My name is Elze van den Akker and I am a Dutch object theatre-maker, scenographer and illustration artist.
I studied Objecttheater at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Amsterdam and graduated in 1995. I have since worked with national and international theatre groups such as Groupe Zur, Das Letzte Kleinod, Christina de Châtel, Feike Boschma, Dogtroep, Tryater and De Jonge Republiek.
My specialities are visual and site-specific theatre. I design and make puppets, objects and costumes as well as fully immersive environments. My designs start with the emotional value of the character or story of the play. I then decide which materials and colours are needed. My work can and has been described as inventive, innovative and playful.
In 2022 I diversified into working as an illustrator. I use old theatre-scripts to make witty, quirky and joyful paper-cut illustrations. The illustrations are cut out from hand-painted paper with an additional handmade stamp or painted shadow here and there, oftentimes using the origin of the paper in the illustration. Using recycled paper is not only more sustainable than buying new but also adds a double layer to the story of the illustration.
Many of my illustrations can be described as theatrical. I try to tell a story with just one image. My audience are human beings who dance in the living room, love to travel, eat ice cream or drink hot coffee. They probably cry when they hear good music, and they don’t mind some rain.
It's probably not a surprise that my theatre works are a big inspiration for my illustration art and vice versa.
In another life I also made design products from discarded plastic packaging under the name of Pou-Belle Design. More about that you can read here.