Dead Ladies Show

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With the Belgian version of the Dead Ladies Show, author Gaea Schoeters and Passa Porta are producing a series of jolly cafés chantants about remarkable women from the past who deserve our continuing admiration. The Dead Ladies Showscan be seen in Brussels and on tour across Flanders.

Clara Schumann, Erika Mann, Harriet Tubman, Ada Lovelace and Kaplana Chawla each contributed to work for which men took the credit. These are women who explored the world but remained in Stanley’s shadow, women who equalled their male counterparts in artistic talent but were not given the attention they deserved. They escaped the conventions of their time, made the most of their lives and went to extremes to make their dreams come true. The Dead Ladies Show gives them, and many more, the stage they deserve.

In each edition, three enthusiastic authors, performers, scientists or artists share their love for their leading woman. They guide the public through her life, work and achievements. A woman of letters always takes centre stage, but explorers, athletes, artists and researchers also get their turn in the spotlight.

During and after the three lecture-performances, a singer performs accompanied by pianist Lies Colman to pay tribute to two musical grandes dames of the past. The Dead Ladies Song was written by composer Annelies Van Parys based on the words of Gaea Schoeters in a translation by Rona Kennedy.


Dead Ladies Show #1

With Chokri Ben Chikha about Dihya, Bieke Purnelle about Annie Londonderry, and Annelies Verbeke about Katherine Mansfield / Song: Els Mondelaers with music by Cathy Berberian / Piano: Lies Colman / Presentation: Gaea Schoeters

04.12.2019 Brussel, Beursschouwburg
05.12.2019 Gent, Muziektheater LOD
14.12.2019 Oostende, Vrijstaat O. (Kaap)

Dead Ladies Show #2

With Rashif El Kaoui about Clodia Pulchra, Joke van Leeuwen about Alexine Tinne, and Lara Taveirne about Fritzi Harmsen van Beek / Song: Johanna Zimmer with Germaine Tailleferre and Lili Boulanger (Leuven) or Elise Caluwaerts with music by Alma Mahler and Nadia & Lili Boulanger (Brussels) / Piano: Lies Colman / Presentation: Gaea Schoeters

07.03.2020 Leuven, La Conserve (org. 30CC)
08.10.2020 Brussel, Beursschouwburg
06.01.2021 Brugge, Concertgebouw (met Joke Devynck over Camille Claudel in plaats van Rashif El Kaoui over Clodia Pulchra) > POSTPONED

Dead Ladies Show #3

Special queer edition with Joke Devynck about Camille Claudel, Johanna Pas about Annemarie Schwarzenbach, and Fleur Pierets about Natalie Clifford Barney / Song: Naomi Beeldens with music by Marlene Dietrich and Claire Waldoff / Piano: Lies Colman / Presentation: Gaea Schoeters

24.09.2020 Brussel, Beursschouwburg (Pride Festival)
10.11.2020 Genk, Bibliotheek > POSTPONED
07.03.2021 Leuven, Wagehuys (org. 30CC)
24.03.2021 Antwerp, deSingel (org. Transparant)

Dead Ladies Show #4

With Yousra Benfquih about Fatima Mernissi, Bent Van Looy about Charley Toorop, and Marieke De Maré about Patricia De Martelaere / Song: Britt Truyts (Brussels), Elise Caluwaerts (Antwerp), Lore Binon (Leuven), Naomi Beeldens (Ostend) / Piano: Lies Colman / Presentation: Gaea Schoeters

18.11.2020 Brussel, Beursschouwburg > POSTPONED
26.11.2020 Antwerpen, Arenbergschouwburg (org. Letterenhuis) > info
11.12.2020 Leuven, La Conserve (org. 30CC) > POSTPONED
12.12.2020 Oostende, Vrijstaat O. (Kaap) > POSTPONED

Dead Ladies Show #5

With Jeroen Olyslaegers about Hella Haasse, Catherine Vuylsteke about Sanmao, and Maaike Neuville about Chantal Akerman / Song: Britt Truyts with music by Amy Beach and Vera Lynn / Piano: Lies Colman / Presentation: Gaea Schoeters

25.03.2021 Brussels, Beursschouwburg (Passa Porta Festival)
13.04.2021 Leuven, 30CC
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Dead Ladies Show #6

With Annelies Beck about Clarice Lispector, Maud Vanhauwaert about Alice Nahon, Sachli Gholamalizad / Song: Noémie Schellens with music by Irene Poldowski and Hildegard von Bingen / Piano: Lies Colman / Presentation: Gaea Schoeters

21.01.2021 Brussels, Muntpunt > POSTPONED
19.05.2021 Genk, Bibliotheek

New dates and editions will be added in 2021!

Berlin inspiration

Gaea Schoeters was introduced to Berlin’s Dead Ladies Shows when she was doing her residency at the Literarisches Colloquium in 2017. Creators Katie Derbyshire and Florian Duijsens gave their blessing for a Belgian version, curated by Gaea Schoeters and organized by Passa Porta.

The Dead Ladies Shows love to tour! Several editions can be booked. Interested organizers can contact Passa Porta (send an email to for showcases and information on the technical and financial conditions.

Photos © Benjamin Boar, Anna Van Waeg