Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Henriëtte Brouwers, March 29, 2016

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - Growing up in the Netherlands

Play segment

Partial Transcript: It's March 29th, 2016, um, and this is Jeff Keith with Henriette Brouwers.

Segment Synopsis: Brouwers discusses her upbringing in the southern region of the Netherlands. She talks about her family, her love for animals, and the differences between northern and southern regions of the United States of America as well as the Netherlands.

Keywords: Accents; Adrian Brouwers; Animals; Blacksmith; Cities; Class; High schools; Holy Day; Kentucky; Mountains; Neighbors; Netherlands; North; Outside; Protestant; Rotary Club; Rural; South; Stereotypes; Studying; Teachers; Urban

Subjects: Catholics; Childhood; Families.; Rural conditions

00:10:17 - Art and politics in her family

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Before moving to Utrecht, had you been involved with, uh, the arts or--in any capacity and how--where did that come from in terms of your family or, or home community life?

Segment Synopsis: Brouwers discusses her exposure to art throughout her life, as well as how her family handled the concept of politics, and how her parents handled parenthood in terms of topics that are considered controversial in the United States of America.

Keywords: Blacksmiths; Cribs; Labor intensive; Netherlands; Painting; Personal; Philosophers; Sculptures; Seamstress; Students; Teachers

Subjects: Art; Artists; Childhood; Families.; Jobs & careers; Politics and government

00:16:07 - The Academy for Expression through Word and Gesture

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, in 1973, is that when you went to Utrecht?

Segment Synopsis: Brouwers discusses her education at the Academy for Expression through Word and Gesture in the Netherlands. She talks about the curriculum she and her classmates followed as well as the paths they could take for their future careers.

Keywords: Academy for Expression through Word and Gesture; Choirs; Community organizers; Dance; Neighborhoods; Streets; Teachers; Therapeutic; Thesis; Traffic

Subjects: Art; Artists; Communities.; Education; Politics and government; Theater.; Utrecht (Netherlands)

00:20:59 - Her journey to America

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So you finish up in '79?

Segment Synopsis: Brouwers discusses the events of her life that led to her come to America to live and perform. She talks about working with people such as Augusto Boal, Philip Arnault, and Del Hamilton, as well as her time living in Paris, France, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and visiting Africa.

Keywords: "Blue Monk"; "Northless"; "Theater of the Oppressed"; 7 Stages Theater; Academy School; Africa; American; Amsterdam (Netherlands); Augusto Boal; Changes; Clarity; Community organizing; Dancers; Del Hamilton; Differences; Dutch; French; Healthcare; John Malpede; Los Angeles (Calif.); Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD); Mimes; Mothers; Movement; Netherlands; Paris (France); People; Philip Arnoult; Poverty; Relevance; Skid Row; Symbolic; Theater groups; Truthful; Wisdom; Workshops

Subjects: Art; Culture.; Dance.; Politics and government; Theater.

00:37:48 - Discovering Eastern Kentucky

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But I'm curious then, uh, it was in 2000 that you make that plunge and you're kind of fully committing to this idea of organizing and, you know, using art in that context.

Segment Synopsis: Brouwers discusses working on the Robert F. Kennedy Performance Project and coming to Kentucky to work on the "RFK in EKY" project. She talks about her astonishment at the severe drug problem in Eastern Kentucky as well as the extreme poverty. She also discusses Nel Fields and Appalshop, Inc.'s role in helping her adjust to Kentucky's environment and the social issues that surrounded her.

Keywords: "Oxy Girl"; "RFK in EKY"; Cameras; Cowan Community Center; Eager; Hardships; Head Start; Healthcare; Impressions; John Malpede; Michael Hunt; Mimi Pickering; Mountains; Nel Fields; Outside; Performance; Poverty; Proposals; The Robert F. Kennedy Performance Project; Wisdom

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Culture.; Drug abuse; Families.; Film.; Kentucky; Theater.

00:51:15 - The impact of "RFK in EKY"

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I'd like to, uh, move towards concluding by--but not just stop quickly--but move towards concluding by asking you about some of the outcomes of "RFK in EKY".

Segment Synopsis: Brouwers discusses the impact that the "RFK in EKY" theater project had on the surrounding community, as well as the contrast between then and now in terms of political parties.

Keywords: "RFK in EKY"; Alice Lloyd College; Community meetings; Democrat; Drugs; Environmental destruction; Impact; Intentions; Kentucky; Nel Fields; Polarization; Republican; Robert F. Kennedy; Sharing; Strip mining; The Robert F. Kennedy Performance Project; Volunteers of America; Wealth

Subjects: Artists; Politics and government; Rural conditions; Theater.

01:00:39 - Her perception of Appalshop, Inc.

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, actually, uh, your perception of Appalshop would be interesting to me.

Segment Synopsis: Brouwers discusses her perception of the work that Appalshop does, as well as the atmosphere of the organization in terms of acceptance and inclusivity. She also sings a few lines from the play her theater project created to generate conversation about the drug problem in Eastern Kentucky, called "Oxy Girl".

Keywords: "Oxy Girl"; Amelia Kirby; Collective; Communists; Conversations; Dinners; Friends; Help; Robert F. Kennedy; Television; The Robert F. Kennedy Performance Project; Volunteers of America; War on Poverty

Subjects: Appalachia; Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalshop, Inc.; Communities.; Film.