WHAT YOU SEE OPENING NIGHT | ARIAH LESTER, Gavin-Viano, Sue-Ann Bel, Silvia Gribaudi

On this What You See Opening Night, four artists each in their own way search for connection, take you into their world and thus mark the fourth edition of What You See Festival.

The evening opens in the foyer with Ayahuasca (Rope of Spirits). As drag queen, countertenor ARIAH LESTER shares his quest for identity and makes you think about your own unanswered questions. Then the theatre awaits us. In the musical monologue Able to fuck love, Gavin-Viano makes an attempt to understand his perception of sex and love. Vulnerable and personal, and at the same time critical of our world full of exoticism. In Peso Piuma, the Italian Silvia Gribaudi gives her interpretation of the traditional ‘dying swan’. With her whole being, she seeks intimacy and creates a swan that is both light and powerful. In LEB NNA-EUS, Sue-Ann Bel seeks both the beast and the man and the diva within herself: “As hard as I can, As long as I can, As much as I can, As black as I am.” – Grace Jones

Ayahuasca (Rope of Spirits) / maker & performer: ARIAH LESTER | production: Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam
Able to fuck love / performer: Gavin-Viano | pianist: Joachim Henriëtta | componist: Gavin-Viano & Joachim Henriëtta | arrangeur: Ilja Reingoud | violinists: Eurasia Quartet, Asia Czaj, Stanislav Degtyarev, Ekaterina Degtiareva, Eglė Kaunietytė, Paloma Ortas | sound design: Tobias Stolk| production management: Jostha Delima | thanks to: SENA, Fonds Podiumkunsten en Stichting TRC Promotion

Peso Piuma / maker & performer: Silvia Gribaudi | part of the project Swans Never Die
LEB NNA-EUS / maker & performer: Sue-Ann Bel | production: Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam

It is the unashamed surrender to romance that makes Able to fuck love so special. His vulnerable quest for romance is touching.

Marijn Lems on Theaterkrant.nl

The Netherlands / Italy / Venezuela

Thu 18 Nov
105 min

Theater Kikker

Wage Gap -14%*16,77
Student / CJP / -18 / U-pas10,-
* In the Netherlands, women earn on average 14% less than men. Transgender and non-binary people, people of colour and people with disabilities often have less chance on the labour market. Are you missing out on income because of who you are? Then buy a Wage Gap Ticket and get 14% discount on the regular rate.

IemeWHAT YOU SEE OPENING NIGHT | ARIAH LESTER, Gavin-Viano, Sue-Ann Bel, Silvia Gribaudi

SOFT VXNXS | Goldendean (Dean Hutton)

In the monumental hall of the Neude Library, Soft Vxnxs is waiting for you. To be touched and embraced. As a “Fat Queer White Trans body” in the context of South Africa, artist Dean Hutton questions who or what is entitled to take up space. In doing so, they address the personal and political of hypervisibility: being visible (as a fat, queer, trans body) and invisible, unimportant at the same time (as a fat, queer, trans body). Their Tenderqueer sculptures are called soft-radicals by Hutton. They are round, soft, flexible and inviting. Our society expects fat and messy bodies to turn up traumatized and out of breath and never cheerful, horny, or beaming with a political speech. Soft Vxnxs creates comfort and space for vulnerability. Share your experience with this comfort object! #softvxnxs #goldendean #softradicals #whatyouseefestival

by: Dean Hutton | production: ‘t Hem | photo: Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk

Language no problem

Sat 13 Nov –
Fri 19 Nov
09:00 – 21:00, Sunday 10:00 – 18:00

Bibliotheek Utrecht – Neude

IemeSOFT VXNXS | Goldendean (Dean Hutton)

HAIRY | Senna Pauli & Eva Arends (world premiere)

Body hair is often seen as dirty or unnatural. Especially for cis-women or people with a feminine gender expression. In a shop window in the city centre, where mannequins normally appear clean-shaven, you come across a living mannequin that does not comply with the norm. Seated in the ultimate 1950s dressing room, complete with all the necessary beauty products for a desirable appearance, a woman gets ready. She combs her hair. With HAIRY, writer and performer Senna Pauli and designer Eva Arends question the prevailing gender norm and search for beauty in the extreme. 

