Versnel is an actor and a singer [Baritone]. He was born in
Rotterdam [The Netherlands] in 1947 and was educated as a
classical singer under the Rotterdam based singing-teacher Dini
Erkens. Since 1979 he is performing both as an actor and a singer in
national and international productions. Most recently in Le
Jardin [Peeping Tom] and Dead Cat Bounce [The Chris
Versnel has given several recitals, opera-concerts and concerts of Chamber-music
between 1979 and 1989, in the Netherlands and in France.
In 1979 Simon joined the semi-professional production De
Mislukking [The Failure], directed by Paul van der Kruk and produced by
Theater De Engelenbak in Amsterdam. It was the first time he played and sang in this
theatre, where he would return ten years later to perform in
In january 1981 he gave a recital in Alpe d'Huez [France] with music
by Brahms, Gluck, Faure and Ravel. Together with pianist Jos Mineur, he performed in the
big modern cathedral Centre Notre-Dame-des-Neiges. Two years later they
performed there again with Schuberts Winterreise, which was later also
performed in Holland. Various concerts followed during the following
accompanied by Fenny Hoepelman
[1984 and 1985] and Corine Touboul  at the piano.
In 1981 Simon Versnel made his first Opera debute. The Opera was
I Lombardi by Verdi, directed by Coen Ruivenkamp and performed by
The Opera Bommelerwaard. In this opera Simon Versnel sang and played the parts of Pirro and
Within the productions of The Vereniging Opera en Belcanto Bommelerwaard
there were a lot of concerts in which Simon Versnel was singing different solo
parts. These concerts were given from 1982
Versnel performed in the period 1991-1992 in:
Pipertrunck in Offenbachs Le Roi Carotte 
Directed by: Joop Fransen
Produced by: Thalia,
In the summer of 1991 Simon Versnel joined a course in acting before the
camera, which was followed by a course by The Open Studio in Amsterdam in 1992.
In the meantime he played different parts in several short
A Japanese/English film, made for the Holland-exhibition in Nagasaki
in Japan, produced by the Japanese Filmcompany Showboat and PMC-Pictures
in London. This film was directed by Tsugumi Kitaura.
A part of the Dutch Televison-series Twaalf steden, dertien
ongelukken for Vara Broadcasting.
Gehoort op zeeckere tooverije..., a film about Witch-trials in 1595, directed by Joost van de Port.
From 1991 on Simon Versnel performed a lot with the group Friends in Music. During several years this group toured through
Holland with different programs, in which they sang Opera, Operette, Musical and all kinds of other songs.
Today this group is very successful under the name of Exquisite.
Starting in 1992 various theater-productions followed, in which Simon Versnel performed as an
Untitled [Cowboys] later: United-C 
Directed by: Maarten van der Put
Produced by: Tegentijd [Eindhoven]
Directed by: Grace Ellen Barkey
Produced by: Needcompany [Brussels], Theater am Turm [Frankfurt]
In the Summer of 1995 Simon Versnel, Loes Vos, Peter Goedhart and Janine de Leeuw created the hilarious production
Le Salon. It was especially made for the famous Hotel New
York in Rotterdam and was very successful. The atmosphere of the French Salons at the beginning of 1900 was reproduced in the Bals-zaal of the Hotel.
Rien Kroon gave some dramaturgical advice.
Morning Song 
Directed by: Jan Lauwers
Produced by: Needcompany, Theatre de la Ville [Paris]
and Hebbel Theater [Berlin]
The Miraculous Mandarin 
Directed by: Grace Ellen Barkey
Produced by: Needcompany and Bergen 2000.
King Lear 
Directed by: Jan Lauwers
Produced by: Needcompany, Schauspielhaus Hamburg
and Kaaitheater [Brussels]
In September 1999 Simon Versnel played in a video, recorded in Brussels by the video-artist Marie Jose
Burki. From this video she made an installation, which is shown in museums all over the
world. It was called
To pass round the cakes, and was later changed in Mais que pouvait bien raconter Saint Francois aux oiseaux.
Retakes of King Lear, Morning Song and Few Things. 
During the summer of 2001 the first movie of Needcompany, The Goldfish
Game, was shot. The opening-night was in April 2002 in Brugge. The movie was directed by Jan Lauwers and the scenario was written by him and Dick
Crane. Simon Versnel played the part of Leopold Grandiflora.
