The Belgian-Russian theater man Philippe van Kessel was born on January 14, 1946 in Brussels. In the 1960s, he was at the origin of the Young Theater of the ULB alongside Philippe Sireuil, Patrick Roegiers and Marc Liebens. At the time an actor, he then walked on several stages in Brussels: the Théâtre de Poche, the Théâtre Royal des Galeries, and the Rideau de Bruxelles in particular.
In 1977, he became a lecturer at INSAS (Institut Supérieur des Arts). In 1988, he accepted the post of professor at the Higher School of Dramatic Arts of the National Theater of Strasbourg.
A prominent figure
“When he applied for the head of the National Theater in 1989, Philippe Van Kessel directed the Atelier Saint-Anne which he created in 1973 with Stanislas Defize. The hall will take the name of Théâtre des Tanneurs when it moves,” recalled the National Theater which lost one of the key figures in its history.
At the time located in the Tour Rogier, condemned to demolition, the National Theater moved temporarily to the former Pathé Palace cinema. It owes its salvation to the determination of its director at a time when some wanted to see the great theater scene in Brussels extinguished, requiring a new hall.
“Philippe van Kessel will fight tooth and nail with the managing director of the TN, Myriam Van Roosbroeck, at his side, to thwart this disastrous fate. Their determination will give birth to the building at 111 Boulevard Emile Jacqmain, ”remembered the National Theater, grateful.
In 1985, Philippe van Kessel received the Ève du Théâtre prize for directing, awarded by Belgian entertainment journalists. In 2004, he was elevated to the rank of Officer of the Order of the Crown.