Q&A with Anton van der Sluis

22 April 2021

During the Moving Futures festival 2021, Anton van der Sluis will give a daily ‘glimpse’ of his residency around the theme of Homo Ludens, the playing human being. Every day you can enter the doors of De Nieuwe Oost Arnhem – Theater aan de Rijn and watch his creation and research process


During Moving Futures Festival 2021, you will let us in on your research for Homo Ludens. Could you tell us about your first inspiration and how you started this process?

In my work, I want to reach not only the bodies of my audience, but also their fantasy and their playful side. My first idea for this residency came from my first performance MIND THE BODY. This was a physical journey of discovery in which I unraveled the connections within my body in a very playful manner. The playfulness was more of an undercurrent in this performance, while the main theme was the body. In this residency, I wanted to turn this around. I wanted to focus more on this ‘playing man’ and research the idea of the Homo Ludens. I turned to the De Nieuwe Oost Arnhem to research this idea, to play with this idea.

At which state in the creation process for Homo Ludens are you now? Is there something you discovered, or an insight that came to you during this residency that you’d like to share?

I am at the beginning of the beginning of the creation process. What I am showing this week is material from my very first week of research. I feel like in this week I discovered several different sides of playing, but that there is more to discover in each of them. I have this image of that I have been drilling in soil to find little springs of water which are now slowly connecting. But I need to do some more drilling, there is more to discover.

During the process, I noticed again how important playing is. Playfulness is a force of creation. Kids use it a lot, but as grown-ups we could benefit more from that. I think playfulness is actually really productive haha.

This residency you worked with Nick Deroo, but you two have worked together before? And what were the things you wanted to research in this residency for Homo Ludens?

Nick and I have a very nice cooperation, we understand each other’s head and body. For MIND THE BODY, I asked Nick to create together with me the final version of the performance. We both enjoyed working together, so now I asked him to join me already in my first research week for Homo Ludens. This helped me on focusing on playing and researching because I had an extra pair of eyes on the outside and he knows what I am looking for.

This residency for Homo Ludens was not very specific yet. The biggest question which came back again and again was of course: What is Play? We read for example how Johan Huizinga describes how Play is something which comes back in many different aspects in life and has some clear characteristics to it. But there is also this feeling that playing can give, a sort of playful creative energy. So, we are searching for what playing is for us, where can we find play and playfulness?

What are your future plans and dreams for Homo Ludens?

I would really like to do more research on this Playing Man and this state of playfulness. It feels as if I can spend a life-time researching this, but eventually I want to make a performance out of it which can be seen and experienced in theaters. I am very curious how we can explore more within all these different forms of playing we found and how they could be connected. With this performance, I want to celebrate Playing and the Playing Man and inspire people to cultivate this playful energy also in themselves.


from Thu 22nd until Wed 28th april a new video will appear online every day.
This content will be discussed all together on the last festival day: Thursday, April 29, at 19:00