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The Coffee Reading

CT Curated by Ahmet Polat

Curator of The Coffee Reading, Ahmet Polat, invites us to a pop-up coffeehouse, a series of talks in which we celebrate the tradition and art of conversation: listening, learning and finding common ground. On the 13th of August, we collectively practice the ritual of drinking and reading Turkish coffee, while we listen to the enlightening stories by our host Ahmet Polat and his guests: Nazmiye Oral, Malika Ouacha and Ekaterina Levental.

In 1554, the first two coffeehouses opened their doors in Istanbul. They became social meeting places and soon acquired the identity of intellectual clubs where men from different backgrounds played games, debated, shared information and learned.

Polat explains: “To me, a coffeehouse seems the most logical place to arrive, to connect, to observe and listen, question, reflect and to relax at the same time. In 2019, I traveled to the city of Gaziantep with my father; the city of my ancestors which my father hadn’t visited for more than 40 years. He took me to Thamis Kahveh, the Turkish coffeehouse my grandfather used to work as a young man. Soon, you start talking to the people sitting next to you, sharing personal anecdotes and future endeavors. It really is a home base of some sort.”


For The Coffee Reading, Polat took the concept of the Turkish coffeehouse (as a place to come together and connect), and Turkish coffee reading (as a ritual to talk about the future and practice the art of conversation) as a starting point for the night. As we drink the coffee imported from Thamis Kahveh, Polat’s ancestor’s coffeehouse, we go through the rituals of coffee reading together.

Meanwhile, we dive into conversation with our three guests, Nazmiye Oral, Malika Ouacha and Ekaterina Levental. Their work strongly relates to the concept of bringing people together, whether through research, rituals or art. Lead by Polat, we look at what they do and how they do it, as we keep asking the question: what brings people closer together? 


This program is English-spoken, doors open at 19:00

PLEASE NOTE: because of Corona measures, we can only allow a limited amount of visitors to this program. Tickets are only sold as single tickets or duo tickets, because of the chair set-up. Second, there will be two time slots to enter the venue (to avoid everyone arriving at the same time for the show). Do that by clicking on KAARTJE KOPEN on the right of this screen. Select the amount of tickets you want to reserve for a certain time slot and press VOLGENDE twice, leave your email address and press VOLGENDE again. If you wish to support us with a donation, you can do so on the next screen. Once you press BEVESTIG, you will confirm your reservation.

If there is only one time slot available, it means the other is fully booked.

Additional adjustments have been made to make the theater 1,5m proof. Read the full protocol here.


Are tickets to attend sold out? Or would you prefer a corona-safe viewing or simply enjoy the comfort of your own couch? You can then also buy a livestream ticket and will receive the link to the livestream an hour before the show. You will be able to ask live questions by leaving them in the comments of the livestream.

Dit programma is gemaakt in samenwerking met:

  • Nazmiye Oral

    Nazmiye Oral is an actress, writer, theater maker and storyteller. She won a ‘Gouden Kalf’ and is one of the founders of platform Zina. She even played in New York with taboo-breaking performances such as ‘The Veiled Monologues’ and ‘No longer without you’. The latter being a play she performed together with her mother.

    She is a much sought-after columnist, (including de Volkskrant, Nieuwe Maan and de Gelderlander). In 2011 she presented her novel ‘Zehra’, which was nominated for the E. du Perron Award.  In her work, Oral is always looking for ways to relate to dissenters without denying herself.

  • Ekaterina Levental


    Ekaterina Levental was born in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. She studied vocal studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and harp at the Conservatories of Enschede, Detmold (Germany) and Rotterdam. Ekaterina is currently making a career as an opera singer and theater maker. She participates in the productions of various opera houses and music theater companies and makes her own theater productions in which she combines her multiple talents.

    In addition, she develops personal music theater performances together with Chris Koolmees (by the alias LEKS Company). With this company they created three individual shows, in which Ekaterina tells her own story as a young refugee throughout harp, song and dance. In addition, LEKS also created pieces such as ‘La Voix Humaine’ and ‘Pierrot Lunaire 2.01’, which were all received with praise.

  • Ahmet Polat

    Ahmet Polat is a photographer, director and moderator. Through his photography and fieldwork, Ahmet Polat aspires to build bridges between different cultures, identities and histories. After living and working in Istanbul for ten years he returned to the Netherlands in 2015 and was awarded the Laureate Photographer of the Nation the same year. 

    In 2018 he founded Studio Polat Foundation.With its innovative approach, the Foundation seeks collaboration with multidisciplinary arts, educational and other platforms who support similar ideas. Besides that they strive to connect to more people through the use of lectures and table talks. The ‘Coffee Reading’ is created as a format to have open and grounded conversations based on the old tradition of reading coffee.


  • Malika Ouacha

    Malika Ouacha is a cultural anthropologist and specializes in Berberology — in particular the Amazigh culture from North Africa, where her roots lie. She conducts research into gender relations, symbolism and many languages of this culture. She wants to stand for womanhood, decisiveness, unity, love and passion. She works with the Municipality of Amsterdam, The Jewish Historical Museum and UN Women, among others.

    As Malika’s broad experiences has taught her, striving for constant improvement and connection on a deeper layer is key. But it should be done by all actors active in the field. And those who don’t know how, should be provided with tricks and tools. Her aim is to create a constant bridge between actors that may seem different at first, but wish collaboration in the end.

Dit programma heeft al plaatsgevonden