Destinations Magazine

Traveling Theater Festival De Parade Comes to Town Again

By Amsterdam City Tours
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Since the Middle Ages, young and old alike have enjoyed entertainment provided by traveling performers. Though these days one can find the occasional circus or fair, outdoor traveling shows are seen with much less frequency.

Luckily, there is de Parade.

In the Middle Ages, actors at annual fairs would stand on a stage outside their tents and present vignettes and parts of their acts for free to passersby in the hopes of drawing people into their tents for the main event – after purchasing tickets, of course. These theatrical samples presented by the bonisseurs (showmen) were referred to as “holding a parade,� hence the name de Parade.

Based on the international traveling theater festival Boulevard of Broken Dreams which toured from 1984 to 1987, de Parade has been touring theNetherlandsand abroad for sixteen years. The organization responsible for the event is Mobile Arts, which specializes in “developing and producing mobile concepts that can be used for any imaginable cultural event.�

The festival in the Netherlands is setting up camp in Amsterdam at the Martin Luther Kingpark from August 10-26. Previous engagements include Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht.

Visitors should be prepared for a smorgasbord of entertaining offerings including: theater, music and dance performances; magic, art, film and other attractions; food and drink; and a smattering of small-scale games and rides. There is even a tent with a real flowing water fountain on its roof. The best thing about de Parade is that you do not have to see any of the attractions in order to enjoy your time there. In fact, many visitors attend simply to socialize and people-watch, enjoying their surroundings and company.

A mere €7 will get an adult between the ages of twelve to sixty-four onto the grounds. Tickets can be purchased online or at the service kiosk at the entrance gate.  This price does not include theater tickets, which must be purchased individually per show. It is advised to order tickets in advance as the theater performances sell out very quickly. A list of performances and times can be found at Shows are repeated several times each evening and can last anywhere from three minutes to an hour.

Image credits: Top photo - © Eric van 't Hof; Bottom photo - © Rob de Ruijter*

*Both images are press photos used with permission from the Mobile Arts group

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