At the end of 2001 the contract with Needcompany ended and Simon Versnel decided to leave the
period 2002-2004 is full of activities for Simon Versnel:
In 2002 Simon Versnel joined the young Brussels dance-theater-collective Peeping Tom
[Franck Chartier and Gabriela Carrizo]. This group made the production
Le Jardin and is travelling all over the world with it during 2003 and 2004.
In 2003 Simon Versnel also joined the group of the American Video-artist Chris
Kondek, with whom he made Dead Cat Bounce, produced by The Rotterdamse Schouwburg.
This production travels through Europe in 2004.
In 2003, together with his friend ands colleagues Franck Chartier and Gabriela
Carrizo [Peeping Tom], Simon Versnel gave his first Workshop in Corsica. This was followed by a Workshop in Zurich, in January 2004 and
in the Summer of this same year he was
teaching during one week at the Impulstanz-Festival in
In February 2004 another video by the video-artist Marie Jose Burki was recorded in Brussels, in which Simon Versnel was one of the actors. This installation will be shown in galleries and Museums worldwide.
As a result of the enormous success of the production Le Jardin by Peeping Tom, a lot of theaters and festivals offered to be co-producer of the next production of Peeping
Tom. In the Spring of 2004 a start was made with the creation of
Le Salon. This
creation took a big part of the Summer and in November it had
its Opening Night in Villeneuve d'Ascq. From that moment on a
very successful tour started, which will last until the end of
In january 2004 there was the premiere in Zurich of a filmed documentary about four artists: Raimund Hoghe, Ju Gosling, Simon Versnel and Milli Bitterli. They were filmed during
their last performance [for Simon that was Le Jardin by
Peeping Tom], and during a long interview. This was an initiative of the
Institut fur Theorie der Gestaltung und Kunst and part of a project called
Asthetik der Verletzbarkeit [Aesthetics of
Vulnerability]. The leader of the project was Gesa Ziemer and the film
called Augen blicken, was made by Gitta Gsell.
The huge success of Le Salon means a lot of
performances all over Europe and sometimes even in other
continents. During this tours Le Jardin is also played a
lot. Some theaters want to have both performances after each
watch the video of Le Salon
Euridike de Beul [the wonderful singer in Le Salon]
and some other people, Simon is teaching again a Summer-Workshop
in Belgium [St. Niklaas].
The performance Dead Cat Bounce
is still playing at different Festivals in Europe and whenever
Simon is asked for it and there is time to do it, he joins the
Versnel with Peeping Tom in Europe and Korea in 2006.
As already announced in 2005, le Jardin and le
Salon were played a lot. Actually, from the start of le
Salon, in November 2004, this production has been played
constantly until now (summer of 2006) and will continue to be
played until the end of this year. There are also bookings for
The group travelled all over Europe and even again to Korea, to
play at the famous MODAFE-festival there. A lot of
European countries were added to the playing-list, such as
Spain, different Scandinavian countries, Hungary and Greece. In
France, in fact, there are almost no cities to find any more,
where Peeping Tom did not perform. This was also due to
the fact,that the readers of the well-known dance magazine
Danser, choose le Salon as the best dance-performance
Le Sous Sol
In September this year Peeping Tom will start the
creation of le Sous Sol. Although this will be part three
of the trilogy, Simon decided not to participate in this new
production. After twelve years of travelling (eight years with
Needcompany and four years with Peeping Tom), he
is longing to work in Holland and even, if possible, in
Rotterdam. The group, however, asked him to join them in
creating le Sous Sol, which he will do and, of course, he
will play the other two productions as long as they are
programmed by theaters or festivals.
In September 2006, during the Witte de With-Festival
in Rotterdam, Simon will play the painter
James Ensor in the Chabot
Museum, where they show at that time work of Ensor. Three other
actors will also play a monologue in this interesting production,
made by the theater-group Bonheur.
In February 2007 there will be a project of the
Lantaren/Venster, in Rotterdam, in which Simon will
participate too. Further information about this will follow
Dead Cat Bounce
In the meantime, there were also performances going on from Dead Cat Bounce
with the Chris Kondek-group. This production got two awards,
about which you can read more in the Online Notebook.
There were performances in Warschau and in August this
production goes to Finland.
Versnel reaches the age of 60 and is still going strong!
