Embracing the elusive

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Frie Leysen

Following widespread reaction to the powerful contention that art should disturb not please, we publish Leysen's full speech.

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About the author

Frie Leysen is a festival-maker and considered one of the most experienced personalities within the international theatre scene. Between 1980 to 1991, Frie was the founding director of deSingel in Antwerp, and in 1994 founded the bilingual Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels. In the ten years that she headed this festival, it grew into an influential festival for both Belgian and international arts. In the following years, she expanded her area of work to extend into Europe and beyond.

In 2007, Frie organised the multidisciplinary Meeting Points festival in nine Arab cities. In 2010 she was curator of Theater der Welt in the German Ruhr area and in 2012, held the position of artistic director of the Berliner Festspiele, and in 2014 was theatre director of the Vienna Festival in Austria. In 2003, Frie was awarded the Flemish Community Award for General Cultural Contributions and in 2007 she received an honorary doctorate from the Free University of Brussels. In November 2014, Frie was awarded the Erasmus Prize: an annual award for a person who has made an exceptional contribution to culture, of scholarship, in Europe and beyond, by the Board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation.