The Heroine’s Journey of Jana Bovijn

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

Being able to transfer emotion onstage, to an audience. The best thing is writing a play on your phone or in small notebooks, in your pyjamas and seeing that very play being performed month’s later in a fully booked theatre venue, where you can touch people with your words.

That will always be the best feeling in the world: being able to capture emotion and to captivate an audience.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

I think perfect happiness is being able to say that i’ve tried it and i’ve given everything for my goal. Not regretting the decisions or risks you took for your art form, your work or your passion, but owning them even when they turn out for the worse. Finding the power to keep on being passionate and to keep on seeing the world as the artistic place it is, to me that’s perfect happiness.

What is my greatest fear?

To be forgotten by the world and by myself. I fear that I’ll forget to try and that things become a certitude, a pattern or that i forget to challenge myself. I fear that I might not try or dare to act anymore.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

I think deplore is too strong a word but the thing that i would love to change about myself is my short-temperedness. I can be really short tempered sometimes, which in a way is good because it shows that i care and it shows how passionate i am. But a little less temper from time to time and a little more calmth and serenity would be perfect.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

One of my leading actors Vinni and the way he can motivate me. He can see things so rationally, it’s incredible. I also admire Heleen, our storyteller and actress. She combines the softness of being a mother and the sternness of being a businesswoman in the most wonderful way.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Well, that would be fine dining. I do see myself as quite a foodie. So together with one of my best friends I’ll hunt for the best restaurants in town. We’ll try the newest trends in food and taste the most intriguing menus of course paired with the best drinks. That’s just how extravagant we are!

On what occasion would I lie?

I would lie to prevent hurting someone, when the truth would have no real value other than hurting. I’d conceal it with a little white lie. Although i would always be honest about why i am lying. Being honest in one’s dishonesty is a typical characteristic of mine.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

The silence you have to endure while waiting backstage when a play is being performed that you’ve worked on so for long. You just have to wait for the opinions of the audience, for the applause.

I also dislike the subjectivity of my profession. Theatre will always be a matter of opinion. One can never truly say if a play is good or bad and what exactly the bad thing about it is. So you can be convinced something is really good but the audience can disagree.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

That would be my very first theatre play with an actor who is very dear to me. We worked for several months on it and at the night of the opening, we got such a long, loud, loving applause from the audience. People had tears in their eyes from what we had brought on stage that night. It has been a big motivation ever since. When i remember that moment, i know i want more of those loving applause from the audience.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Perhaps my doubt as i have the skill to doubt about everything. I’m not afraid to take a leap of faith but afterwards doubts and thoughts are lingering in my mind the whole time. In a perfect world i would find more peace, be more calm, and dare to let go.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

The fact that i was able to found my very own theatre company and that we were able to make our own plays. It was such a big risk and a big adventure. We started from scratch, in a theatre style that is quite dated (the théatre panique from the early 1960’s). Yet we achieved and keep on achieving to make our own plays, to give lessons and workshops and to keep on growing.

Where would I most like to live?

Personally, living in the countryside is heaven. Having a garden filled with trees that carry fruit and nuts is the best luxury in the world. Having a view in the morning or silence at night gives me peace and serenity.

Although, if a girl can dream, the best place to live would be the castle of Versailles to me. Seeing that castle feels like coming home.

What is my most treasured possession?

My blue notebook with golden details: it really looks like small book from harry potter filled with magic spells and mysteries. In reality it contains ideas for my plays, notes that i take during rehearsals and letters that i want to write but don’t dare to send. It’s one of my most personal belongings. Read that book and you’ll know the depths of my soul.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I think that would be being open in communication. I try not to conceal things but say it straight to someone’s face. I’d rather hurt somebody a little then to lie and hurt them more in the end. What you see is what you get with me so i’m known for bluntly saying my opinion sometimes.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

The castle “gravensteen” in Ghent. I love the way how it’s integrated in the modern city and yet it’s majestic and you see history on its walls. It has a certain darkness and mystery over it, especially when you pass it at night. It looks almost haunting and threatening, but it still lures me in every time.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

For foods i will always go for “Balls & glory”. They have the most amazing street food with a simple yet delicious menu. For drinks “Barville” would be my hotspot, a place where they serve you not only cocktails but improvcomedy aswell. I used to play there myself so it’s a trip down memory lane everytime.

