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LET'S TALK ABOUT DEATH, STRANGER - Emma Berentsen: Deptford does ART

  • Concept: Emma Miriam Berentsen
  • Stories: Emma Miriam Berentsen and the strangers she met
  • Photography: Ugo Petronin

Emma Miriam Berentsen is a performer, performance maker and artist born in The Netherlands in 1987. In 2015 she graduated from the MA in Performance Making at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is been awarded with the Dutch VSB Fund and the Prins Bernhard Culture fund to finance this MA. Her work is varied as she has been working both on developing her own creative practice as working for community based theatre companies and in the field of theatre education. Most of her work is based on (auto) biographical material and the transformation of this material into diverse forms of theatre, performances and installations. She is interested in working on the edge of non-fiction and fiction and the boundaries of the medium of theatre.

Lately she has been doing several projects around Death and Dying and organized a few so called ‘Last Supper’ nights – a performative dinner – She is planning to host some more in London at the end of August this year and would be happy to invite you all. Please get in touch if you’d be interested.

Emma previously presented work at several festivals and venues such as Venice Biennale (IT) Over ‘t IJ Festival, Amsterdam (NL), GIFT Festival, Gateshead (UK), ACT Festival, Bilbao (SP) The Nursery Festival, London (UK), ArtsAdmin, London (UK) Frascati, Amsterdam (NL) and Theatre Delicatessen, London (UK). 


In January 2016 I found myself for more than three hours stuck in the Brooklyn Art Library in New York - reading through a lot of sketchbook projects created by artists all over the world. When the librarian came to my table and kindly told me they were closing I knew I had to buy one of their Sketchbooks.

Back in London I decided to dedicate a full month on filling the sketchbook, however, not by myself but by strangers. Every other day in February I would ask a person, stranger to me, to write or draw something in my sketchbook regarding death, dying or mortality. I never thought it would be such a difficult task to set for myself and for the people I met - I received a lot of ‘no’s’ and sometimes I felt to overwhelmed to ask another stranger. But, it became a very challenging and inspiring month in where I have met beautiful people and heard so many different opinions and views regarding to death and dying.
— Emma Miriam Berentsen