About Hotel Modern

This season

The people behind Hotel Modern

Trophy Cabinet


Reactions from visitors


About Hotel Modern

Hotel Modern blends visual art, puppetry, music, film and performance in expressive theatre productions. The group’s visual language is rich and playful. Scale models play an important role in their work, allowing Hotel Modern to view the world literally from a macro perspective. The horror of war is a frequently recurring theme in the group’s work: Kamp is a theatrical portrait of Auschwitz, while The Great War depicts the First World War as seen through the eyes of the soldiers. In Our Empire, the company turns its gaze to the early years of the colonisation of the Dutch East-Indies.

Hotel Modern also make absurdist, lighter-hearted work, such as Shrimp Tales, which is a high-spirited portrayal of humanity in which 350 real, dried shrimps play the roles of people. Seaplane Mothership explores the vulnerability of art and in Rococo dancing bears answer the question of what happens when lust and unrestrained curiosity get free rein. In Banana and Oyster Knife the group discovers what connects cauliflowers, skulls and bath sponges. Once created, the productions remain on the company’s repertoire and are available for touring.

Hotel Modern’s first production for a larger venue dates from 2013: The Ring, an adaptation of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen”, a co-production with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble. In 2019, The Netherlands Wind Ensemble invited the company for a spectaculair and imaginative fusion of dance, music and filmed images in John Adams’ Symmetries. In 2017, stage director Lotte de Beer invited Hotel Modern to contribute to her production of Rossini’s opera Moses in Egypt, an opera version of the biblical tale of the Exodus. The production was staged at the Bregenz Festival in Austria and, in 2018, at Opera Cologne in Germany.

The members of Hotel Modern are idealistic in the sense that they believe that theatre can foster a sense of reconciliation. They seek to offer solace in a world where people are sometimes afraid of one another. The group achieves this not by presenting a rose-tinted vision of the world, but by formulating a refined, confronting and poetic interpretation of reality.   

Hotel Modern was founded in 1997. Its members are the actors Arlène Hoornweg and Pauline Kalker, and visual artist and performer Herman Helle. The composers Arthur Sauer and Ruud van der Pluijm often collaborate with the group. The company has won many awards, including the Erik Vos Award, the European Prix de Coppet, the VSCD Mime Award and the Wim Meilink Award for their entire body of work. Hotel Modern is based in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It tours all over the world and performed from Paris to Milan and from New York to Tokyo.

This season

In the upcoming 2021-2022 season we will play Our Empire in various theaters in the Netherlands and in our home base Theater Rotterdam. Also to be seen after the summer: Peter Peper, Hotel Modern’s very first children’s performance, which we created in collaboration with the young theater group IJsbeerINC. In the months of April and May 2022 our gripping performance Kamp will be staged again on May 4 in Theater Rotterdam. An exciting foreign musical adventure awaits us in the spring of 2022. The preparations are in full swing; but we’ll keep the details a secret for a little while longer.

As soon as ticket sales are announced at the tour theaters, we will post the performance dates on our website.

The people behind Hotel Modern

Through the years, Hotel Modern collaborated with many artists and other employees.

Artistic leaders
Herman Helle
Arlène Hoornweg
Pauline Kalker

Annie Boekestijn
Gerda Roest
Tineke Verheij

Maaike Bleeker
Justa de Hoop
Doke Romeijn
Neil Wallace

Ruud van der Pluijm
Arthur Sauer

Guest actors
Maartje van den Brink
Anouk Driessen
Jorn Heijdenrijk
Anil Jagdewsing
Trudi Klever
Laura Mentink
Menno Vroon

Stage assistants
Kirsten Hutschemakers
Ineke Kruizinga
Mirijam Neve
Heleen Wiemer

Erwin van den Broek
Maarten van Dorp
André Goos
Joost ten Hagen
Ruud Lamers
Alfred van der Meulen
Joris van Oosterhout
Jorg Schellekens
Bas Standaar
Edwin van Steenbergen
Aram Visser
Youri Wezenaar

