Viviane De Muynck is chiefly known as one of Needcompany’s central actresses. In the early 1990s, she met Jan Lauwers, Artistic Director of Needcompany, with whom she has steered a splendid course since then. In 2018 she was awarded the Ultima for Overall Cultural Merit by the Flemish government.
She studied drama at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and was a pupil of Jan Decorte. From 1980 she was a member of the collective Mannen van den Dam and acted in productions including De Pelikaan (Strindberg), Het laxeermiddel (Feydeau), De macht der gewoonte (Bernhard) and Het Park (Strauss). In 1987 she received the ‘Theo d’Or’ for playing the role of Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Directed by Sam Bogaerts with the company De Witte Kraai. She subsequently joined Maatschappij Discordia and performed in productions including UBU ROI (Alfred Jarry), Kras (Judith Herzberg), Das Spiel vom Fragen (Handke), Maat voor Maat (Measure for Measure) (Shakespeare) and Driekoningenavond.
A collaboration with three theatres in the Netherlands resulted in Count your Blessings with Toneelgroep Amsterdam, directed by Gerardjan Rijnders; Iphigenia in Taurus with Het Nationaal Toneel in The Hague, directed by Ger Thijs; and Hamlet with Het Zuidelijk Toneel, directed by Ivo Van Hove. She performed in two Kaaitheater productions: in 1994 in Pijl van de Tijd (Time’s Arrow) (Martin Amis) directed by Guy Cassiers, and in 1995 the role of Odysseus in Philoktetes Variations (Müller, Gide, Jesureen) by Jan Ritsema, alongside Dirk Roofthooft and Ron Vawter. She was also a guest artist with the Wooster Group (New York) in performances including The Hairy Ape by O’Neill and she toured with Relazione Pubblica, a choreography by Caterina and Carlotta Sagna. In 2006 she was awarded the Flemish Culture Prize for Performing Arts. And in 2007 she played the leading role in Ein fest für Boris, a creation for the Salzburger Festspiele. In 2012 she appeared in Ghost Road (Fabrice Murgia), a collaboration between LOD and Cie Artara, the sequel to which, Children of Nowhere (Ghost Road 2) premiered in 2015. Recently, De Muynck also performed in the much-praised Van den Vos (FC Bergman / Toneelhuis) and Tom Lanoye wrote the monologue GAZ. Pleidooi van een gedoemde moeder for her. Directed by Piet Arfeuille (Theater Malpertuis), this production toured extensively in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Since the opera Orfeo (1993) from Walter Hus and Jan Lauwers, she has regularly acted with Needcompany in Lauwers’ productions. She appeared in The Snakesong Trilogy (Le Pouvoir, Le Désir and the full version), Needcompany’s Macbeth (1996), Caligula (1997), Morning Song (1999), DeaDDogsDon’tDance/DJamesDJoyceDeaD (2000), Goldfish Game (2002), No Comment (2003), De kamer van Isabella (2004), Alles is ijdelheid (2006), Het Hertenhuis (2008) and De kunst der vermakelijkheid (2011), amongst others. She wrote the text for DeaDDogsDon’tDance/DjamesDJoyceDeaD in collaboration with Jan Lauwers. In addition, she took on the adaptation of the text Alles is ijdelheid, based on the eponymous novel by Claire Goll. In 2006 she was awarded the Flemish Community Prize in the Performing Arts category. In December 2017, Oorlog en terpentijn premiered at Toneelhuis, with again a central role for De Muynck.
Viviane De Muynck also makes regular appearances in film and television productions. These include Vinaya (Peter van Kraaij and Josse De Pauw), Vincent and Theo (Robert Altman) and The Crossing (Nora Hoppe). She was twice nominated for the ‘Golden Calf’ at the Utrecht Film Festival: for the film Evenings (Rudolf van den Berg) and for the TV-drama Duister licht by Martin Koolhoven. In 2005 she appeared in Someone Else’s Happiness, Fien Troch’s first feature film, and later in The Only One (Geoffrey Enthoven), Swooni (Kaat Beels) and The Verdict (Jan Verheyen). For her performance in Flying Home (Dominique Deruddere), she was awarded an Ensor for Best Supporting Actress at the 2014 Ostend Film Festival.
Then followed roles in The Ardennes, the debut film from Robin Pront, A Real Vermeer (Rudolf van den Berg), Me and Kaminski (Wolfgang Becker) and Pippa (Marc Punt). In Speechless, the film adaptation by Hilde Van Mieghem of the eponymous book by Tom Lanoye, De Muynck plays the starring role alongside Stany Crets. In autumn 2017, Many Heavens came out (Jan Matthys, based on the novel by Griet Op de Beeck) and filming commenced for Don’t Shoot (Stijn Coninx).
On TV, De Muynck has appeared in series including Oud België, Het goddelijke monster, Met Man en Macht, Professor T, Generatie B, and is soon to appear in Tabula rasa. For her role in Oud België, De Muynck was nominated as Best Actress at the 2010 Monte Carlo Film Festival.
At Film Fest Gent in 2016, De Muynck was awarded the Actors’ Guild Career Prize. At the 11th edition of Ostend Film Festival (2017), De Muynck was guest of honour and received the Lifetime Achievement Award.