2011-13

Advocating for mobility and freedom of movement: policy agenda for the Arab region  16/12/2013, 20:25

The Arab Education Forum – Istikshaf Program, in collaboration with a number of social and cultural organizations, initiated a regional mobility and freedom of movement policy agenda until 2015 for the Arab region. The Istikshaf Program (PDF) is supported by the European Union and has 4 policy issues: mobility on the national agenda, financing mobility, crossing borders and mobilizing communities.

 

Serious concern about the draft Special Secrets Bill in Japan  05/12/2013, 14:44

The draft “Special Secrets Bill” shall establish grounds and procedures for the classification of information held by the Japanese State.The UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression and on the right to health requested further information from the Japanese authorities on the draft law and voiced their concerns regarding its compliance with human rights standards. ACAR supports Japanese ITI centre’s demands for a carefull argument for the bill.

The Specified Secrets Protection Bill

Japanese Centre of ITI would like to express our concern against the Specified Secrets Protection Bill and demand the careful and unhurried argument for the Bill. The Specified Secret Protection Bill, which has been now on debate at the Diets, may threaten the fundamental human rights of the people prescribed in the Constitution of Japan and may devastate the principles of democracy.

Here we would like to demand the careful and unhurried argument of the Bill in the Diets.

Japanese Centre of International Theatre Institute (ITI)
See also the New York Times report from October 29

 

Embros Theatre (Athens): society and culture under threat in Greece     15/11/2013, 17:19

On the 11th of November 2011 Mavili Collective, a small group of artists and theorists, occupied the historical disused theatre building of Embros in Athens, deserted and left empty for years by the Greek Ministry of Culture. After several attacks and closures by the Greek state Empros Theater still remains open and active two years later. In September 2013, EMBROS was once again forcibly closed. Threatened with closure and in solidarity with two actors recently arrested during rehearsals in the space EMBROS needs international support. Sign the petition here.

The occupation began with an open, intense daily 12 day program that took place throughout the space with an emphasis on access and action. Just some of the events were: emerging dance and theatre makers shared tactics and methodologies for development, panels were organized by scholars as public debates on urgent issues, the archiving of undocumented and unknown “Greek new work” was initiated inviting artists to present their work. Artists, theoreticians, academics, activists, practitioners and the public came together beyond the limits of their practice and the market’s structural demands of “the artistic product”. The space operated as a constantly re-evaluated experimental common through an open system that offers the potential to re-think relations between people and possible roles for art in society.
After several attacks and closures by the Greek state Empros Theater still remains open and active two years later. Run by an open assembly this organizational model emerges from the current lacks and shortfalls of our system and attempts to interrogate the global changing landscape at this moment in time.
In September 2013, EMBROS was once again forcibly closed, this time from TAIPED -Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), a company responsible for the auctioning and privatizing of public assets, which appears as the new owner of the space. However, the legal documents for this transition seem vague and imprecise and the space is not properly described nor located with its exact address. Although the space re-opened a few days after its closure, on October 30th two actors were arrested and evicted with a series of charges.
Threatened yet again with closure and in solidarity with the two actors recently arrested during rehearsals in the space we are in dire need of international support. Please read the petition’s accompanying texts for more info on the space and what is going on. Thank you!

 

ACAR signed letter of protest by Writers-In-Prison against licence withdrawl of Belarus publisher     14/11/2013, 11:26

The Belarus Minister of Information has withdrawn publisher Ihar Lohvinau’s license for publishing activities. According to a press release of the Belarusian Association of Journalists the matter deals with publishing of the Belarus press Photo 2011 photo album which had been recognized extremist. The German PEN / Writers-In-Prison published an open letter of solidarity to the Minister of Information.

The open letter was published 28 of October has been signed by more then 40 writers, translators and publishers, among them Nobel Prize winners Guenther Grass and Elfriede Jelinek. Ihar Lohvinau is one of the very few independent publishers in Belarus. For 14 years he took an important part in shaping and developing the literature in Belarus. To support Lohvinau Publisher House,the Belarusian Association of Journalists directed a petition to the Ministry of Information of Belarus, signed by 20 journalists from eight journalists’ organizations from post-soviet countries.
Last changed: 14/11/2013 at 12:47

 

Action Plan 2013-16 for the Implementation in and by Germany of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions   14/11/2013, 11:12

ITI Germany is a member of the German National Alliance for Cultural Diversity and took part in setting up “Recommendations for Action from Civil Society for the Implementation in and by Germany of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions”. The action plan ranks from 2013-2016 and has now been translated into English (PDF). A French version will follow until the end of the year.

 

The “artistic” blacklists of the Argentinean dictatorship    07/11/2013, 12:33

EL PAIS and many other newspapers have reports about recent foundings of secret files from the military junta which held power from 1976 to 1983. The discovery provides rare insight into the persecution of artists and intellectual figures.
More in in English (New York Times), Spanish (EL PAIS) and German (SPIEGEL online)

 

Ensure Creativity remains a UNESCO priority!
09/10/2013, 13:09

UNESCO has ranked its Creativity Programme down for elimination. The programme, within arts education falls, was at the very bottom of UNESCO’s 48 priority areas. The ASSITEJ calls for action and has set up a petition to sign(!) and share(!).

It has been widely recognized that creativity is the vital ingredient that needs to be cultivated if we are all to survive and flourish in this 21st Century.

“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status” says noted educationalist, Ken Robinson. One of the best ways to nurture creativity is through arts education, something which should be available to every child. Creativity is urgently needed to promote economic, social and cultural development and to generate solutions to the numerous challenges facing the world today.

UNESCO has been busy analyzing and ranking the areas of their work by priority, with those areas that receive the lowest ranking being marked for elimination. The Creativity programme, within which arts education falls, was ranked at the very bottom of UNESCO’s 48 priority areas and is at risk of elimination. If this happens, UNESCO’s invaluable work in this area, including the Road Map for Arts Education, the World Conferences for Arts Education, the International Arts Education week, and all the other projects related to both arts education and creativity in the broadest sense, will be terminated and will no longer receive support. An additional consequence will be to give our governments yet another excuse to de-prioritise Arts Education and to deny both promotion of and access to the arts for children and young people.

However, this situation is not hopeless, if action is taken. When the Member States meet at the November General Conference of UNESCO, they will be the ultimate decision makers. If we can convince our national delegations that creativity should be accorded a higher ranking, we can prevent it from being eliminated.

We urge you to sign this petition requesting, in the strongest terms, that UNESCO keeps Creativity and Arts Education as a fundamental priority within its work. We also ask you to contact the National Commissions of UNESCO within your own countries to express your urgent concern about the future of creativity as a priority within UNESCO programming, to seek their advice and to ask them to co-operate.

