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Alice Nell
March 3, 2014

Member of the week: Bjørn de Wildt

Bjørn de Wildt is the course holder of our PRESENT YOURSELF course, which had a very successful first round in January. He studied at the Fontys Academy for Theater in Tilburg (NL) and was named “Talent of the year 2008”. He is a socially critical theater maker that is concerned with the participatory role of the audience. He currently works as an artistic director of a theater group and has plenty of experience in teaching and acting.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do and how did you end up here in Berlin?

I am Bjørn de Wildt, 33 years old. I love to go to theatre, concerts, exhibitions, bars and parties. Since August 2011 I live in Berlin Friedrichshain. The plan was to go to Berlin for 3 Months to get some inspiration… I am still here! I work as a freelance theatre maker, actor and coach/teacher. Next to my freelance work, I am the artistic director of the interactive Theatergruppe PlayBack Berlin. At this moment, we travel from high school to high school in Berlin and Brandenburg with our interactive performance “Gefällt mir” about online identity and cyberbullying.

What ignited your passion for theater?

My first contact with theatre was as a child when we went to the puppeteer Josef van der Berg. He is a master in creating an entire world with only two or three objects. It was later during my study of Cultural and Social Science that i rediscovered the power of imagination. In our minds we can create everything. Theatre is a great medium to fuel that power of imagination. I discovered how you can use the imagination to motivate and move others.

You first studied social work and cultural and social development. How did you move from that to theater and teaching?

After my first study, I worked a lot in event management for cultural events. I started with mainly organising events, but became more and more fascinated in developing (theatrical) concepts that gave more content to the events I organised. These were mostly concepts to communicate with the festival visitors in a playful way. I felt that I needed to create more depth and body in my concepts if I really wanted to move people. That’s when I decided to go to the theatre academy.

The “Present Yourself” Course focuses on improving ones presentation skills through theatrical techniques. Why is it so advantageous to apply these techniques in other types of presentations?

Theatre and acting is all about expressing yourself and telling stories in an interesting, touching and amusing way. Theatre and presentation share the same goal in that aspect.

A lot of the exercises and coaching techniques I use are seducing people to step out of their comfort zone. People have created a lot of mechanisms in everyday life to make sure they cannot get hurt. This can be very useful but it also gets in the way if you want to make contact with others. When talking in front of an audience, contact is the main key to get your message across. In my course, people experience what it is to leave the comfort zone. The good thing about the theatre exercises is that you create an “as if” environment in which it is safe to experiment.

We already had this course happening in January and it was a big success. What were the highlights of this first round?

As mentioned before, this course is designed to let people experiment and step out of their comfort zone. It is great to see what happens if somebody experiences that they are free to do whatever they feel like in front of the group - that they do not need the hiding mechanism they always use to put away their insecurity. Everybody has their personal reason to join the course but it all comes down to wanting to be heard and taken seriously. It is a great breakthrough when that happens. We had a few of them in the last course. Daring to lose the “always trying to please and entertain mode” and starting to be very open and clear, an always a bit shy and monotone presenter delivered such a colorful and attractive speech, a shy girl turned into a powerful woman. For me, these moments of transformation are the highlights of the course.

How did you get involved with betahaus in the first place?

My girlfriend Gwen works here in the cafe.

What’s your all-time favorite theater play?

Chaos Trilogie - Abattoir Fermé 

Join Bjørn and other entrepreneurs at betahaus! Click here to see how to become a member!