About Sering Mission statement

Sering weaves people into the world.

Mia liftend
As happens so often, Sering grew out of a dream. The dream of an actress who, after 21 years on the stage, felt the need to work amidst people, away from the isolation of the theatre. She wanted to build an organisation where people, disregarding age, origin or financial situation, could work together at their own productions with professional stage artists.

Quite rapidly, she got support from colleagues, actors, costume designers, set designers. They all wanted to help and make a first performance become a reality. In the spring of 1995, the actress visited Eric Antonis, culture alderman of the City of Antwerp. He wanted to give the project a chance and provided financial backing within the framework of the ‘Summer of Antwerp’. Michel Morantin, co-ordinator at the City Theatre gave her shelter: an office, a computer, a phone line and a space for rehearsals.

Announcements in the program overview of ‘Summer of Antwerp’ led to an influx of participants. In December 1995, after nine months of hard work, and with the help of a battalion of volunteers, of different theatres and art schools and with declarations of support from the entire political spectrum, ‘Sering en Vlag’ (Lilac and Flag) had its first night at the Bourla Theatre. Homeless people, victims of human trafficking, psychiatry patients, refugees, families in poverty, kids, elderly people, different cultural communities, about all Antwerp has to offer in the way of diversity, stood together brotherly and sisterly on the same stage.

50 players, from 7 tot 72 years old, staged, together with a number of professional actors, the story of rootless people in a big city. The doubts from the welfare sector and from the theatre world about the feasibility of the project were levelled out by the enthusiasm of the players. One thing was made very clear at that moment: this could not remain a one off event. But how to continue?

There was no public funding available for this kind of activity. Sering works ‘across competences’ and thus doesn’t fit in anywhere. Even literally: the space in the City Theatre wasn’t available any more. Nevertheless, the organisation was asked from several quarters not to give up. The City of Antwerp put a building at Sering’s disposal in the summer of 1996. It would become quite a job to make this old garage at Groeningerplein accessible for the public, but the organisers were happy with everything that was thrown at them they were offered: discarded office furniture, computers, gas stoves, kitchen stools, floor tiles… During those first years, every gift was invaluable in order to be able to continue working. Thanks to different project subsidies, the organisation could more or less survive. Thus the dream evolved… with drawbacks and slowly… into the artistic meeting place that eventually was the idea it all started about. There was a constant lack of funds. It was Bert Anciaux who launched a major breakthrough when he was installed as Minister of Culture in the Flemish Government, by implementing a regulation that would make financial aid available. Since January 2000 Sering is, along some other organisations, recognised as a social and artistic project. Social-artistic work is developing rapidly ever since. The social-artistic work has been integrated in 2006 within the framework of the new decree on stage arts in Flanders.

We want you!
Sering is also all of her participants and volunteers. Would you like to participate in our next project? Get in touch now through info@sering.be.
Or would you like to help us out and volunteer? Find out more about the different tasks our volunteers take on and contact us through info@sering.be.