A list of National Commissions, including the names and contact information of current Presidents/Chairs and Secretary-Generals can be found at the following site: http://www.unesco.org/nac/index.php?lc=E&module=national_commissions&showall=1

 

Access to Culture Civil Society Platform calls for 2 minute videos on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creation     08/08/2013, 17:56

The Working group on Arts Rights and Justice of the EU Access to Culture Civil Society Platform wishes to underline the importance of the UN special report “The Right to Freedom of Artistic Expression and Creation” during a meeting with members of the European Parliament (Human Rights, Culture and other Parliamentary Committees) as well as diverse representatives of the European Commission. This meeting is scheduled to take place early October 2013 in Brussels (ACAR will take part and supports the initiative). The issues dealt with in the report are censorship (political and religious), safe havens for refugees and at risk artists, access to artistic expression for all minorities, freedom of movement, assembly, use of public space etc. The ACP working group will offer artists the opportunity to make their voice heard particularly those who are confronted with one or more of these issues in their day-to-day practice, and/or living and working under conditions of restriction or risk. See the website for detailed info.

 

Appeal for a worldwide reading in solidarity with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and all political prisoners in Russia on October 25th     05/07/2013, 16:03

The international literature festival berlin (ilb) launches an appeal to artists and intellectuals, schools and universities, radio and TV stations, theatres and other cultural institutions to participate in a worldwide reading in solidarity with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and all political prisoners in Russia. The reading will take place on Friday, 25 October 2013, the tenth anniversary of the detention of Michail Khodorkovsky.

In two doubtful trials Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former Director of the Yukos oil company, and his business partner Platon Lebedev were sentenced to many years of prison. Amnesty International has recognized them as political prisoners since 2011. The importance of the case goes far beyond the personal destiny of the two men. Their detention in 2003 is typical for the action Putin’s regime undertakes against dissenters, and for the violation of fundamental and universal principles of the rule of law, the Russian Constitution, and human rights.

Since the protest against the vote-rigging during the Duma elections in December 2011 and the presidential elections in April 2012, the government has proceeded relentlessly against civil society. Several repressive laws, arrests and excessive court decisions have spread fear into Russian society.

In an act of solidarity with Khodorkovsky, Lebedev, and all political prisoners in Russia we want to read on 25 October extracts from Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s final speech in the second trial, from his correspondence with Lyudmila Ulitskaya and Boris Akunin, and articles he has written in prison about his life in a detention camp and his fellow prisoners. The texts will be available on the ilb websitein English, French, German, Russian, and other languages from 30 July 2013.

If you want to participate in the reading, please let the ilb know the details of your event by 30 August 2013, if possible, via the following address:

worldwidereading@literaturfestival.com

 

Fair pay for artists with “art but fair”     13/06/2013, 14:14

“This diseased system is harming artists”: The Austria based initiative “art but fair” is aiming to bring a wide-ranging and lively discussion under way to make the huge need for action obvious. “Golden Rules for the Artistic Milieu” are being formulated (available also in Slovene and Hungarian), which in connection with the guidelines of the “art but fair” seal which are to be self-imposed by presenters, should guarantee the existence and observance of respectful practices in the arts. The team is pursuing the following goals with this “Artists’ Revolution”:

  • to connect all artists with one another and to bring about solidarity amongst them;
  • to bring the public’s attention to the grievances we face and to bring light to the professional image of artists;
  • to raise awareness about the significance and unique worth of the arts and the artists;
  • to bring all parties involved in the cultural milieu – artists, presenters, artistic administrators, agents, pedagogues, cultural politicians, etc. – to the negotiation table and to look, collectively and through a constructive dialogue, for measures to improve upon and to correct the situation.

 

Call for action from ITI Centre Egypt     07/06/2013, 11:26

A conservative roll back happens to the theatre community in Egypt. The newly formed Egyptian ITI centre has asked the theatre world for support (see their call for action below). Ann Mari Engel, ITI Vice President and President of the Action Committee for Artists Rights has sent a letter to the Egyptian Ministry of Culture wich expresses our worries and concern about the situation for artists in Egypt today. Since June 5, hundreds of people have staged a sit-in at the Ministry of Culture.

Call for Action from ITI Centre, EGYPT

<egyptcentreiti@gmail.com>

English Text by Nehad Selaiha & Hazem Azmy  (French version)

Dear International Friends and Colleagues:

We, the founding members of the Egyptian Centre of the International Theatre Institute, have been witnessing with increasing alarm the vicious onslaught against the defining foundations of Egyptian culture, with theatre and the performing arts at the forefront. However variously understood and appraised, these foundations are widely believed to have crystallised with the onset of the modern Egyptian State in the late nineteenth century, but in fact they had always been rooted in the very fabric of this land, an inherently cosmopolitan multi-religious and multi-ethnic culture if there ever was one. As Egyptians, but also as members of the global cultural community, we cannot allow such a glorious tradition to suffer erosion at the hands of those who could not adapt to it, whether at home or in the region.

The Islamists’ declared jihad against the arts is currently spearheaded by none other than the regime’s Ministry of Culture, thanks to the recent appointment at its helm of a certain Alaa Abdel-Aziz, an obscure film lecturer with a paltry academic record and practically no professional or public service credentials save his adoption of the cultural discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood ruling faction (or, more aptly, its anti-arts one). In a typical demonstration of this populist rhetoric, Abdel-Aziz had this to say at a recent press conference “I ask those leading the ferocious campaign against me: What have they ever contributed to Egypt’s culture? What have they ever given to the enlightened Egyptian people? Postrevolution Egypt should not be captive to a group that has not been able to effectively touch Egyptians with creativity over long decades.”

While the problem of a certain disconnect between the intelligentsia and their constituencies is by no means unique to Egypt, we believe it is either moronic or hypocritical (or, more likely, both) to question the contributions of generations of artists in the various fields of the performing and fine arts and their far reaching role in establishing and popularising these arts not only in Egypt, but all over the Arab world, not to mention world-renowned literary and artistic figures of the stature of Bahaa Taher, Sonallah Ibrahim, Ramzi Yassa, Alaa Al-Aswany, Lenin El-Ramly, Nawal El-Saadawi, Fatheya El-Assal, and Salwa Bakr, all of whom are now calling for the removal of Abdel-Aziz and the parochial, theocratic regime for which he stands.

The International Theatre Institute, an active UNESCO entity with centres and affiliate bodies in the four corners of the world, has an urgent mission to protect the free circulation of culture in one of this world’s most ancient civilizations. We therefore call upon all concerned to mobilise in whatever way they think fit, but we also hope that this call for action will set in motion an ongoing dialogue with our worldwide friends and colleagues so that we may work with one another against the not-so-secret agenda to remake Egypt and its cultural field after the worldview of its ruling cabal.