The main work in the beginning of 2007 was finishing the
creation of le Sous Sol, the third part of the trilogy by
Peeping Tom. Of course we managed to do that and in March
there was Opening Night in Brussels.
It was a great success and immediately there were theater- and
festival-directors, which ordered the whole trilogy. So during
the year 2007 there still will be a lot of performances by
Peeping Tom, in which Simon has to play.
In February the Rotterdam production Het begin van het einde
van het begin opened in theater Lantaren/Venster. It
was directed by Madeleen Bloemendaal and she was playing a part
in it too, together with Simon. Reactions were very positive and
it was a pleasure doing it.
Dead Cat Bounce performed in Zurich, Vienna and Tel Aviv,
every time again a big success. This year this play travels to
Moskou and Hong Kong, unfortunately without Simon, because he
will be on stage then with Peeping Tom! Well, You
can't have it all, is'nt it?
This summer Simon performed, together with the Rotterdam actress
Marieke van Leeuwen, in a
De Sprekende Stad on location with Theater-bedrijf
Bonheur. They were playing in the famous
Rotterdam Business building near the Central Station,
het Groothandels Gebouw, and the public was delighted by it. It
was directed by Ruurt de Maesschalck, who asked Simon to take
part in the new short production of Bonheur, during the
Witte de With-Festival in September this year.
So, besides the performances of Peeping Tom, which will
start in July/August at the famous Salzburger Festspiele,
Simon will play again in his home-town.
It seems to become a busy year again, the year in which Simon
reached the age of 60! We will keep you informed!!
The year 2008 was mainly the year of playing with Peeping
The first two parts of the Trilogy were asked a lot and part 3, le
Sous Sol, which was finished at the end of 2007, was of course
the main thing to do for the group. Simon decided not to join this
part 3, because he wanted to stop travelling so much and would like
to work more and more in Rotterdam. He took part however in creating
the third part. The funny thing was, that when the group played everywhere
part 3, a lot of theater-directors now wanted to buy the whole trilogy,
to show it in one week or three weeks in a row to the public. So this
happened, and now there are already trilogies planned until the end
of 2009, but not as frequent as before. Anyway, in 2008 Peeping
Tom still travelled a lot with whatever part of their three
shows. And again it was a big success in whatever part of the world
they played it.
In between there was some time to make a nice short film with students
of the Amsterdam Film Academy and to join the
escort-service in Rotterdam, raised by Linde Masdorp, an escort-service
for well-educated women, who need a man to join them at parties, dinners,
opening nights and whatever! Fun to do and a nice job, next to the
acting. And the year was finished before we even knew it!
The planning that was made for 2009 and 2010 worked out well and there were different things that became reality!
First (in February-March) there was the theatre-play Kleinkind gezocht, written and directed by Maarten Bakker, as a production of Bonheur in Rotterdam. In this play Simon played, together with Marieke van Leeuwen, an older couple, surrounded by their 6 grand-children. The theme was old versus young, modern times in which the young ones struggle with their identity and the old ones in fact do the same and have to cope with the changes in life. It was a nice show with a good team and the audience was quite happy with it, as well as we were.
Then, from the 9th of September till the 4th of October, Naar Wijder Horizon was performed, a play about the people who emigrated from Holland to Australia, America and Canada in the 50ties. Debbie Korper and Simon played a couple of farmers, going for the big trip to Australia. It was situated in the Steinwegkantine in Katendrecht, Rotterdam, a very beautiful and characteristic place, extremely suitable for doing this musical-theatre-show. It was written by Don Duyns and directed by Nataliya Golofastova.
In february of this year was the Opening Night of Porselein, a production of Muziektheater Transparant from Antwerp. It was directed by Wouter van Looy, written by Paul Verrept, with music composed by Jan van Outryve. Together with pianist Jeroen Malaise, singer Naomi Beeldens and Jochem Vanagt, and illustrated by beautiful video-images by Freija van Esbroeck and Paul Delissen, Simon, as an old man, told the story of his youth. A wonderful, precious text, played a lot, during several years (even until 2012!).
In June 2010, during the famous Operadagen in Rotterdam, there was Amygdala, a musical-theatre-play, written by Peter Swanborn and directed by Sjaron Minailo. It was an Opera, with compositions by Rita Knuistingh Neven, in which Simon played a man who lost his awareness of the world around him and tried to find back reality. The subtitle of the show was: If the body is stronger then the mind.
