Olympique Dramatique is a theatre collective with two permanent members, the actors and theatre makers Tom Dewispelaere and Stijn Van Opstal. At the time of its formation in 1999, Ben Segers and Geert Van Rampelberg were also part of the core team. Olympique Dramatique started out as an autonomous actors’ collective, working independently of a director with like-minded souls in varying line-ups. Olympique Dramatique attracted attention with brazen, physical productions packed with humour, virtuoso linguistic devices and violence. Pieces like De Krippel (2001), De Jossen (2004) and The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2006) portrayed closed, introspective communities.
In 2006, Guy Cassiers took Olympique Dramatique under the wing of Toneelhuis. He would also be the first director with whom the collective decided to work: in 2008, Olympique Dramatique and Guy Cassiers made De geruchten (The Rumours) after the novel of the same name by Hugo Claus. In the following years, the collective created productions with directors Raven Ruëll (Titus Andronicus, 2009), Bart Meuleman (In de strafkolonie / Het hol, 2010) and Pieter De Buysser (Het litteken lip, 2010). Bij het kanaal naar links (2011) was their first collaboration with the Dutch film and theatre director Alex van Warmerdam, followed five years after that by Het Gelukzalige (2016). Between times, Olympique Dramatique also continued to make shows without a director, often with theatre collective friends like tg STAN (Het wijde land, 2013 & Poquelin II, 2017) and LAZARUS (Niets is onmogelijk, 2012).
With or without a director, with small or large casts, in musicals (Adams Appels, 2009) or text theatre – the connecting thread throughout their work always remained a great love of the actor. Gradually, they also developed a love of solid repertoire pieces that flourish under attentive, actor-focused direction, which Stijn Van Opstal and Tom Dewispelaere did for the first time in 2014 with AUGUST ergens op de vlakte. In 2017, they tackled Risjaar Drei and in 2019, they made Angels in America: once again, highly acclaimed productions that packed houses throughout the land.
Olympique Dramatique likes to tell stories for a wide audience and with the largest possible group of actors, from different generations. Van Opstal and Dewispelaere still feel that the most powerful and moving gesture you can make with theatre is the presentation of a person who is performing on stage. In terms of script, they often fall back on classical repertoire, such as recently with Wachten op Godot (2020) and Vijand van het volk (2022).
Next season, they will be back on stage themselves. In the fall, Tom Dewispelaere is making and performing in Alle schone dingen. In this touching solo by the British author Duncan Macmillan, he asks the audience help him find out what makes life worth living. In the spring, Stijn Van Opstal is playing in Klytaimnḗstra, a new collaboration between Olympique Dramatique and tg STAN in which three versions of the famous Greek tragedy converge, thereby throwing a new light on the character of Agamemnon.
As of 2002, Olympique Dramatique is part of the collective artistic directorship of Toneelhuis, together with Lisaboa Houbrechts, Gorges Ocloo, FC Bergman and Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe.
- Watch a showreel of Olympique Dramatique's work here