We await your ideas and initiatives at egyptcentreiti@gmail.com

Sincerely,
ITI Centre, EGYPT
Interim Founding Board

 

Theatre occupations in Southern Europe: Call for solidarity and support     06/06/2013, 18:24

Everywhere in southern Europe theaters are occupied. In Greece, in Spain and in Italy. After the occupations of Cinema Palazzo and the Teatro Valle, the occupy culture movement increased and became contagious, il Teatro Marinoni, the Coppola Theatre of Catania, the Garibaldi Theatre, the collective of the Balena of Naples with the Asilo della creatività e della conoscenza. Macao in Milan and the already existing S.A.L.E. Docks in Venice, are all experimenting innovative models of daily bottom up productions.PERFmts (PERFORMANCE more-than-special) has published a call for solidarity and support.

 

State Theatres to be abolished in Turkey     30/05/2013, 13:55

All State Art Foundations : State Theatres, State Opera and Ballet, Symphony Orchestras, Modern Dance Companies are to be abolished in Turkey. A Video has been put on Youtube to draw the attention to a silent and dangerous process.

A letter from the The International Blacksea Theatre Festival:

“All State Art Foundations : State Theatres, State Opera and Ballet, Symphony Orchestras, Modern Dance Companies are being abolished in TURKEY.
You will watch the last voice of State Theatres Turkey trying to inform people in the country to aware them about the silent dangerous process.
Turkish State Theatres, member of European Theatre Convention, staging 150 different plays, performing about 6000 times, bring about 450 national and international tours, organising 5 international festivals each of them member of the International Festival Union is about to say farewell to its spectators.
Sadly,
Trabzon Devlet Tiyatrosu Mudurlugu”

 

Report of the Special UN Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, is available     06/05/2013, 17:32

The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Ms. Farida Shaheed, submits the present report in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 19/6.  In this report, the Special Rapporteur addresses the multi-faceted ways in which the right to the freedom indispensable for artistic expression and creativity may be curtailed. She reflects upon the growing worldwide concern that artistic voices have been or are being silenced by various means and in different ways. This report addresses laws and regulations restricting artistic freedoms as well as economic and financial issues significantly impacting on such freedoms. The underlying motivations are most often political, religious, cultural or moral, or lie in economic interests, or are a combination of those.

The Special Rapporteur encourages States to critically review their legislation and practices imposing restrictions on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity, taking into consideration their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil this right. The Special Rapporteur notes that more discussion is urgently needed in several areas that she has considered.

 

Open consultation on Visa Code     22/04/2013, 16:36

The European Commission wants to assess whether the legislation has achieved its objectives. Building on this evaluation, the Commission plans to propose amendments to revise the Visa Code and to further develop and modernise the common visa policy. The revision of the Visa Code is identified as one of the priority initiatives of the Commission’s Work Programme for 2013 in the area of home affairs. The online consultation is open until June 17 for individuals and organisations.

 

Deutsche Welle launches award for outstanding reporting on human rights and development     13/04/2013, 15:18

Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, recognizes with the German Development Media Awards excellence in human rights and development journalism.The awards are open to journalists from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East as well as from Germany. Outstanding reports can be submitted until May 31, 2013.

 

First survey on violations on artistic freedom of expression
19/02/2013, 13:39

artsfreedom.org has published it’s first survey presenting a glimpse of the situation for artists worldwide in 2012 and includes cases in more than 50 countries across the fields of dance, film, music, theatre, visual arts and literature (journalists are not included). A total number of 186 cases of attacks on artists and violations of their rights have been registered. The cases include 8 artists being killed, 16 imprisoned, 1 abducted, 5 attacked, 15 threatened, 37 prosecuted and 37 detained, as well as 67 cases of censorship.

 

2013 – 2014 International Writers Project Fellowship for writers at risk of human rights abuses     28/01/2013, 11:24

The Brown Department of Literary Arts and Thomas J. Watson Institute for International Studies are seeking applications and nominations for the 2013 – 2014 International Writers Project Fellowship. The fellowship provides institutional, intellectual, artistic and social support to writers who face personal danger, oppression, and/or threats to their livelihood in nations throughout the world. Deadline:  February 15.

Each academic year, the fellowship is granted to one writer who is unable to practice free expression in his or her homeland. Deeply practical in nature and intention, the academic-year fellowship covers the costs of relocation and the writer’s living expenses in the U.S., and also provides an office on the campus of Brown University for ten months.

The IWP Fellowship is open to established creative writers (fiction writers, poets, or playwrights) who are persecuted in their home countries or who are actively prevented from pursuing free expression in their literary art. Writers interested in applying for the fellowship should send a case history, providing publishing history and explaining need, a writing sample (preferably in English), and a resume, to the Department of Literary Arts, Box 1923, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, or they may email materials to iwp@brown.edu. Letters of support from persons acquainted with the candidate’s situation and eligibility are also helpful. Anyone wishing to make the IWP aware of a writer in need, or wishing to nominate a candidate, should also contact the program as noted above. The IWP will accept applications until February 15, 2013. More information about the IWP is available on the Literary Arts website.

 

Symposium on the international exchange of artists „touring artists“ in Berlin    28/01/2013, 12:11

On 18. April 2013 at the Radialsystem V in Berlin the website www.touring-artists.info will be starting up – a portal for issues dealing with international exchange and collaboration worldwide. International experts will discuss the advantages and challenges for this new system of information. New visa regulations and their realization will be addressed. Different founding models will be presented. Experts will be available to answer questions on insurance and other issues regarding the impediments to mobility.

“touring artists” will be an information portal and the international symposium for visual and performing artists. Both projects are realised by a collaboration of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) and the Internationale Gesellschaft der bildenden Künste (IGBK), supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Art in times of mobility: more and more artists are searching for inspiration in other locations and in an exchange with other artists worldwide. Exhibitions in other countries or international guest performances almost belong to the status quo. But with an increase in artist mobility, the problems with different legal contexts in the various countries – even within the EU – increase as well: taxes, social security, visas, transport, copyright law. Reliable information that can be accessed easily is needed in these fields, as well as answers to the question: Where can artists find support for international exchange?
The detailed programme will be available soon on iti Germany’s website.

 

Report “Artists’ mobility and visas: a step forward” is online 19/12/2012, 20:28

The cultural mobility information network On the Move has published its report based on the training workshop in November, 15th- 16th in Brussels devoted to Schengen visas. This report is a concise document presenting problems, explanations and concrete actions to undertake in order to help improve the conditions for mobile artists traveling across the Schengen borders. The full report (43 pages, English, PDF) can be downloaded here at on the move’s website

 

“All that is banned is desired” conference video material is online     07/12/2012, 10:39

The video material from the first world conference on artistic freedom of expression, ‘All that is banned is desired’, held in Oslo, Norway, in October 2012, is now available online – whole sessions as well as interviews with some of the artists and speakers. See the artsfreedom.org website.

