Try out: May 6, premiere: May 7, Grand Theatre Groningen > Info & dates

“I’m like an ant that can’t find its hole.”

After living in youth institutions for fifteen years, a boy is kicked out when he is eighteen. After all, the youth care ends at that age. He doesn’t make it alone and dies in a tent from heat and malnutrition. Touched by this sad newspaper report, ShELFISH feels the need to investigate the circumstances that lead young people to become trapped in their lives and society.

In a mix of dance theatre, a narrative soundscape and a dynamic sculpture, we take you into the complex labyrinth in which some young people find themselves.

For Life & Times we work with a number of young people from a closed youth care institution in Groningen. Their voices tell the story of Michael K., the main character from the beautiful book ‘Life & Times of Michael K.’ by Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee.

Michael K. is a socially limited young man who lives an anonymous life as a municipal worker. He has lived in institutions all his life. His mother came to visit occasionally. One day his mother asks him to take her back to her homeland, because she is dying. On the way the mother dies. With her ashes in a box, Michael continues the journey. What follows is an apocalyptic tale of a boy who doesn’t understand the world enough to be able to survive in it.

Life & Times is made with and by: Veerle Van Overloop, Olympia Kotopoulos, Matija Franjes, Judith Blankenberg, WERC – Jelle Valk, Olav Huizer, Joachim Rümke; Niels van Dam, Wil Frikken, Merijn Boers, Karlijn Vermeij, Frits Selie; the youngsters L., L., R., E. and A.

Campaign image by Wouter van Tilborg

Many thanks to Pieter Smit, Albert van der Ploeg, Tjeerd van Dekken and all Portalis/Elker employees involved.

Life & Times is produced and presented by ShELFISH in co-production with Grand Theater Groningen and Pianofabriek (Brussels)

Life & Times is financially made possible by Kunstraad Groningen, Diorapthe, VSB, Fonds 21, Station Noord and Beringer Hazewinkel.

PRESSKIT Life & Times


Perslink 1


Concept/direction: Veerle Van Overloop
Performers: Olympia Kotopoulos, Matija Franjes/Nik Rasjzek
Scenography/visuals: WERCcollective
Composition: Niels van Dam
Dramaturgy: Judith Blankenberg
Communication: Karlijn Vermeij