Two versions of stage play Mindlab: online and offline

Mindlab, a stage play focusing on various topical themes within the university is coming to TU/e. The production, due to be performed soon on the campus, has been given a new 'venue'. The production by TheaterMakers Radio Kootwijk (TMRK) has now been split into two sessions. At the end of February the play can be seen online, physical performances will follow in July. “Energy is also generated online.”

photo Bart Verhoeven

Created by TMRK in cooperation with University of Twente and Utrecht University, Mindlab is a play designed to bring about a culture change in the academic world. As it is elsewhere, the play is now being used at TU/e to initiate a discussion on themes like social safety, academic integrity and leadership.

Precisely because the dialogue surrounding the play is so important, the decision to take performances online has not been easy, explain Sandra van Dongen and Corlien van Dam of Human Resource Management, the TU/e department coordinating Mindlab. “I think everyone agrees that a play is best experienced live,” says Van Dongen. With corona measures in place, live performances in February simply weren't an option.


But the coordinators knew that plenty of people were keen to work with the production in the short term. This helped tip the balance in favor of adding online to the mix. Even though it would be preferable to be able to look each other in the eye during discussions, they knew that an online version could stir up plenty of debate.

“In December we got a group of the university's ambassadors to watch the play digitally,” relates Van Dongen. “We saw for ourselves that a lot of energy was sparked even though the performance was online. It got people talking and really started something. It may not have been exactly the situation we were aiming for, but things were moving.” This same group of people were invited to help decide whether the play should also be shown online. “Their views clinched it.”

Breakout rooms

To encourage conversation after the performance, breakout rooms will be available, for up to five people at a time. “We'll give the group a menu of questions to help bring some shape to the discussion,” says Van Dongen.

Having discussion take place at all, she feels, is the most important thing. “A play like this is a nice way to get that started. It's great that we offer people who are waiting something online now and also the prospect of a live performance in July. It's been quite a challenge getting all this organized, what with TMRK's busy schedule and the availability of the Blauwe Zaal. We are pleased that in spite of all the hurdles it has been possible to get all this arranged this academic year.”

The online performances can be seen on February 24 and 25. Sign up via the TU/e website.  The online version of the stage play is in Dutch with English subtitles, the performance on campus will also be surtitled in English.

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