 

UN special report 2013 in the field of Cultural Rights    21/11/2012, 14:16

The Special Rapporteur’s annual report to the Human Rights Council, to be presented in June 2013, will be devoted to the issue of “The right to artistic freedom”. Fill in the questionnaire!

NGOs, Human Rights organisations and specialized agencies in UN member States have received a questionnaire with an invitation to take part in a consultation in Paris next December 6. The questionnaire (15 questions) is available in English, French and Spanish. All networks and organisations are invited to circulate the questionnaire among their members and to fill in the 15 questions on the Status of the Artistic Freedom in their respective countries.

See UN HC for Human rights website for the questionnaire and the open invitation to the public consultation in Paris.

 

Protest singers and poets from Pune (India) arrested    30/10/2012, 14:37

Our partner organisation, the International Association of Theatre Critics AICT/IATC has published a petition to free arrested members of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM). Members of the group were accused by the police of being Naxalites (Maoists). Two are in prison, others hiding. With public performances the group was fighting against caste separation, for workers rights and sustainable development.

ACAR ask you to support the release of the arrested artists by signing the petition.  Additional information about the group and its background are in two online articles in English from Indian newspaper Tehelka and at India Theatre Forum.

 

Occupied by artists: re-activated Empros Theatre Athens to be closed     24/10/2012, 15:43

The deserted Embros Theatre in Athens re-activated by an artist’s occupation is going to be closed down and privatized on Thursday 25th of October.

On the 11 November 2011 Mavili Collective – a group of artists and theatre makers – occupied the disused building of Embros theatre and proposed an intense programme of activities.
The occupancy installed itself as a “re-activation” and proposed initially an intense twelve-day programme of activities bringing together artists, theoreticians, dance/theatre makers, architects and the general public. As Mavili Collective (2011) states in the manifesto that was sent to press and public: ‘This re-activation is not a proposition of a “better” model of production and management but is a proposition of re-thinking, responding and re-making.
This model emerges from the current lacks and shortfalls of our system and attempts to interrogate the global changing landscape at this moment in time.’ During the last year in Embros, in Athens over 500 artists, theoreticians and practitioners presented work; ranging from emerging artists and students to university professors and established practitioners, working across multiple disciplines.

Online petition:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-embros-in-greece-culture-under-threat.html

 

Prohibited play in Zimbabwe     06/09/2012, 16:53

Human rights lawyers are now fighting to overturn the ban of “No Voice No Choice” by the Board of Censors of Zimbabwe who last week “prohibited and banned” the play, alleging that its contents were “inciteful and against the spirit of national healing and reconciliation”.

Lawyers Take on Censorship Board

Human rights lawyers are now fighting to overturn the ban of “No Voice No Choice” by the Board of Censors of Zimbabwe who last week “prohibited and banned” the play, alleging that its contents were “inciteful and against the spirit of national healing and reconciliation”. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), representing the celebrated playwright Tafadzwa Muzondo filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court challenging the Board of Censors of Zimbabwe’s decision.

The lawyers Tawanda Zhuwarara and Bellinda Chinowawa of ZLHR want the high court to issue an order interdicting the Board of Censors of Zimbabwe and its functionaries from preventing the staging of the performance at any venue in Zimbabwe and permit Muzondo and his Edzai Isu Theatre Arts Project to perform the play at the Intwasa Arts Festival.

No Voice, No choice was expected to run at several Zimbabwean theatre halls and community centers as part of artists’ bid to spread the message of peace using theatre including at the forthcoming Intwasa Arts Festival scheduled for Bulawayo later this month.

Before its ban, the play had been to regional countries such as South Africa and Zambia, while locally it was staged in Harare, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. “We are seating on 150 A2 full colour posters for Intwasa which were delivered to us yesterday but we cannot send them to Bulawayo where they are needed to advertise the show because there is an entry fee to the Bulawayo theatre”, commented Muzondo. Any further questions are referred to the lawyers.

 

PUSSY RIOT     21/08/2012, 11:44

WE ARE ALL PUSSY RIOT – A statement by the Women Playwrights International Conference

The ITI worldwide express our deepest concern over the judgement  against Pussy riots which is severe violation of the human rights and the freedom of expression.

We forward the statement made yesterday by the WPIC Congress in Stockholm:

WE ARE ALL PUSSY RIOT – A statement by the Women Playwrights International Conference

“The verdict on the 17th of August 2012 against Pussy Riot is an unacceptable violation of the basic human right that is free speech.

This verdict is a personal affront to all of us and a genuine threat to artistic freedom and cultural expression worldwide.

This verdict is not just an attack on three women in Russia; it is a deliberate attempt to suppress universal freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of artistic expression, freedom to dissent, as well as the right to engage in activism.

Maria, Nadezdha and Yekaterina are not alone. Do not let them think they are.
For information on how to act for the release of the Pussy Riot, visit Amnesty International´s website.

We are their sisters ­- From now on we are all Pussy Riot!

The Women Playwrights International Conference represents female artists from all over the world. We are women from 51 countries. Every continent is represented.”

 

World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression – All That is Banned is Desired     07/08/2012, 16:51

During the conference in Oslo, Norway, 25-26 October 2012, obvious cases of censorship will be examined, as well as more hidden mechanisms such as market censorship and political agendas. The conference website, artsfreedom.org is the first of its kind and aims at setting a new standard for the documentation of censorship of artistic freedom of expression. As the conference programme evolves, it will feature presentations of artists and speakers coming to Oslo as well as updates about the conference programme.
Contact: Ole Reitov, Programme Manager, Freemuse; tel.:+45 2323 2765 (mobile), +45 3332 1027 (office); e-mail: ole.reitov@freemuse.org; www.freemuse.org, or
Bente Roalsvig, Project Director, Fritt Ord Foundation; tel.:+47 91613340 (mobile), +47 23014643 (office); e-mail: bente.roalsvig@fritt-ord.no; www.fritt-ord.no

 

European arts cuts     07/08/2012, 11:24

The Guardian (UK), La Stampa (Italy), Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland) and Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Germany) have launched a survey on how the financial crisis is squeezing funding for arts institutions throughout Europe. An online form to be filled out by the readers is feeding an interactive map which shows the extend of culture cuts.

 

Call for the Respect of Freedom of Artistic Expression and of Cultural Action in Algeria   27/06/2012, 13:33

After decades of repression, the Algerian government is again threatening and intimidating artists and intellectuals. Artists in Algeria have made a petition which have been signed by 50 artists.

