Krétakör will not join the festival

Yesterday, Josef Ostermayer, the Secretary of State for Culture of Austria has discharged Matthias Hartmann, the intendant of Burgtheater. This morning we discussed this situation, which we closely followed in the recent weeks, in detail and due to shared aversions, we decided not to participate in the theatre's festival with our play titled 'Corruption'.

Last year Matthias Hartmann expressed his concerns in respect of the regressive, irresponsible and ideology-driven decisions of the Hungarian cultural policy. Following his meeting with Zoltán Balog and Attila Vidnyánszky in the summer, his previous concerns became personal impressions. As a solution for the situation, he came up with the idea of a theatre festival, where theatre authors and their groups favoured and disregarded by the cultural governance could present themselves in front of the Austrian audience and, preferably, enter into a dialogue. The significance of this initiative cannot be overestimated, considering that unfortunately in our country there is no formal or informal possibility for that. FESZ (Independent Performer's Association), which was managed by Krétakör's leaders for two years, and Krétakör itself has also made attempts to enter in professional discussions with cultural policy-makers and their favoured artists; however, these attempts did not bring any results. On the last occasion we tried in vain to request justification and reconsideration from policy-makers with regard to the autocratic decision of the NKA (National Cultural Fund) radically restricting the professional possibilities of all theatres and limiting the access of their audiences to culture.

Consequently, the festival meant a real opportunity for us for the free expression of opinion and democratic confrontation.

Our team has been concerned with the management and accountability of the directorate of Burgtheater for some time. We were hoping that the audits will bring a comforting result, which will clarify the liability of Matthias Hartmann. After yesterday's events, however, we have to note the following: Matthias Hartmann's current situation ruin the authenticity of the criticism formulated on the Hungarian cultural governance, even though it is justified and well-founded. And, although a public institute and its director are not identical, the festival was proposed by Mr Hartmann himself, thus it would be morally inacceptable for us to participate. The consistent and uncompromised representation of our professional integrity in Hungary and abroad is our highest priority.

The cancellation of our appearance is a saddening development for the creator team of the performance as well. It is saddening, since we did not have an opportunity to perform this production in the last 3 months; therefore, our guest performance would have essentially meant the possibility to play for the team. Now, there is no play. We do not have to explain to theatre-lovers, how saddening and appalling this situation is.

We would like to apologise to all those who have purchased tickets and were interested in seeing our production, for whom, we probably caused some disappointment. We would like to express our solidarity and recognition to the ensemble and contributors of Burgtheater, who, regardless of this situation continue to pursue their profession. We hope that all who feel offended by our decision will be understanding as regards our standing-point.

 

Budapest, 12 March 2014                                             Best Regards, Krétakör

 

 
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