Qatar-critical performance by football migrant Ahilan Ratnamohan during voetbalfestivaldefootball.

Ahilan Ratnamohan came to Europe to expand his career as a professional footballer. He set out on another path and now operates from Antwerp as a theatre maker.

The World Cup in Russia is hardly over and we are already looking ahead to the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. In 2022, Qatar will be hosting one of the biggest spectacles in the world: the FIFA World Cup. The fact that the organization of this football circus is in the hands of Qatar is making many a tongue wag. Together with the enormous stadiums in sandy settings, there are stories about mass exploitation of underpaid labourers, generally with migrant backgrounds.

Performance artist and footballer Ahilan Ratnamohan travelled to Qatar, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where he stood eye to eye with the realities required to build this World Cup dream. With the help of interviews with the workers, he looks behind the scenes of the picture that the Western media is holding up to us. He looked directly into the lives of those who have been doing the hard fieldwork. He discovered that – like in the beautiful game of football itself – reality often deceives us.

Mercenary is a collaboration between Sri Lankan-Australian artist Ahilan Ratnamohan and Mutamassik, an Egyptian-Italian-American musician. Ratnamohan once came to Europe to expand his career as a professional footballer (a career that never took off). He set out on another path and now operates from Antwerp as a theatre maker and the founder of the Star Boys Collective. In Mercenary, we see Ratnamohan’s characteristic football dance vocabulary, on this occasion complemented with Mutamassik’s punk jaw and pan-African electronica.

Belgian avant-première
MERCENARY by Ahilan Ratnamohan (AU/BE)
Friday 29.06 20:30
Beursschouwburg - gouden zaal
Rerserve your spot:

World premiere on 21.06 at Battersea Arts Centre during LIFT, London.
Belgian premiere on 27.09 at Monty, Antwerp.

During the World Cup, Beursschouwburg wants to show you many faces of football. 
Find out more on voetbalfestivaldefootball.

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About Beursschouwburg

Beursschouwburg is an arts centre, situated in the heart of Brussels, that embraces a hybrid and multidisciplinary identity. It’s the perfect place for performance, film, music, exhibitions, debates, lectures, parties and a drink at beurscafé. 

Beursschouwburg provides a platform for young and innovative artistes, thus it’s the place to discover the big names of tomorrow. Young talent, cross-fertilization and an opportunity to experiment are pivotal in the diverse programme which seamlessly coalesces with the generation 2.0.

A. Ortsstraat 20-28
1000 Brussel