Additionally to the installation, the online photo exhibition ARE YOU HAIRY, JUST LIKE US can be seen on the website and at Theater Kikker during the festival.

concept: Senna Pauli & Eva Arends | performance: Senna Pauli | design, costume and hairstyling: Eva Arends | technical advice: Gibson Houwer | artistic advise: Bianca van der Schoot | in coproduction with: What You See Festival | thanks to: Pilo Pilkes, Charlotte Brand, Municipality of Utrecht, and all participants of ARE YOU HAIRY JUST LIKE US | image: Charlotte Brand

The Netherlands
Language no problem

Thu 18 Nov – Sun 21 Nov
16:00 – 17:00 / 18:30 – 19:30

Steenweg 38, Utrecht


IemeHAIRY | Senna Pauli & Eva Arends (world premiere)

EXPANDED SCENOGRAPHY | Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht

For the third time in a row What You See cooperates with students from the HKU. Nine students of Theatre Design, Graphic Design and Fashion Design explored the festival theme (un)Touchable Bodies and show no less than nine individual works during What You See. From personal fascinations, questions and anecdotes, they created a range of installations, performances and visual work with subjects varying from male-female relationships, self-reflection and intimacy, to fear, abuse and shame. With their work, the students challenge existing norms, break taboos and expose unconscious thought patterns and behavior. Keep your ears and eyes open, because at any moment you may come across such an activist gem.

18 – 21 Nov | ongoing, during opening times

Would you like to live in my Tuscan village? | Pascalle van Gurp (installation)
A representation of the duality of intimacy. When is access to your body taken and when do you release it? Monster vaginas vs Tuscan villages.

Sat 20 Nov | ongoing, 15:00 – 18:00

IEK | Vita de Pater (installation)

studio 1
The moment feeling is expressed it loses its value. IEK is an investigation into the experience of fear, both the burden and the power.

The weight of shame | Gabrielle Swart (performance)
A brand in your memory, a convulsion in your body, a weight on your shoulders. An interactive performance about the search for connection in a world full of judgments and assumptions.

The dearest thing I want to be | Madelief Kok (installation)
studio 2
I confront myself with the hard truth. Because losing yourself in this world can be done so silently that you don’t even realise it.

Sun 21 Nov | ongoing, 19:00 – 22:00

I am, you are, we look | Tina Helm (performance)
Whether you call it nature or nurture is up to you, but the fact remains that we, humans, see and judge. This performance questions the looks you receive as a young woman.

A Piece of Inclusion | Jasmijn Piek (installation)
Here you buy clothes with labels you would rather not be associated with. In doing so, you represent the people who are missed in our community. An attempt by the creator to achieve the diversity and inclusiveness that we in the community so long for.


This is not for you | Floren Bloch (installation)
18 – 21 Nov
A handicraft collection for the men I have nothing to do with. A public installation about the sexualisation of female-female relations. A reflection on how negative comments and interactions from the public space can seep into one’s private life and influence the experience of one’s orientation and identity.

I want you to be | Sofie Smits (installation)
18 – 21 Nov
I want you to be, you to think, you to be more aware.

Come a little closer | Ilse van Broekhoven (performance)
Predikherenstraat 32, 19 – 21 Nov, ongoing between 14:00 and 17:00 tbc
A combination of visual work and performance that welcomes you into the world of intimacy and togetherness.

by and with : Floren Bloch, Ilse van Broekhoven, Pascalle van Gurp, Tina van der Helm, Vita de Pater, Jasmijn Piek, Sofie Smits (Theatre Design), Madelief Kok (Graphic Design) en Gabrielle Swart (Fashion Design) | in collaboratie with: Het Nieuwe Instituut | support: Vincent Wijlhuizen | coaches HKU: Joost van Wijmen, Sanne Leufkens, Anne de Veij | image: Madelief Kok

The Netherlands

Thu 18 Nov – Sun 21 Nov
various times

Theater Kikker, Het Huis Utrecht, Stadsschouwburg Utrecht | in the city


IemeEXPANDED SCENOGRAPHY | Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht


Queering the City of Literature is an initiative of Savannah Bay, which lets you look at your familiar city with different, queer eyes. In June, authors Chris Lomans, Anne Chris van Doesburg and Edna Azulay hung their texts, written especially for this project, on locations in Utrecht that have a personal meaning to them. These routes will return during What You See Festival 2021 and can be walked for free at any time of the day. So check out the routes below and stroll through the city!

Queer the city Utrecht yourself with these route maps designed by Rowena Buur. Or follow the routes by the Google Map links below. You can also listen to the authors’ readings on our podcast Radio Savannah while you walk.

Anne Chris van Doesberg: check the route and listen listen to the reading.
Chris Lomans: check the route en listen to the reading.
Edna Azulay: bekijk the route en listen to the reading.

Can’t get enough? Come to Queering the City of Literature on Saturday 20 November!

Queering the City is an annual project of Savannah Bay | authors 2021: Chris Lomans, Anne Chris van Doesburg and Edna Azulay | photo: Tessa de Geus

The Netherlands

Thu 18 Nov – Sun 21 Nov


In the city


WHERE WE DID IT E.A | Jonnah Bron

In the work of photographer and filmmaker Jonnah Bron sexuality and intimacy are captured in images. In doing so, she paints a more honest, real and inclusive picture of (female) love and the erotic between two people. During and after What You See Festival, part of the exhibition ‘Where We Did It’ can be seen in the foyer, revealing traces of the intimacy of the night. This exhibition is complemented by photographs of her and her lover. One of the works will also be hanging in Kikker permanently!

by: Jonnah Bron

In bed we tell stories with each other’s bodies.

