Interview with Untold
Who are you?
Untold is a cultural organization located in the Bijlmer Parktheater. We have been around for 20 years and are engaged in African Performing Arts and education about our identity and culture, in which Black and African history and cultural heritage are important topics. We are also working on internationalization. We do many exchange programs in which we make productions and research African history and let the youth of Untold come into contact with other countries and cultures.
We also organize the Black Heritage Festival which focuses on our African immaterial heritage, the African Diaspora Art Festival, because African art forms deserve a professional stage, and the Suriname Performing Arts Festival where we help develop talent and give the performing arts a professional and international stage.
What does De Poort mean to you?
The Amsterdamse Poort is very important. It is the place where we as a professional cultural organization can present ourselves to other professionals and cultural organizations and to our audience. It is in a central place where we can express ourselves as creatives and make connections. All the people that come to the Bijlmer Parktheater also go to De Poort.
De Poort is also important for Untold’s team itself. We like to eat here and we use De Poort to buy materials and costumes for productions. It is a versatile place where you reach your stakeholders, your relations, your audience and each other. This is the pride and face of Cultural Southeast.
What are you doing for De Poort?
Untold is an organization with international standing. The people who come to Untold have to go through De Poort, so we ensure Amsterdam, national and international allure. We do many international projects and De Poort is the first location where our international guests get to know Amsterdam Southeast.
We also create everything in De Poort. We prepare all projects here and produce everything here. In this way we stimulate cooperation and create access to information about Black and African history and heritage. In a multi-ethnic district such as Southeast, De Poort is the meeting place for all ethnic groups. They can then obtain their information through Untold and Eternity.
What would you like to pass on to new organizations coming to De Poort?
De Poort and Untold are full of professionals. If you want to see beautiful art with a different, more diverse and versatile touch – with a different story – then you’ve come to the right place.
Where can Untold be found?
We have been in the Bijlmer Parktheater for 8 years now, where everyone can find us. Before that we were everywhere and nowhere.
When was Untold founded?
In October 2002. We started after going to Black History Month in the UK. There we played with three performance groups in Brixton. Our genre was not known there and they were shocked because they did not know that Black people lived in the Netherlands.
When (at what moments) do you notice that what Untold does is important for the people in and around De Poort?
The people know us and really recognize that we are there; they acknowledge our existence. We receive this acknowledgement not only from the people, but also from all agencies and organizations here in de Poort through the collaborations we do. These show that we matter.
How can you make an impact here in De Poort?
By being yourself and doing what matters to you. We do what we think is very important and we do it from the heart; not because of money. If you are yourself and do things from your heart, the rest will come naturally and you will see that you will grow. Prioritize this too. Take what you do seriously and dare to take risks. Then you naturally grow in success, in finances, in acknowledgement of others and you build up a track record. Finally, it is important that you are transparent in everything you do. Be sincere and honest, also in your business operations.
How do you make an impact with what you do?
We saw the need to educate people through art and culture. When we are abroad, we call ourselves the ambassadors of Southeast. We show what Amsterdam Southeast is. The responses we get back are that it’s amazing, they love us. This ensures that what we do can be done even more broadly. Creating a bigger stage for ourselves. For example, more and more organizations are getting involved with Untold.