The Beursschouwburg is a cultural centre housed in a former ballroom in the centre of the Brussels. The original building, constructed in 1885 on August Ortsstraat, was home to a Flemish brasserie and ballroom. In 1947, the ballroom was converted into a theatre. In 1983, the building was taken over by the Flemish community in Belgium, and it was totally refurbished in 1998.
After reopening in 2004, the Beursschouwburg was turned into a cultural centre including the Stipendium Cafe and, for a time, the Bronks youth theatre. The centre's artistic and managing director is Cis Bierinckx.
Although the Flemish community in Belgium sponsors the Beursschouwburg, the cultural centre hosts many bi-lingual events. In the view of Flemish Minister for Culture and Brussels Affairs, Bert Anciaux, the centre is entrusted with the task of disseminating Dutch culture in Belgium – and the Beursschouwburg has successfully lived up to those expectations. Now, sixty per cent of the audience French-speaking citizens.
The Beursschouwburg has a reputation as a centre for the avant-garde. It not only hosts free jazz concerts, jam sessions and experimental music, but also provides space for sculptural exhibitions.
The electronic music concerts at the Beursschouwburg have gained an international following. Admission prices are also kept low to encourage less well-off people from the city to attend.
This trans-disciplinary arts centre works within the vibrant field of tension defined by creativity, and reflection on and a critical examination of society. As a key player in the Brussels art scene, the Beursschouwburg encourages a spectrum of interaction between the arts, broader cultural debate and the city's social life.
The Beursschouwburg functions as a catalyst for both the individual artists' creative expression and the audience's active commitment, offering a forum for the search for meaning and significance beyond ideological, religious, cultural and gender borders.