In a small corner of RCD known as District East is a unique meeting space for art, culture and terrific burgers: Roodkapje (the name means Little Red Riding Hood in Dutch). In April, after two turbulent years, it was finally time to kick-start this hotspot with a two-day reopening party. Director Marloes de Vries has been at the helm of Roodkapje for a year. With a degree in teaching, she started her career at VPRO Dorst, progressed from there to MAMA and teaching computer science, and recently returned to the central thread of her life: coaching and showcasing talented young makers.

Roodkapje is – in its own words – a local laboratory for art, live performances, food and everything in between.

A meeting space where all are welcome, Roodkapje’s zero tolerance policy assures its diversity of employees and visitors feel safe and comfortable. It’s also a dynamic space; a catalyst for interdisciplinary productions. Marloes: “Roodkapje sits in the cultural substrate where new things germinate. Our activities are based on three pillars, but we also try to blend a lot of things, like artistic burgers on our menu or performances by visual musicians.” All that makes Roodkapje a place where young artists and people who want to experiment can explore and discover.

The focus is on developing interdisciplinary art, and in the Hamburger Community, Marloes says, the possibilities are endless. “We’re actively investing in coaching and development through residencies. At the moment, we’ve got four artists and two event managers who are part of the Hamburger Community. They do the cultural programming for a whole year, with the artists given their own studios to create work for seven scheduled exhibitions, whilst the event managers do our events. This lets us put on an interdisciplinary programme and, we hope, bring a variety of different audiences together.” Her vision might be summed up as “chaos on stage, calm in the house”. Marloes is excited about what promises to be a busy year, with a wide-ranging programme created by a fun and dynamic group of people.

During the lockdown, the team pushed ahead with a major development project to remodel the premises, using only reusable materials. The idea is to lower the threshold overall. “In April we put on a big party for Roodkapje Resurrected, with performances, bands, DJs and an exhibition. I urge everyone to get up off the couch, try something crazy and make the most of the unexpected.”

Text: Céline Boute
Photography: Niek Hage