Jonnah Bron

The Netherlands
Language no problem

Thu 18 Nov – Fri 17 Dec
ongoing, during opening hours


Theater Kikker

IemeWHERE WE DID IT E.A | Jonnah Bron

ARE YOU HAIRY JUST LIKE US | Senna Pauli & Eva Arends

Senna Pauli and Eva Arends, creators of the performance installation HAIRY, are on the look out for people with armpit hair. And they like to take pictures of them and thus question the prevailing gender norms. With the project ARE YOU HAIRY JUST LIKE US they contribute to the visibility of armpit hair and the lived experiences that come with wearing it openly. The photos will be shown during What You See Festival at Theater Kikker and here online. ARE YOU HAIRY JUST LIKE US will continue after the festival. They are always looking for people who like to be photographed together with their armpit hair! So sign up via: sennapauli@gmail.com

Concept: Senna Pauli & Eva Arends | in coproduction with: What You See Festival | with thanks to: Pilo Pilkes, Charlotte Brand, Municipality of Utrecht, and all participants of ARE YOU HAIRY JUST LIKE US | image: Eva Arends

The Netherlands
Language no problem

Thu 18 Nov – Sun 21 Nov
During opening times / Online

Online & Theater Kikker


IemeARE YOU HAIRY JUST LIKE US | Senna Pauli & Eva Arends


For Queering the City of Literature 2020 authors Ayden Carlo, Kalib Batta, Roelof ten Napel and Welmoed Jonas wrote brand new texts about queer bodies and the city. Through queer literature they give you a whole new experience of Utrecht.

These texts were bundled in the publication Zine and on 19 November bookstore Savannah Bay presented it festively during What You See. The audience not only heard the work of these literary superstars, there was also music by Kopje Onder, designer Yasmin Katlich shared Zine’s design process and writer Anne Chris van Doesburg revealed a tip of the veil of QtCoL 2021. All audience members were given the publication to take home with them!

This event was also streamed live.

It was also possible to follow the foot steps of the writers and read their texts in a set out walking route. Here, you can find more info.


by: Savannah Bay | with: Kalib Batta, Roelof ten Napel, Ayden Carlo, Welmoed Jonas, Anne Chris van Doesburg and Kopje Onder | design Zine: Yasmin Katlich | photo: Kris van der Voorn

Language: Dutch

Thu 19 Nov
75 min

Theater Kikker
Grote zaal

Price includes Zine!


I CAN BE WHOEVER IS THERE | Erik Alkema & Eveline van de Putte

The exhibition Ik mag zijn wie er is (I can be whoever is there) shows portraits of elderly trans gender people. They were pioneers who discovered their feelings at a time when there were hardly any examples and role models. In the project Elderly Trans Genders, visual artist, film and theatre maker Erik Alkema and storyteller and writer Eveline van de Putte recorded their  stories in a series of film portraits. Eveline van de Putte also published a book about them. This video exhibition about their insecurities, desires and courage will be on view in the Library of Utrecht (Neude) for a month from 19 November.

made by: Erik Alkema & Eveline van de Putte | with: Hanna, Jacqueline & Gonnie, Angela, Niek & Betty, Sofie | thanks to: Utrecht Library

The Eldery Trans Gender Project is a collaboration between the Empowerment Foundation and SEENIK and is supported by Roze50+, ANBO, AFK, IHLIA en COC The Netherlands.

The Netherlands
Language: Dutch
(English subtitles)

Thu 19 Nov – Wed 16 Dec

Opening times:
Mo – Sat: 9:00h – 21:00h
Sun: 10:00h – 18:00h

Library Neude (Utrecht)


IemeI CAN BE WHOEVER IS THERE | Erik Alkema & Eveline van de Putte


Queering the City of Literature is an initiative of Savannah Bay, and allows you to experience your familiar city with different, queer eyes. In June, authors Kalib Batta, Ayden Carlo, Welmoed Jonas and Roelof ten Napel hung their specially written texts in places in Utrecht that have a personal meaning for them. These routes will return during What You See Festival 2020 and can be walked at any moment of the day for free.

Interested in more background information? Then buy a 1 euro ticket and come to one of the four introductions to the project!

Queering the City is a yearly event initiated by Savannah Bay | authors 2020: Welmoed Jonas, Roelof ten Napel, Ayden Carlo en Kalib Batta


The Netherlands
Language: Dutch

Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun
15 min

Theater Kikker