Mezrab is run by:
Sahand Sahebdivani and Karl Giesriegl are the creative directors.
Irina Koriazova is the producer.
Rogier Lammers is our music programmer.
Evening managers: Milda Varnauskaite, Başak Layiç, Joseph Kearney, Nadine Dijkstra, Joachim Sullivan, Alborz Sahebdivani.
Storytelling hosts: Soula Notos, Lara Ricote, Milda Varnauskaite, Rod Ben Zeev, Marijn Vissers, Raphael Rodan, Michael Jäger, Sinead O’Brian, Joseph Kearney, Irina Koriazova, Sahand Sahebdivani.
Mezrab is an Amsterdam based platform for storytelling and an important initiator in the development of storytelling as an art form in the Netherlands. Mezrab serves as a source of inspiration for many theatres, centres, museums and festivals to also programme storytelling. Mezrab and storytelling in general has grown considerably in recent years and is gradually being incorporated into the professional performing arts sector.
Mezrab programmes regular storytelling evenings several times a week. On the other nights, storytelling is combined with other art disciplines (dance, visual arts, poetry, etc.) and a world music programme. Mezrab has a unique position in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands and in Europe as a storytelling stage and platform for the development of interdisciplinary art. Mezrab organises an average of 300 events per year and attracts an average of 800 visitors per week.
Mezrab also organises occasional storytelling evenings at other locations and festivals such as Oerol, Podium Mozaïek, Amsterdamse Bos, Storytelling Festival, Pleintheater, etc.
Mezrab’s programming is multidisciplinary. With crossovers of disciplines, projects, collaborations, cultures and stories, with the focus on telling multidisciplinary stories. In words and music.
A Mezrab Storytelling Night
The night starts with some drinks, nice music and people walking in to get a good seat. There are cushions on Persian carpets, chairs and couches – whatever feels more comfortable. The venue usually opens an hour in advance. When the guests are set for food and drinks, the host starts by welcoming the audience, introduces the theme of the night and then presents the storytellers.
Every story is around 10 minutes long and can be accompanied by music. A set has two to three storytellers, who are introduced separately by the host. The host makes a line-up and informs the storytellers in advance. The order depends on the amount of storytellers and the theme of their stories. There are no more than three sets every night. The last set is sometimes an open stage for enthusiastic audience members, willing to take the leap and tell a story.
Over the course of the evening, the host will ask people to talk to someone they don’t know, triggering people to share and open up. After the sets, the venue changes into a comfortable cafe, giving people enough space to socialise, reflect and process. The storytellers are usually around to take questions or further discuss their stories, leading to an open conversation, a public dialogue, where issues and topics touched in the stories spark deeper conversations.