For many years now, the cultural sector in Algeria has suffered from the hegemonic control of a single authority which stifles creation, takes over the spaces of artistic expression in their entirety and locks up the field of cultural action: the Ministry of Culture.

Institutionalization of artistic events, limitation of broadcast licenses for cine films and licenses for events organizers, patronage policy and invitation cards, are examples of the many actions undertaken by this ministry which have shaped, in a decade, a really restrictive public policy that destroys all independent action.

Without any cultural policy and endowed with a very important budget, this ministry, instead of playing its role of regulation of the sector and of support to the activities undertaken by the cultural associations, has become a machine of exclusion and intellectual repression generating an “official culture” which the Algerian citizen cannot relate to.

Even more dangerous, in the last few months, the Ministry of Culture doesn’t hesitate to threaten and intimidate directly any citizen who carries an action that isn’t officially “approved”. Many examples occurred just last month: intimidation of the instigators of the project of the cultural policy in Algeria, threats against the journalist who published a case on the scandal of heritage renovation in the daily newspaper El Fadjr, etc…

We, Algerian intellectuals, journalists, cultural activists, artists and writers, the majority of whom are young, ring the alarm and request from the ministry to lift its control over the cultural sector and let the
independent/civil cultural artistic stakeholders undertake their projects freely.

In addition we urge international organizations, towards which Algeria committed itself to respect the right of freedom of artistic expression and cultural action of the citizens, to take the measures necessary to press the Ministry of Culture to loosen the tight net around the forces of creation in Algeria.

Algiers, May 2012

download the petition

You can sign this call by sending an email to icosium222@yahoo.fr . Please mention your first name, last name and your occupation.

 

The revolution of the artists     30/05/2012, 15:26

The Casoria Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) in Naples/Italy is burning artworks from its collection (with the permission of the artists) to protest against budget cuts. Read the CAM art war manifesto below and watch the videos

CAM Art War | The revolution of the artists

The final aim of artistic production is the work of art, unique and untouchable, an extension of human self-consciousness meant as an understanding of the human condition in contemporary society.
To destroy it with fire means to deny its intended function, almost an act of vandalism modifying its original meaning and turning it into means of social protest. When artists to do with a sense of solidarity, this gesture becomes a protest against the status quo. CAM Art War is peaceful revolution engaged in by artists and the intellectuals to fight against homogenization the cultures.
We live in a period of heavy social and political movements. Peoples protests, especially so in this historical period. It is a movement against the ravages of unbridled capitalistic greed to and an outcry for freedom against their repressed exasperation.
The longing for freedom is not just for populations under dictatorship but also for the social classes oppressed by a financial instability conditioning their lives. New enemies came out, banks, financial groups, economy lobbies leading and monopolizing the market.
The same is happening in the world of art and culture; in the contemporary art world the power is in the hands of bank foundations, huge galleries and super collectors. Auctioneers control art biennials and big fairs meanwhile museums boards of directors are collected through “political” and strategic agreements.

Governments, powerless or sometimes in collusion, encourage the powerful and diminish democratic cultural and scientific research. The economic crisis that we are all experiencing has squeezed democracy into the domain of the economist, the banker, and the Chancellors of Exchequers who have created conditions that have become painful for the people. Their decisions based on right wing economic arguments become an unsustainable burden for crisis economies. All they seek is a cash profit that benefits the wealthy few.
Dealings in the arts is accomplished by powerful media structures, related to those huge financial centres which support exhibitions and spaces close to ribald free market economic philosophy. Nothing can rise from the bottom, everything is Merchandising, Benefit, Marketing, entire generations of artists are just figureheads with no future. Gone is the notion that democracy is a function that raises the wellbeing of the populous. We are left with a wasteland inhabited by an under-class.
Museums, libraries and experimental theaters need capital to function. The low common denominator of the market that responds to instant gratification are easy outlets for the quick buck philosophies of both government and private sponsorships.
Therefore, CAM museum, operating in on one of the most degraded areas of Southern Italy, conveying social messages through art, like the fight against organized crime and that way of thinking; proposing research and experimentation as an alternative to the star system and to the “IKEA Museums”, proposes a challenge with a big international performance, entitled “CAM Art War”.
The participating artists will realize, though in different places but with the same goal, a meaningful gesture of protest against the situation of art and culture, a “cultural revolution”.
Artists are acting as they would never be expected to do in a civil society, they are burning their works, the product of their creation, the way Governments, finance and multinationals are doing with their dreams.

CAM | Casoria Contemporary Art Museum
Address: Via Duca D’Aosta 63/A 80026 Casoria / Naples / Italy
Office: Tel / Fax: +39 081 7576167 casoriacontemporaryartmuseum@hotmail.com
Press office: +39 334 9399870 cam.pr@hotmail.it
www.casoriacontemporaryartmuseum.com

 

Takover of artistic authority by Turkish municipal governments?     08/05/2012, 10:17

Hundreds of artists, beating drums, marched through main city streets of Istanbul for protest against recent governmental attempts to take over decision-making at Istanbul City Theaters. These days the Turkish culture policy tries to satisfy the demands from islamistic parties to push back the freedom of artistic expression and use theatre as tool to create a more conservative society. Prime Minister Erdogan suggested that state support for theater should be contingent on stagings that meet state approval.

We received a letter from Turkey, describing the situation. Read more for press articles with additional information and comments. See also a comment by Refik Erduran, theatre director and president of the Turkish ITI centre.

Dear Friends,

Currently, the Turkish Government has passed a law through which they will have direct control over the Istanbul City Theatre.
The plays will be selected by Government appointed bureaucrats – any bureaucrat – meaning they would not need to have nay qualifications that would qualify them as theatre makers. The actors from the company would also be selected by these bureaucrats.
We have protested this unacceptable interference to no avail. We will continue to do so.

For some time now, there have been articles in the right wing (Islamic Fundamentalist) press calling for the creation of a “conservative culture”. We reject this on the grounds that a culture cannot be created, a culture simply is. Otherwise, it is propaganda and censorship. The plays not only staged at The City Theatre but the National and independent theatres have also been criticized as being inappropriate – meaning lewd or politically critical of the government.
This is the reason for this new law. It is the government’s way of putting an end to the degeneration.

We say, artistically, the theatres are and should be independent of governmental interference. The Artistic Director of the Istanbul Theatre and her board have already resigned. Sadly, there is talk of the tearing down of the Istanbul Modern Arts Museum as well… This seems like the first step in full governmental control over the arts in Turkey.

Please help us by spreading the word in your own countries. Please tell everyone so that people know that this is what it’s come to in Turkey.

I’m off to the protest tomorrow, wish me luck, let’s see what the Turkish police will have to say to us tomorrow at the march.

