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© Sarah Vanhee


Sarah Vanhee

In this ode to matriarchal relationships, Sarah Vanhee stages an intimate conversation, both necessary and celebratory, to liberate our grandmothers from the burden of invisible toil.


The Ties That Bind

An endless cycle of giving birth, nursing and feeding the children, plowing the land, praying… That was life for many of our grandmothers, toiling as invisible labourers until their bodies were worn out. To liberate them from this burden, Belgian writer and performer Sarah Vanhee summons the spirits of her maternal ancestors for a final encounter: an intimate conversation that’s both necessary and celebratory.

Ghosts appear where there is suffering that needs to be heard and named. Alone on a stage inhabited by voices, Vanhee is joined by spectral apparitions, shadow images, and the words of children, imagined in collaboration with puppeteer Toztli Abril de Dios and sound artist Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti. Linking the female body, the domestic world, and her ancestral land, the play is an ode to matriarchal relationships. Mémé—which sounds like m’aimer (“to love me”) when spoken aloud—also gently encourages us to rediscover our capacity to care for others as for ourselves.


Produced by CAMPO
Conceived, written and performed by Sarah Vanhee
Objects and Set Design Toztli Abril de Dios
Sound Design Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti
Outside Eye Christine de Smedt
Technique Babette Poncelet + Geeraard Respeel
On screen Leander Polzer Vanhee
With the collaboration of Family Vanhee-Deseure

Co-produced by Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels) + Kaaitheater (Brussels) + Wiener Festwochen (Vienna) + BUDA (Kortrijk) + HAU (Berlin) + De Grote Post (Oostende) + Théâtre de la Bastille (Paris) + Festival d’Automne à Paris + Perpodium with the support of the taxshelter of the Belgian Federal Government via uFund
Residencies KWP Kunstenwerkplaats (Bruxelles Brussels), Kaaitheater (Brussels) + BUDA (Kortrijk)

Dedicated to Denise Desaever + Margaretha Ghyselen

Presented in association with Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui

Premiered at Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels, on May 12, 2022

Written by Myriam Stéphanie Perraton-Lambert
Translated by David Dalgleish


© Phile Deprez

Sarah Vanhee (Brussels)

Each project undertaken by Sarah Vanhee generates disruptive spaces that upset the established order, expand the horizons of artistic disciplines, and enable improbable encounters. She is an artist of relationships in all senses, always focusing attention on that which history does not show us and on voices that have not been heard.

Full biography