During 2010 there were from time to time short periods of creation of the new play of the Brussels group Peeping Tom, with the title A Louer (For Rent). The group contacted Simon and asked him to perform again with them, as the play was ment to celebrate the 10th birthday of the group and he had been with them almost from the beginning..
A Louer and The life of Sergej Pavlovitsj Diaghilev!
In 2011, the real creation-period of A Louer in Brussels started in the second half of the year and half October the play had its Opening Night. It is a strange, mysterious show, coming from the subconsciousness, in which a lot of things are not what they seem to be. A play full of surprising moments, great solo-dances and realistic scenes, next to dreams or nightmares. Directly from the beginning the show was a huge success. The audience as well as the Press liked it very much and, in fact, it became a bigger succes then all the shows before! No wonder that everywhere on the planet theatres want to show this play and it was, and still is, sold a lot. Peeping Tom traveled with it during the season 2011-2012 and will do this again in 2012-2013. Expectations are that even in the season after 2013 there will still be shows of A Louer!
In the meantime Simon developed the idea of writing a monologue. Already for a long time he was thinking about this plan, but did not really dare to start it. But as a result of playing Porselein, which in fact was a short monologue, he decided to give it a try and started to think about an interesting subject for this play. He finally found his inspiration in the life of Sergej Pavlovitsj Diaghilev, the famous Russian impresario and Art-collector, founder of the well-known Ballets Russes and lover of the star-dancer Vaslav Nijinski. After a long period of research Simon started writing and now (August 2012) the first rough version of the text is sent to several friends to give him feed-back, in order to finish it and playing it. The Opening Night is fixed at the 8th and 9th of February 2013, in the lovely small theatre Walhalla at Katendrecht in Rotterdam. The play is called: Verbaas me (Etonne-moi), a well-known expression of Diaghilev. It is project that is important to Simon, as it is something completely coming out of his own mind and heart!
Diaghilev, LOVE–ISM (Mor Shani), A Louer and Vader (Peeping Tom) and filming with Vincent Dieutre!
In 2013, the 8th and 9th of February, the monologue 'Verbaas me' - about the life of Sergej Diaghilev - was first performed in Theater 'Walhalla' in Rotterdam. This was a very important event for Simon, as he was working so hard on it and finally did what he wanted to do for such a long time. There were times, during the last year, when he was writing the play, that he thought he WAS Diaghilev and this man became a kind of a friend to him. The audience liked the play and Simon is still performing it, in between the busy schedule of 'Peeping Tom'. The text of 'Verbaas me' was published in a little book.
While ''A Louer'' was successfully touring all over the globe, there was also a collaboration in Rotterdam with Mor Shani, the Israelian choreographer (based in the Netherlands), who was creating, together with filmmaker/photographer Paul Sixta, his project 'LOVE–ISM'. This ended up in a short production on the stage and in several short dance-films, shown at Festivals all over the world. It was a great time doing this!
The year 2014 was mainly filled with the creating-process of the next creation of Peeping Tom's 'Vader' (the first part of a trilogy), which show premiered in Ludwigshafen (Germany) at the 10th of May that year. This show was immediately a huge success and is touring all over the world. Recently, the 10th of March 2016, it was performed a 100 times! And it still is going on.
In March 2014 there was the turning-period of the film 'Viaggio Nella Dopo-Storia', a film by Vincent Dieutre (Paris), based on the film 'Viaggio in Italia' (1954) by Roberto Rossellini. To turn this film Simon stayed in Napels for some time, where the story was taking place. Quite a new experience, but what a fantastic one! This film had his official Premiere at the famous Film Festival of Berlin in February 2015.
In 2015 'Vader' was played a lot and in March of that year the turning took place of the second film by Vincent Dieutre in which Simon is performing. This film is called 'Trilogie de nos vies défaites'.
At the end of this year Peeping Tom celebrated its 15th birthday! It was a good moment to look back at all the wonderful productions that this successful group created and at all the great years that Simon was working with them. A big part of his life and professional career is dedicated to this group, with pleasure and pride! In the meantime the first moments of talking about the new production 'Moeder', part two of the trilogy, took place. Now, at the end of March 2016 (while writing this), the touring with 'Vader' just ended for the moment. The group will concentrate, from April till the first performance in the end of September, on the making of 'Moeder'. During this period of 5 months, Simon will be in Brussels and in Rotterdam.