My Best Wishes To You All,

P.T.

******************

 

Dear Thomas Engel,

The divergence of views concerning subsidized theatres in Turkey (not just municipal institutions, but much more importantly the State Theatre) is not new. Arguments have been raging for years about so-called “automatic teller machine” actors — those with civic servant status who never appear on any stage but regularly draw their legally guaranteed monthly salaries from bank machines. Private theatres have been complaining about unfair competition (their ticket prices have to be disproportionately higher than those of the subsidized groups). There has also been friction among actors of the latter, some of them asking why hardworking and talented people should be forever paid the same wages as the non-working and the useless. The basic reality of the general theatre scene in Turkey is that it is extremely lopsided, with the subsidized sector outweighing the private part unnaturally. Everybody agrees that a reform was long overdue. The important thing now is to ensure a) continuance of the necessary extent of official financial support for theatre, b) total artistic non-interference by authorities, c) protection of the acquired legal rights of all involved. The Turkish Centre of the ITI will be actively involved in the transition process, and will do its best to assist all sides ın realizing those ends.

Thank you very much for your interest.

Refik Erduran

******************

Turkish IETM member Contemporary Utopia Management

reports:

http://www.ietm.org/index.lasso?p=information&q=newsdetail&id=698

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/conservative-art-coming-theater-near-you

http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_20543987/arts-turkey-under-pressure-from-conservative-government

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/turkeys-artistic-freedoms-under-pressure-from-islamist-government-seeking-to-uphold-values/2012/05/02/gIQAl72UwT_story.html

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is threatening to withdraw state support from the country’s theatres after his daughter said she was insulted by an actor during a play: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/17/recep-tayyip-erdogan-theatre-daughter

Turkish Prime Minister’s bid to privatize theaters stirs uproar: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-prime-ministers-bid-to-privatize-theaters-stirs-uproar.aspx?pageID=238&nID=19577&NewsCatID=384

 

Focus Hungary – World Theatre Day 2012: Theatre and freedom of speech    14/03/2012, 15:31

World Theatre Day recognizes the uniqueness of theatre and its universal role for people in all parts of the world, although it often operates under difficult conditions.

This year, Teaterunionen – Swedish ITI focus on the situation in Hungary.

World Theatre Day recognizes the uniqueness of theatre and its universal role for people in all parts of the world, although it often operates under difficult conditions.

This year, Teaterunionen – Swedish ITI focus on the situation in Hungary. In the middle of Europe, the Hungarian Government are deciding on limiting the freedom of expression and conducting political control over the arts. The only remaining free radio Klubrádió is facing threat of being shot down and the theatre management of the New Theatre, Uj Színház, in Budapest has been replaced. The Hungarian cultural life is protesters and the media restrictions are severely criticized by both EU and Human Rights Watch.

Together with the Royal Dramatic Theatre and the Directors Union, we will host a seminar discussing the situation with invited Hungarian and Swedish guests.

Participants: Júlia Varady (Klubrádió, Budapest), László Upor (dramaturge and translator, Budapest), Ervin Rosenberg (translator, Stockholm), Arne Ruth (author, Stockholm), Judit Benedek (director, Stockholm), Ann Mari Engel, Secretary General, Swedish ITI.

Moderator: Magnus Florin (chief dramaturge, The Royal Dramatic Theatre).

Center:
Teaterunionen – Swedish ITI
in cooperation with the Royal Dramatic Theatre and the Directors’ Union

Place:
the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm, Sweden

Date:
Mars 27th

Time:

18.00-19.45 (local time)

Contact info:
info@teaterunionen.se
www.teaterunionen.se
+46 8 462 25 30

 

British theatre artists: Open, liberal theatre under fire in Hungary     27/01/2012, 14:25

The Guardian published on 26 January an open letter from British actors, directors, playwrights, artistic directors and presidents/general secretaries of several arts organisations calling on the foreign secretary and the international community to put pressure on the Hungarian government to reverse the decision on Új Színház before 1 February:

We are alarmed by the imposition of a far-right director on one of Budapest’s leading theatres, and call on our foreign secretary and the international community to put pressure on the Hungarian government to reverse the decision before 1 February, the day the theatre is scheduled to change hands. Following the election of the rightwing Fidesz party, the mayor of Budapest sacked the director of Új Színház (the New Theatre), and appointed actor György Dörner in his place. Dörner supports the anti-Roma, anti-gay and antisemitic party Jobbik. Jobbik has been forced to disband its militia, the Hungarian Guard, but its presidential candidate recently stated that Jews were “lice-infested dirty murderers”. The party has 47 members of the Hungarian parliament.
Currently, the New Theatre presents both Hungarian plays and the international canon, from Schiller to Shakespeare. Dörner plans to reverse what he describes as a “degenerate, sick, liberal hegemony” in Hungary by stopping the production of “foreign garbage” and concentrating on Hungarian plays. These include the work of his friend and adviser István Csurka, an open antisemite, advocate of the Jewish conspiracy theory, and president of the Hungarian Justice and Life party. Several Hungarian writers have withdrawn their plays from the theatre in protest.
The change imposed on the New Theatre may not be the last. Jobbik and other extreme-right groups are campaigning and demonstrating against the Hungarian National Theatre, calling its work “obscene, pornographic, gay, anti-national and anti-Hungarian”. The campaign against a liberal Hungarian theatre, open to the world, is part of a move in Hungary towards intolerance and against democracy. The historical parallels are obvious and chilling. We support Hungarian theatre-makers in opposing this appointment, and urge our government to demand that the Hungarian government overturn this decision.

Artistic directors: 
Michael Attenborough, 
Michael Boyd, 
Dominic Cooke, 
Daniel Evans, 
Nicholas Hytner, 
David Lan, 
Nicolas Kent, 
Josie Rourke, 
Erica Whyman
Actors: 
Rosalind Ayres, 
Eve Best, 
Simon Callow, 
Bertie Carvel, 
James Frain, 
Romola Garai, 
Gawn Grainger, 
Henry Goodman, 
Martin Jarvis, 
Toby Jones, 
Beverley Klein, 
Roger Lloyd, Pack 
James Purefoy, 
Antony Sher, 
Imelda Staunton, 
Dan Stevens, 
Janet Suzman, 
Harriet Walter, 
Zoë Wanamaker, 
Samuel West, 
Timothy West
Directors: 
Neil Bartlett, 
Gregory Doran, 
Richard Eyre, 
Kevin Macdonald, 
Trevor Nunn, 
Indhu Rubasingham, 
Tim Supple, 
Richard Bean, Howard Brenton, 
Moira Buffini
Playwrights: 
Caryl Churchill, 
April de Angelis, 
David Edgar, 
Michael Frayn, 
Lee Hall, 
David Hare, 
Terry Johnson, 
Mark Ravenhill, 
Laura Wade, 
Timberlake Wertenbake, r
Arnold Wesker

and . . .
Bernie Corbett General secretary of the Writers’ Guild, 
Christine Payne General secretary of Equity, 
Malcolm Sinclai President of Equity, 
Joan Bakewell, 
Don Black, 
Geraldine D’Amico Jewish Book Week, 
Jessica Duchen, 
Denise Epstein, 
Ruth Fainlight, 
Michael Grade, 
Amanda Hopkinson PEN, 
Dennis Marks, 
Kate Pakenham, Lesley Megahey, 
Sharif István Horthy, 
András Schiff
, George Szirtes.

