The Bridge Update No. 2

Brussels wants English Theatre

Hello and thanks! for supporting the arts in this difficult time. This is the 2nd update from The Bridge, an English theatre for Brussels. 

In this update:

  • What does Brussels think about English-language theatre?

  • Who is behind The Bridge?

  • When can I watch professional plays in English, dammit?!

1. What does Brussels think about English-language theatre?

The past few months have enabled time for some market research. According to our flash poll of almost 200 English-speaking Brussels residents, 90% want to see more theatre in English in the European capital. Assuming this reflects the opinion of all English-speaking Brussels residents, this would equate to 432,000 people in Brussels with a desire to see theatre in English! Wow!

In addition to the flash poll, The Bridge also conducted a survey of theatre lovers. Some of you respondents are on this mailing list, so thanks for your input!

The survey asked five simple questions on attitudes to English theatre. The results confirmed the high interest in English theatre in Brussels. Amazingly, over 75% of you told us that you would go to see English-language theatre three or more times a year. Almost half of you cited wanting to see theatre in English as your primary motivation, dwarfing other reasons such as seeing well-known plays, famous actors, or enjoying the educational benefits of theatre in a second language (for the non-native English speakers among you). Check out the graphs below! Thank you to all those who took part in the survey; you are helping to make The Bridge a reality for Brussels.

2. Who is behind The Bridge?

It's time for me to come out of the proverbial closet. The Bridge is led by me, Edward McMillan. I am a trained actor and singer, with experience as a teacher, a business owner and a Eurocrat. For the past five years, I have lived in Brussels, mostly working for the European Commission in international development. I have always wanted to improve the world. As a performer, I made people smile. As a business owner, I brought the joy of playing music into people's homes. Working in international development, I brought material change to people’s lives. 

For the past few years, I have been worried by the direction the world is going in, particularly the political world. I see increasing polarisation caused by our self-curated echo chambers and I see increasing introspection as we struggle to comprehend the lightning pace of change around us. I want to take affirmative action to make the world a better place by combatting polarisation and introspection through culture. I believe in the power of theatre to open minds, influence choices and raise awareness of neglected issues. I want to use this power to promote social cohesion and encourage progressive and environmental values. I want The Bridge to fully take advantage of its unique position as the only professional venue in Brussels dedicated to performance in the global lingua franca by attracting decision-makers, influencers and community leaders to come and see productions that will make them think, whilst simultaneously entertaining them. Finally, I want The Bridge to be an inclusive, sustainable and locally-integrated theatre, connecting multilingual Brussels to English-language talent.

3. When can I watch professional plays in English, dammit?!

Unfortunately, not quite yet. You are the pioneers of professional English theatre in Brussels as The Bridge does not actually formally exist yet. This is the pre-pre-pre-release! Currently, we are conducting further market research in order to formulate a robust business plan. This plan will be presented to potential investors in order to get some ground capital for this ambitious venture. In parallel, there will be a crowdfunding campaign with some very tempting rewards for those of you who decide to become Founding Individual Patrons. Stay tuned!

The company itself will not launch until sometime in 2021 and The Bridge's first production is scheduled to arrive only in 2022. Do you have an idea for a play that you would like to see performed in Brussels during our first season? If so, let us know by dropping us an email, or getting in contact via Facebook or Instagram. Going forward, I will continue to keep you updated (sporadically) with progress and I look forward to sharing the journey with you.

That is all for this update. Thanks for reading!

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

E. McMillan


The Bridge | An English Theatre for Brussels