What books influenced my life and how?

One of the first books that comes to mind is “schaduwkind” from P.F. Thomese, a collection of poems, written by a man who recently lost his daughter. It’s so captivating that you can feel the silence, the grief and the mourning. You crawl inside the head of this man which makes it the most interesting piece of literature i have read so far. It shows to me that words, written on paper can take a reader away. You can show your world as a writer, just by choosing the right words. You can create feelings on paper, and that’s magnificent.

Who are my favorite writers?

One of my favorite writers is the poet Jotie T’hooft, with his book “junkieverdriet”. He really inspired me to go for a more dramatic, dark and pure theatre form within Theater Agrona.

Another favorite of mine is Chufo Llorens with whose extraordinary historical romans, you feel immediately thrown back in history.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

I would listen to “nuvole bianche” from Ludovico Einaudi, because it brings back memories from the first theatre play that i’ve written. It gives me a feeling of calm and serenity and i will never get bored of it.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

When it comes to fiction and history i would say Louis the 14th. He intrigues me a lot in the way he acted and wanted to maintain power. He is the ideal combination of strength and grace to me. I would love to jump into a time machine to meet him, and see what it’s really like to live at his court.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

I think that would be everybody in general who pursues his or her dreams and goals. People that are not afraid to try, even when it contains risks or the road’s rocky. People that persevere and are not afraid to fail. Those are the ones that i admire.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

The flemmish movie “hector”. It’s already a really old movie but when you watch it for the first time you’ll think it’s a comedy. There are a lot of jokes in the movie but when you look closer you can clearly see the tragedy from a family, the lost dreams of family members and how they cope with it. The movie gives you the feeling that behind a laugh there could be a tear disguised with laughter and jokes.

What role plays art in my life and work?

I think art is the air i breathe every day: to me everything revolves around my theatre and my art. Whether i’m sitting on the train thinking about my next play, or i’m giving a dance workshop, art is always part of my daily routine. It gives me energy and brings me joy. It’s like feeling in love: you can’t stop thinking about it, you dream about it and you love it.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

Ofcourse that’s the cofounder of my theatre company who wants to remain unknown. He always said theatre isn’t his cup of tea and yet he is so interested in whatever we are doing with our plays.

My other partner in crime would be Vinni, one of my main actors. We started our journey together and has always been so patient with me even when i made rookie mistakes as a newborn director. He was never afraid to give his honest opinion but he supported me all the way.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019?

I would love to collaborate with Domien van der Meiren, a Belgian director for theatre plays. His style is so very pure and he can motivate his actors in an unbelievable ways. His interpretation of the novel “mariken van niemegen” was excellent, with high regard to the personal features of every actor in his play. So I want to learn how to keep the personality of an actor in mind and yet transform him into the role he needs to play.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2019?

I have always had huge respect for, and interest in, Marina Abramovic. To me she is the artist that represents passion, love, desire and letting go in the most authentic way possible. Seeing her work gives me inspiration for my own plays, meeting her and showing her my interpretation of her work would be a dream come true.

What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on?

Of course our next theatre play will be “de limiet van liefde (the limits of love) which tells the story of a couple, caught in depression, and the effects it has on their lives. I’m also looking forward to is our summer workshops for children in collaboration with Morgane la Fay.

Where can you see me or my work?

At the moment our main playground is the city of Ghent, where we perform in “Theaterbox”. The small, cosy theatre suits our needs perfectly.

We try to share all our work via social media as well, on our facebookpage “theater agrona” you can find all pictures from the plays, the workshops and dancing classes.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

Personally i believe the quote ” if you do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life”. Simply put: if it’s your passion, it doesn’t feel like working. For me, passion means to keep on fighting and to pursue ones goals, even when the road is rocky. The road to success is a hard one, and only with passion can one persevere. Passion means taking joy in creating and working, always wanting to achieve more because you love to create.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

My all-time favorite would be Morgane la Fay, the queen of storytelling. She is such a pure hearted, warm and caring person, and she will grasps your attention in a split second.

How can you contact me?

Either via email:, via facebook: “ or in a couple of weeks through our very own website:

Whether it’s for asking questions, booking us or just for a chat about our mutual passion for theatre, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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