 

First European Theatre Day of Tolerance    26/01/2012, 14:33

The Hungarian ITI centre forwarded today a memorandum on creating a European Day of Tolerance.

On the 1. February 2012 the “New Theatre” in Budapest will be transferred to two new directors, both very famous hungarian right wing leaders. This is the reason why many theatre artists and critics started an European initative to protest against the rising intolerance in Europe.

To whom it may concern

Vienna,
30.12.2011

First European Theatre Day of Tolerance

On the 1. February 2012 the “New Theatre” in Budapest will be transferred to
two new directors, both very famous hungarian right wing leaders. This is the
reason why C. Bernd Sucher, many theatre directors, actors and me started an
European initative to protest against the rising intolerance in Europe.
On the 1.February 2012 before any theatre performance in Europe one actor
should read the following memorandum, holding a key in his or her hand to
symbolize their intention to open the heart of the public.
We ask as many theatres as possible to participate in this initiative.

Memorandum
“I am reading a memorandum that will be read today in most theatres across
Europe in the local language prior to the performance:
Today is February 1, 2012. Today in Budapest, one of the most important
theatres in the city is being handed over to two new directors who have
publicly espoused right-wing views for many years. They publish inflammatory
pamphlets that are anti-Semitic, anti-Romani and racist. Starting today they
will be the directors of a publicly subsidised theatre in a European
capital. Their appointment breaks a taboo.
Instead of taking this breach as an opportunity to condemn Budapest, we
should commit ourselves in our own country and lives to tolerance, diversity
and solidarity for the weaker members of our society. We are dismayed that
political forces are at work in many European countries stirring up hatred,
contempt and envy between people. Our intention with our theatre work is to
overcome the divisive factors in our societies, to spark curiosity and to sharpen
people’s senses for social truths – for the common good of all people, for peace
and freedom in Europe. After all, we human beings are all free and equal in
dignity and in rights; we are all citizens of one and the same world. Today is
February 1, 2012. Let us join together today to celebrate the first “European
Theatre Day for Tolerance.”

Markus Kupferblum

Markus Kupferblum (*12 June 1964) is an Austrian theatre and opera director, author and clown.

 

Copenhagen Summit on Artistic Freedom of Expression    16/01/2012, 17:42

At the Copenhagen Summit on Artistic Freedom of Expression, the undersigned organizations resolved that: There is an urgent necessity to launch an international initiative to protect and promote freedom of artistic and creative expression (in the visual arts, music, dance, film, writers, theatre etc.) with the goal of increasing awarenes…

There is an urgent necessity to launch an international initiative to protect and promote freedom of artistic and creative expression (in the visual arts, music, dance, film, writers, theatre etc.) with the goal of increasing awareness about violations of freedom of expression in the arts among artists and the arts sector, in the media, among political bodies, human rights and free speech organizations, as well as among the general public.

This initiative will:

  • serve as an  information exchange
  • monitor and analyse censorship in the arts worldwide with the goal of identifying trends and creating an understanding of the various mechanisms of censorship and persecution of artists for their creative work
  • publicly expose the persecution and censorship of artists
  • advocate in support of artistic and creative freedom worldwide
  • hold governments accountable to their obligations under the relevant international conventions and national laws
  • direct artists in distress to existing information, funding and other resources for emergency and ongoing support  and facilitate their relationship with  relevant funders and defenders of human rights

Arterial Network

ECA – European Council of Artists

ECSA – European Composer and Songwriter Alliance

FERA – FEDERATION OF European Film directors

FIA – The International Federation of Actors

freeDimensional

Freemuse – The World Forum on Music & Censorship   

ICAF – International Committee for Artists’ Freedom

IETM – International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts

IFCCD – International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity

Index on Censorship  

PEN International    

NCAC – National Coalition Against Censorship, USA

 

 

The Internet and Intellectual Property – A Statement by TCG/ITI-US     01/12/2011, 13:43

Recently the ITI General Secretariat circulated a petition regarding pending US legislation regarding anti-piracy. Our staff researched the proposed legislation and developed the statement below in response to our findings. TCG/ITI-US strongly supports artists’ rights and freedom of speech, and we share the following to give you more information about what the US Congress is considering…

The Internet and Intellectual Property – A Statement by TCG/ITI-US

US House Bill: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)/ Senate Bill: Protect IP Act (PIPA)

A pair of bills intended to prevent online piracy – theft of intellectual property – have been introduced in the US Congress. The Senate bill, introduced in June, is called the Protect IP Act. The companion House bill, introduced in late October, is called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. The House bill was originally introduced to deal with US access to foreign websites that traffic in the unauthorized distribution of intellectual property. But it goes farther.

Both houses of Congress would have to pass the same bill, and the President would have to sign the bill, before it becomes law. This law could have a serious impact on artists and the internet.

These bills create more opportunities for the government and interested individuals to police websites – both domestic and non-domestic – engaged in activities that infringe intellectual property rights.  Websites found to be dedicated to infringing activities would quickly and efficiently become inaccessible to users.

TCG/ITI-US supports legislation that protects artists against theft of their work. Intellectual property and artists’ proper compensation is important. At the same time, TCG/ITI-US unequivocally supports freedom of expression and innovation. It is a balancing act to craft legislation that includes meaningful copyright protection and yet does not threaten expression, innovation or commerce for artists online. TCG/ITI-US is concerned that SOPA contains overly broad provisions and that websites and Internet Service Providers would be forced to monitor activity and that websites could be unilaterally shut down.

Yahoo, Google, Facebook and Public Knowledge, to name a few, oppose the legislation. The Motion Picture Association of America, the Songwriters Guild of America, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the American Federation of Musicians support the legislation. The Future of Music Coalition is concerned with protecting copyright but believes the bill as currently drafted has too much potential for unintended consequences.

Legislation that simultaneously protects artists against the theft of their work, and yet has the potential to curb freedom of expression and innovation, is complex and not clear-cut. TCG/ITI-US hopes that legislation reflecting an appropriate balance between these two important concerns will be crafted.

