Caecilia Thunnissen Amsterdam based stage director
“You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.”
- George Bernhard Shaw -
Positions
Artistic and managing Director

Since 2015

Stage Director

Since 2006

Dance dramaturge & Company Manager

2010 – 2012

Co-founder WannaPlayground

Since 2014

Stagings

December 2018

Tarantula and the dance of the animals - Saint Saëns

Stage director

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in coproduction with Oorkaan
Venue: Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam

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November 2018

Marching&Breakin'

Stage director

Opening Night of the International Tromp Percussion Eindhoven Festival

With percussion soloists Dominique Vleeshouwers, Martin Grubinger,
Breakdance Company The Ruggeds e.a.

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September 2018

Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher – Arthur Honegger

Stage director

With the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Conductor: Stéphane Denève
Soloists: Christine Goerke, Jean-Noël Briend, Steven Humes e.a.
Actors: Judit Chemla, Jean-Claude Drouot, Christian Gonon e.a.
Venue: Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam & De Doelen Rotterdam

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June 2018

Romeo & Juliette – Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy Overture

Stage director

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in coproduction with Oorkaan
Conductor: Gustavo Gimeno
Venue: Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam

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June 2017

Musical Catwalk with music from Ravel, Stravinski and Tchaikovsky

Stage director

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in coproduction with Oorkaan
Conductor: Daniele Gatti
Venue: Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam

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March 2017

Serenade - based on Dvorak's Serenade for Strings

Stage director

With the Dutch Chamber Orchestra in coproduction with Oorkaan
Venues: TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam

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December 2015

Lohengrin - Richard Wagner

Stage director

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Conductor: Sir Mark Elder
Soloists: Klaus Florian Vogt, Camilla Nylynd e.a.
Venue: Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam

Nomination “Opera of the Year 2015”

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May 2013

Der fliegende Holländer – Richard Wagner

Stage director

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Conductor: Andris Nelsons
Soloists: Anja Kampe, Terje Stensvold e.a.
Venue: Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam

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2010 – 2012

Dance Company Nanine Linning

Dramaturge

Dramaturgy of the following productions:

Madame Butterfly – Puccini / a dance-opera
Requiem – Faure / a multi disciplinary dance performance
Voice Over – a modern dance production (nominated for the Faust)

2009 – 2010

Der fliegende Holländer – Richard Wagner

Evening Director & Directors assistent to Martin Kusej

Dutch National Opera

Soloists:: Catherine Naglestad, Mary/Marina Prudenskaja e.a.

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2009

Adaptation of Mendelssohn’s Liedcycle Heimkehr aus der Fremde

Stage director

Utrecht Early Music Festival

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2008

Marco Polo – Tan Dun

Second Directors Assistant to Pierre Audi

Dutch National Opera

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Prizes and Nominations
Artistic Director Oorkaan

Winner YAMawards 2018 (Young Audience Music Awards) for ‘Best Production of the Year ‘ and ‘Best large ensemble’ – Skyggespill (6+) with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

Nomination ‘Amsterdam Price for the Arts 2017’ in the category “Best Achievement”

Since 2019 Caecilia has been selected for the ISPA Fellowship Program supported by Dutch Culture / Dutch Performing Arts

Stage Director

Viva 400 Creative 2018

Nomination “Opera of the Year 2015” for Lohengrin, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Dramaturge

Nomination for Der Faust 2012 for a choreography by Nanine Linning

Education

1999 – 2004

Stage direction & Acting
Theaterkade Amsterdam

1993 – 1998

Master of Arts in Theatre Science - University of Utrecht
Grades: Theater / Arts Administration and Management

LANGUAGE

Dutch (Native)
English (Professional working proficiency)
German (Professional working proficiency)
French (Elementary proficiency)

‘We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.’ This quote of George Bernhard Shaw inspires me to create new work and manage my company every day with curiosity, passion and joy. '

After completing her Master’s Degree in theatre science, Caecilia studied Stage directing and Acting at the Theaterkade in Amsterdam. Since 2003 she has been working as a freelance stage director and cultural entrepreneur in projects ranging from opera to modern dance, and from industrial design to films.

Creating craftsmanship

At De Nationale Opera, she assisted Pierre Audi with the opera ‘Marco Polo’ and Martin Kušej with ‘Der fliegende Holländer’. At VocaalLAB (now: Silbersee) she directed young, classical educated singers in modern music theatre repertoire in ‘Berlijn-Bagdad’ and trained them in physical performance.

Cultural entrepreneur

In 2008, Caecilia set up TIS Theater and created two innovative music productions. In ‘Jij verlaat mij voordat ik jou verlaat’ she murged Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’ and Schumann’s ‘Frauenliebe und –Leben’ into a moving music theatre performance. On stage: a singing mime player, a physical acting mezzo-soprano and acting musicians. The other TIS Theater production was a refined theatre adaptation of Mendelsohn’s ‘Heimkehr aus der Fremde’, performed by four singers and two acting pianists. It was mentioned as ‘the surprise of Festival Oude Muziek 2009’ by the Dutch journal NRC.


A few years later, she founded WannaPlayGround together with stage designer Jan Boiten. WannaPlayGround is an interactive platform for contemporary composers. A playground for adults, where music, light, landscape and audience come together.

Crossing borders

In 2010, her curiosity led Caecilia to Osnabrück, Germany, where she has been working for two years at Dance Company Nanine Linning. With Linning she created the dance opera ‘Madama Butterfly’ (Pucini) and the successful multi-disciplinary dance production ‘Requiem’ based on the work of Fauré. ‘Voice Over’, her last production as a dramaturg at Nanine Linning, was nominated for ‘Der Faust 2012’, Germany’s most important theatre award.

Passionate stage director

Back in Holland, Caecilia works as a stage director with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on a regularly basis. In 2013 she created the semi-staged version of Wagner’s ‘Der fliegende Holländer’, followed up by ‘Lohengrin’. Lohengrin was nominated for the "Opera of the Year 2015" by Opera Magazine. In 2018 she directed Honegger’s ‘Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher’- that was praised by press and public.

Artistic and managing director at Oorkaan

Since 2015 she is the artistic and managing director of Oorkaan, an Amsterdam based company that creates music productions for young audiences. In this position she combines a lot of her talents: her craftsmanship as a stage director, her talent for cultural cooperation and her heart for universal classical music and physical performance.

And of course, to keep up with young audiences, you have to stay curious and keep on playing – don’t grow old!

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