Production assistants
Andrea van Bussel
Marijke de Ruyter
and others

Visual artists
Carolien Adriaansche
Marsha Agerbeek
Cathrin Boer
Geerten ten Bosch
Juliet Campfens
Florus Groenewegen
Stefan Gross
Mark Hosking
Kirsten Hutschemakers
Jeroen Kuster
Wilco Kwerreveld
Marleen van der Lecq
Mirijam Neve
Brigid Noone
Harriët van Reek
Jozef van Rossum
Annette Scheer
Charlotte Schleiffert
Simon Schrikker
Marlies Schroder
Henk Spronk
Dirk Vroemen
Heleen Wiemer
Marije de Wit
Barbara Witteveen

Joost van den Broek
Bas Czerwinski
Herman Helle
Arwen Linneman
Pauline Kalker
Ralph Prins
Leo van Velzen

Jaco Kruidenier
Daniel Oliveira Prins

Graphic design
Maarten Evenhuis
Sibe Kokke
Ralph Prins
Luis Xertu

Tijs Bakker
Steve Green
Daniel Oliveira Prins

Coproductions and collaborations
Bregenzer Festspiele
Nederlands Blazers Ensemble
Oper Köln
IJsbeer INC.

Former board members
Eliane Attinger
Noël Fischer
Erik Gelsema
Heleen Hameete
Nan van Houte
Sabine Mulder
Mark Oskam
Peter de Winter

Performing Arts Fund NL
Municipality of Rotterdam

Trophy Cabinet

2019 Wim Meilink Award for the entire body of work

2011 VSCD Mime Award for Seaplane Mothership

2008 Rococo selected for the Dutch and Flemish Theater Festival

2002 European Prix de Coppet for young European artists distinguished by the originality and diversity of their work

2002 Nomination VSCD Mime Ward for Snail Trails

2002 Erik Vos Award for promising talent in theater

2001 Audience Award Festival aan de Werf for The Great War

2001 CJP Young Audiences Trophy for The Great War

2001 The Great War selected for the Dutch and Flemish Theater Festival

2001 Nomination VSCD Mime Award for The Great War

1999 Incentive Prize Amsterdam Art Fund for City Now


With great pleasure, Hotel Modern welcomes young people to the performances.

Secondary Education: HAVO/VWO/MBO
In general, we find our performances suitable for havo/vwo students from 16 years on. But well-informed slightly younger havo/vwo or mbo students are also welcome. We could help enhance their theater experience with:
– a preparatory lesson or active workshop in the classroom
– an introduction in the theater prior to the performance
– a folder with articles and reviews on the various productions

Hotel Modern has extensive experience with students, who are often very enthusiastic about our form of theater.
– if the touring schedules allow it, the company members enjoy providing guest lectures at universities and colleges
– in the afternoon of an evening performance, groups of students are welcome in the touring theaters for an introduction on our work

After the performance ends, young people together with the other spectators are invited on stage to see the set from up close and ask questions in an informal way. Photos and selfies allowed!

Any wishes?
Do you have a specific education idea or wish? We would love to help you and look in to the possibilities. Please, do not hesitate to contact:

Gerda Roest, publicity, bookings and education coordination
Voorhaven 21 – 3025 HC Rotterdam – The Netherlands
Land line ++31 (0)10 425 95 88
Cell ++31 (0)6 10 09 61 31

Reactions from visitors

Kamp, Los Angeles 24 September 2018
The performance was powerful. How does one find a new language to speak about the Holocaust? This is what, it seems to me, that the creators of this piece were looking for, and found. We, the audience, were totally absorbed through the hour-long production. Afterwards, we could go up on stage to view the set and talk with the creators, but many of us, myself included, first remained in our seats for several minutes. One of the creators spoke about her grandfather, who died at Auschwitz. A young woman from the audience spoke about the frightening parallels to the dehumanization of other human beings that happens today. Later, getting back in my car and driving out into the city night: I still felt as if I were a bit in some alternate space — how could the two realities be true, what we had just witnessed, and this “normal” city night? I was glad to be with a friend, and we came back to my apartment and talked for a long while about it all. Many many thanks again.

Kamp, Toronto 16 April 2017
I attended Kamp on Friday night. I was the one sitting in the front who asked Pauline the question about how her personal emotional relationship to the material evolved over years of performances. […] As you can imagine, the performance was exceptional moving and affective. Thank you so much for the creation and endurance to continue to perform something so physically and mentally demanding that is also extremely intelligent, poetic and sensitive. From sound design to the scope and choices of construction material, the piece is a marvel of design, cinematography and theatre. From the bottom of my heart, as a grandchild of survivors, I can’t thank you enough.