Gerardjan Rijnders was born in Delft in 1949. He studied law at the University of Amsterdam and directing at the Amsterdam Theatre School. In 1975 he made his debut as director and also began to write. In 1977 Rijnders became artistic director of the Zuidelijk Toneel Globe, where he staged his own pieces, alongside work by Molière, Shepard, Achternbusch, Norén and the Dutch author Karst Woudstra.
In 1985 he left the group, did his first piece of television direction and was invited to Germany as a guest director. Between 1987 and 2001 Rijnders has been artistic leader, director and playwright for the Netherlands largest theatre company Toneelgroep Amsterdam. He also continues to act and to direct productions for television and the international stage.
In1996 he wrote and staged Moffenblues for the Deutsches Theater in Berlin followed in 1998 by Penthesileia and in January 1998 he staged Mahlstroom for Schauspiel Bonn in Germany.
Gerardjan Rijnders is considered to be one of the most important dramatic artists and directors in the Netherlands. His work has been performed in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, America, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Russia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia and Greece. 'Beroerd' and 'Tragedie' have been translated into Spanish.
Television plays an important role in his work. Characters discuss what they have been watching, or often sit glued to the TV set. The characters who populate Rijnders work seem to have a boundless appetite for living out their perversities. The only norms which are clung to are the narrow-minded bourgeois codes of behaviour which Rijnders unmasks as superficiality.
Rijnders writes in a language which seems to come from all over the place: newspaper reports, snatches of speech overheard on the street, mumbled sentences from the waiting room, cliches from the television, the hollow words of the politician. These are words, sentences and fragmentary phrases which collide with one another, often without any direct logical link.
Rijnders about his work: ‘the idea of “the contents of a play” is like the idea of “character”: a random ordering of a number of reaction patterns. One note evokes the next; a melody is given its counterpoint. The sound and colour of the words are more important than their meaning; the wit is more revealing than the meaning.’
Since January 2001, Gerardjan Rijnders has worked with companies as Het Toneelhuis, Toneelgroep Amsterdam and ZT Hollandia.
Texts available in English
Answer Me (2010)
Black Hole (Pick -up, 1986)
Buff (Liefhebber, 1992)
Cancer (Kanker, 1996)
Theater Instituut Nederland
(Dutch Institute of Theatre)