Although small in size, this village has achieved local fame thanks to Radio Bergeijk, Weverij De Ploeg (weaving mill), the beautiful bus stop designed by Gerrit Rietveld, and Theater De Kattendans. Diederendirrix was tasked with restructuring and upgrading this characteristic theatre and community centre.
Offering a stage to perform try-outs, De Kattendans attracts famous artists such as Theo Maassen, Jett Rebel, Ellen ten Damme, Guido Weijers, and Ronald Goedemondt, who have all performed here on more than one occasion. Architect Peer Bedaux designed the building in the early 1990s, drawing inspiration from De Stijl (The Style) art movement for which Bergeijk is known. This is the village where Gerrit Rietveld designed the renowned Weverij De Ploeg, renovated by diederendirrix in 2020. In consultation with the original architect, our agency designed the restructuring of De Kattendans. There were myriad points to tackle: the current theatre is unable to accommodate the huge rise in visitor numbers; the building layout is illogical; the indoor climate needs to be improved, and the outdated interior and exterior are both due for a facelift.
Retaining the characteristic surfaces and lines of De Stijl, diederendirrix gives the building a reinvigorated and more spacious appearance by adding a number of new spaces to the stacked blocks without disturbing the overall balance. The crumbling layer of plaster on the façade will be replaced by white, undulating steel profiles, in keeping with the sculptural aesthetic. Subtle shadow effects are created by using different perforations and amplitudes – for example, you won’t see the windows behind the perforated façade until it gets dark outside and the interior light is on. The façade cladding is draped over the building like a curtain, subtly referencing the fabrics that were once made at Weverij De Ploeg. Despite the expansion, the building will look lighter than before.
Art and folklore
The entrance will be given a more prominent appearance; the passage itself will be bigger with a striking canopy that creates an inviting atmosphere. Upon entering, visitors will enjoy a much more spacious, upgraded foyer. The central staircase will be relocated, and the space at the rear will be enlarged in order to enhance its connection to the park behind the building. The foyer is the lively heart of the building, where artists, audiences, and local residents can come together and order a drink at the bar. As such, avant-garde meets village life: art and folklore go hand in hand. The design aims to capture Bergeijk’s social diversity with a warm, welcoming interior enriched by art.
The auditorium will be expanded within the current contours and feature a new dispatch area to supply and remove goods behind the auditorium. Using a smart intervention, a circuit will be created backstage, so that decors, instruments, and props no longer have to be carried across the stage. To ensure that the renovated Kattendans is even more alluring not just to theatre-goers but also the performers, the artists’ dressing rooms will also be expanded and upgraded.
The new wing will house various spaces for neighbourhood activities, including a small hall with a bar for local performances, rehearsals, and parties. Village associations will have a place to come together and rehearse or practise – from the local harmony orchestra, to the dance club, or gymnastics for the elderly. The first floor will feature a new hall that is dedicated to movement-based art, gymnastics, and dance. This is also where new areas for storage and technology are created. Sustainable installations are neatly concealed on the roof, so as to preserve even the finest details of the the interplay of surfaces and lines. All in all, De Kattendans is benefiting from a stylish upgrade that pays tribute to its history.