspired and challenged and because of its seriousness. I remain dedicated to this serious approach to art, to the work, to creativity, to risk, to the freedom, to curiosity, to admiration of human nature, to human vulnerability and to the protection of it, to growth and to fun!
For all this reasons and much more I will continue my work with Jan Fabre and Troubleyn which have so generously inspired me over so many years.