Rest in Peace Frie Leysen

22 September 2020

Belgian Baronesse Frie Leysen died yesterday, 22 September aged 70. Her remarkable life evolved entirely within the arts sector. She was an internationally known curator and festival director.

Frie Leysen was the first director of art centre deSingel in Antwerp from 1980 to 1991. In 1992 she founded together with Guido Minne the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels,  which she continued to run successfully for over ten years and developed into one of the most influential festivals in Europe.  

Afterwards, Frie Leysen concentrated mainly on the Arab region, where she curated Meeting Points 5, an international festival in nine Arab cities from Damascus to Rabat. In 2010 she was artistic director of the festival Theater der Welt in Mülheim and Essen. 

In 2012, she was appointed Artistic Director of Foreign Affairs, the newly-established international festival for theatre and the performing arts at Berliner Festspiele. In 2013-14, she was the theatre director of the Wiener Festwochen.

She curated the Theater der Welt in 2010, was an artistic director at Berliner Festspiele in 2010-12, and was the artistic director of the Wiener Festwochen in 2013–14. She curated the performing arts program of Homeworks 7 in Beirut in 2015.

We, the European Festivals Association, honoured Frie Leysen in 2019 with the EFFE Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rest in Peace Frie Leysen!