From The Netherlands With Love

This guy loves the Netherlands like we do! (Photo by Flickr user rafiq s)


Since July, Jolien van Middelaar has been working as an intern with The Torch Theatre. In addition to having someone from The Netherlands to teach us about her culture (though, she has yet to teach us all of the bad words in Dutch), it’s been an amazing experience to get to know Jolien. She’s been a hard worker for The Torch Theatre cause, but more importantly, she’s an extraordinary person and an amazing friend. I know that I’m not the only person who will miss her lovely smile lighting up 4721 every weekend. Ostensibly, she came here to learn as part of her internship, but I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t spent time with Jolien and ended up learning something themselves.


It’s been in the past few weeks that the reality of Jolien departing back to her wonderful homeland has started to set in. Any time I start to feel sad that that’s the case, I just think of the amazing times that have happened in her time here: the opening of the theatre, revelry at HB Hanratty’s, Ghostfest rap-offs, and dancefloor shenanigans amongst them all. What makes me smile is thinking about how fortunate we are to have someone as awesome as Jolien carrying around a piece of The Torch with her. She is definitely a part of The Torch Theatre community and it will be exciting to see how she represents us worldwide!


Technically, this is Jolien’s last weekend (though, she’ll be around here and there until 2012), and she’s put together some awesome shows as part of her internship. For the International Trifecta on Friday, she’s put together a team of students (Han Valen), put together a team of experienced improvisors (Princess Maxima), and asked Galapagos to play. For Gezellig! at 10:30 PM on Friday, she’ll be talking about the differences between Dutch and American life and a team of all-stars will be creating scenes inspired by her stories. You can catch all three Friday night shows for just $10! (Bonus: Jolien will also be the special guest of Saturday’s The Neighborhood show!)


In any case, this weekend is a good opportunity to meet Jolien if you haven’t already, and to thank her for all of her hard work and dedication.


Here’s Jolien’s experiences at The Torch Theatre in her own words:




The Torch Theatre – Finding Love in an Unexpected Place

by Jolien van Middelaar


Four years ago, I started my studies at my university in The Netherlands. One of the promises I made myself was to make sure I would live in the USA for six months during my studies. Two years ago, I first came to Arizona for a multiple week workshop at NAU. I instantly fell in love with the state. Driving from the airport to Flagstaff is absolutely beautiful and almost all of the people from Arizona I met are pretty much really nice. I believe it’s due to the fact that there is always the sun out. Also, something that I absolutely love about Arizona, the sun. It’s always just there. In the sky like a yellow ball. So nice.


Skip forward in time: July 4, 2011 comes along and I am back in Arizona. In Phoenix, this time around to intern at The Torch Theatre. I had no idea what to expect. I had little experience with improv and had never heard of The Torch Theatre in general. But from day one at The Torch, I have felt welcome and inspired. Inspired by these amazing talented people who just started a theatre. And, may I add, it looks amazing.


Confidence. People think that just because I moved to the other side of the world I must have had confidence. But really, that’s the easy part. You get on a plane, move into a house, and start living life. No, going on stage with no script, no idea of what will happen – THAT requires some serious confidence. I would have never thought that I would be on a stage doing just that. Luckily, I took improv classes at The Torch before I went on stage to improvise. Taking improv classes was so much fun. I met so many great people just by taking classes. Also, it’s a total confidence boost and something I can recommend to anyone, confident or not.


To anyone in Phoenix, I can recommend that you spend your weekends at The Torch. You’ll be able to watch some seriously funny shows and meet some seriously awesome people. That’s what makes The Torch the best place to hang out, the people at The Torch. It’s an amazing community full of supportive people.


When I came to the USA, I expected that the day I would leave I would have met a couple new friends, would be in love, and would miss my friends when I would be back in The Netherlands. Instead, I met a whole community full of friends. I have found a new love called The Torch Theatre and I can’t even begin to think about not being at The Torch Theatre every weekend.


And I will miss every single person that I met at The Torch Theatre, which is absolutely the best community in Phoenix.



Posted in classes, Improv, In the community

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