Looking back on The Case

1 April 2022

The Case is an annual musical-theatre project organised by the Royal Conservatoire’s Music in Education programme. Bring together around forty students, with their countless ideas and many arrangements and compositions of their own, as well as some surprises, and the result is a dynamic production. This year The Case left her name-giver the Kees van Baarenzaal for the first time. Lonneke, a bachelor's student of Music in Education, tells us everything we should know about this project, and about how she experienced this edition of The Case.

What is The Case?
'The project 'The Case' is an annual music theatre show, which we produce with the whole department under the guidance of two directors.
Everybody can suggest pieces to perform in the show. The students have to arrange or compose the pieces themselves and they also have to lead the rehearsals. It differs every year which pieces eventually end up in The Case; this year the directors (Ginette Puylaert and Boudewijn Ruigrok) decided that every student could pick one song which would definitely end up in the performance, but there also has been a year that a small group of students could decide democratically which songs would star in the show.

The show is made in three weeks. The first Caseweek is just for rehearsing the pieces. Usually, all pieces are performed in a row on the Friday of that week, in order for the directors to see the process and estimate the pieces. The second and third Caseweek happen after a few weeks, in those weeks we really put the show together.

We start the mornings together, we do some exercises and we rehearse the choir pieces. Later in the day, the directors work on the staging of all the pieces. We add elements of theatre, dance, visual art and humour to bland all the songs well and to make it an interesting show to watch and listen to.

What does The Case add to the Music Education studies?
The Case offers all students an equal opportunity to work on a big project. We experience what it is like to lead rehearsals, create pieces, perform on stage, and create a show in a very short timeframe together with fellow students and professional directors. Each year I get the chance to work on one of my own songs and to really make it into a special performance.'

This year was the first time that The Case was not performed in the Kees van Baarenzaal, but in the Conservatoriumzaal in Amare. What was that like? Did the new hall change the vibe or atmosphere of The Case?

‘The new hall definitely put The Case in a whole new light. We had to improvise a bit, because of the lack of wings, but the sound of the new Conservatoriumzaal is much better. The Art of Sound students, who supported the project, were also really enthusiastic about that. There were many more lighting possibilities, which we used as much as we could. This combination of new possibilities led to a wonderful show, but we kept a feeling of nostalgia.
The concrete and unpolished walls of the Conservatoriumzaal took us back to the old conservatory building. Therefore we also took 'Concrete' as a theme for the show. We are all super excited about all the other possibilities the hall could bring us in future performances.'

What did you learn during The Case?
'Like every year, I learned to take more responsibility. I also learned to open up to the somewhat bizarre ideas of the directors. I noticed that there exists more outside of the borders of my imagination; there were no limits to my creativity anymore and things arose that I would never have thought of if the project wouldn't be this free.

Sometimes we need to let go of more than we would want to, but making compromises is part of making a performance with so many people and opinions. There will always emerge new things from something you break down and it is beautiful to see how much positive feedback we got from the audience.