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Robrecht Herfkens

Phone: (+61 4) 1072 9964


Start date

Apr 2014

Submission date

Nov 2017

Robrecht Herfkens


Social and political satire and the Dutch cabaret tradition


This article will introduce the reader to the theatrical genre of Dutch cabaret. Dutch cabaret, as a national form of satirical theatre, is “a musical-literary stage performance in intimate surroundings for an intelligent audience”. Additionally, a common, though not official definition of (Dutch) cabaret sees it as, “addressing problems or taboos that are present in the current society”. Commonly, though not exclusively a one-man performance, the artist holds an arsenal of humour, satire, and music. Dutch cabaret is unique in that it reflects the specific social or political commentary of the Netherlands in that is not afraid to attack the ‘sacred cows’ of society, and performs through a mixture of comedy, Dada-esque nonsense, song and poetry, and moments of addressing uncomfortable topics. This research will give insight into Dutch, and more broadly Western-European culture in order to provide a wider awareness of this specific performance style

Why my research is important

As a national genre, Dutch cabaret held its cultural influence and importance within the borders of the Netherlands only. By researching the satirical aspects of Dutch cabaret, the thesis primarily aims to introduce the genre to international peers within the field of theatre studies, as well as broadening the research regarding the performance of satire on stage.