For more information, please visit the Future of Music Coalition’s website: http://futureofmusic.org/blog/2011/11/01/coming-clean-sopa

Warm regards,

Teresa Eyring
TCG Executive Director

Emilya Cachapero
TCG Director of Artistic Programs and ITI-US

 

SCUM manifesto at Turteatern     21/11/2011, 13:40

Valerie Solanas´ SCUM manifesto is playing at the independent theatre Turteatern just outside Stockholm. The performance, which premiered on November 7, has attracted a lot of attention due to its radical feministic content. In the last couple of weeks, the theatre has received threats and from different directions been urged to stop playing the performance.

As a support for Turteatern and the artistic rights of expression, several of Swedish theatres, including the Royal Dramatic Theatre, has organized readings of the play.

 

The new face of Új Színház / Budapest     09/11/2011, 11:21

Here comes a letter from our friends at the Hungarian ITI about the situation at the Theater Új Színhász  in Budapest, that shocked the theatre world. All theatre professionals in the country are protesting against the appointment of an extremist right wing politician as the new director.

More information about new director and his ideas can be found  in the article The new face of Új Színház in hungarianwatch where you can sign a petition for the freedom of speech in Hungary.

We think that this is a violation of the whole idea of the Diversity of cultures and the spirit of the ITI.
We feel alarmed at this news and will follow the situation. Please help to spread the news around in your media.

Dear ITI Centres,

In the following we are turning to you to give accurate information about the recent appointment of a theatre leader in Hungary that has shocked all theatre professionals in the country, and also provoked an international reaction being mentioned by German, Austrian, Belgian and French newspapers.

As the appointment of the current director of the Új Színház (New Theatre) expired, the city of Budapest, as supervisor of the named theatre announced a tender for the post. Two handed in their applications: the current director, István Márta, and György Dörner, actor. After being familiarised by the proposal of the Board of Trustees, the Mayor of the city takes his decision.  Four of the Trustees are prestigious theatrical professionals. Two further Trustees represent the State and the City that subsidises the theatre.  The Board supported the application of the current director with four votes, as it was detailed and well developed, in which there was enclosed a budget and also letters of intent of theatres from abroad willing to cooperate with Új Színház in the future.

The other candidate handed in his ideas drafted in few pages; a political pamphlet containing extremist right views, unfortunately in lack of any theatrical, professional content and in which he names as superintendent a Hungarian playwright, former Member of Parliament, leader of an extremist right political party, current editor-in-chief and publisher of an extremist right weekly periodical. In addition, the applicant has named several artists as future co-operators – like Jirzi Menzel and other renowned artists – who were not informed about his projects at all.  Later, those named in the application have protested in letters against the procedure, explaining that they never intended to cooperate with the applicant.

The Mayor of Budapest appointed this latter candidate as new director of the Új Színház, without justifying his decision. Based on the above, we are afraid that this decision was not professional, but a political one.

Numerous theatre professionals – both rightists and leftists – have expressed their objection against this biased decision in articles, letters, video messages, and also in the demonstration organised in the front of the building of the Új Színház on the 22nd Oct. 2011. All those who expressed their opinions formulate their utter disagreement with placing people on the top of state organisations who gained notoriety for their extremist right views. The Mayor has not reconsidered his decision up to this moment, on the contrary, he condemns those who are reluctant to place any confidence in the new leadership of the Új Theatre.

Hungarian Centre of the ITI, Executive Committee

 

Új Színház/Budapest künftig mit rechtsradikaler Intendanz  09/11/2011, 10:24

In einem offenen Brief hat sich der Vorstand des ungarischen ITI-Zentrums an die Mitglieder der Weltorganisation gewandt und seine Besorgnis ausgedrückt, dass Führungspositionen in staatlichen Strukturen mit Personen besetzt werden, die für ihre offen rechtsradikalen Überzeugungen bekannt sind.

Die vom Budapester Bürgermeister gegen das Votum der Findungskommission vorgenommene Berufung des Schauspielers György Dörner zum neuen Leiter des Budapester Új Színház (Neues Theater), der seinerseits den Dramatiker István Csurka in die Leitungsposition holen will, sorgt für eine Welle des Protestes im In- und Ausland. Die Pläne der neuen Intendanz sehen die Schaffung eines nationalistisch ausgerichteten Hauses unter dem neuen Namen „Heimatfront-Theater“ vor, das keinen Platz mehr bietet für die „liberalen Seichtheiten der amerikanischen und angelsächsischen Unterhaltungsindustrie“ und Bollwerk sein soll gegen das „sozial-liberale Joch“ unter dem die ungarische Nation leidet, wie Dörner erklärt. Man wolle künftig nur noch Autoren auf dem Spielplan dulden, die den nationalen Werten dienen. Alle in Dörners Konzept genannten potentiellen Kooperationspartner, darunter auch das deutsche ITI-Mitglied Euro Theater Central Bonn, haben sich auf das entschiedenste von der neuen Leitung des Új Színház distanziert und jegliche Zusammenarbeit ausgeschlossen.

Das ITI-Aktionskomitee für die Rechte der Künstler sieht die Entwicklung am Budapester Új Színház als Verletzung der Idee der UNESCO-Konvention für den Schutz und die Förderung der Vielfalt kultureller Ausdrucksformen und der völkerverbindenden Grundsätze des Internationalen Theaterinstituts. Es verfolgt die Vorkommnisse in Ungarn mit Sorge und Empörung und hat alle ITI-Zentren aufgefordert, den Nachrichten und Meldungen die über diesen Fall zugänglich sind, größtmögliche Verbreitung zu geben und sich den Protesten anzuschließen.

http://pusztaranger.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/gute-nacht-ungarn/

http://pusztaranger.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/rechtsextremer-theaterdirektor-in-budapest/

http://derstandard.at/1317019904035/Ungarn-Weiterhin-Streit-um-rechtsextreme-Theaterchefs

http://derstandard.at/1317019679988/Budapest-Empoerung-ueber-rechtsextreme-Theater-Intendanz

http://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/theaterinbudapest102.html

http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/0,1518,790622,00.html

http://www.dradio.de/dlf/sendungen/kulturheute/1587729/

 

Attacks on « Sur le concept du visage du fils de Dieu » by Romeo Castellucci, at the Théâtre de la Ville/Paris    08/11/2011, 15:59

Again, we see attacks on the artistic freedom by political rights-wing fundamentalists. Here follows a press release from the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, followed by an e-mail address for support…

Support Committee for Freedom to Present the Romeo Castellucci’s Production at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris
Here below is the press release of the Théâtre de la Ville  (Paris), after the incidents that happened following the representations of Romeo Castellucci’s play.

Since its première on the 20th October, the performances of « Sur le concept du visage du fils de Dieu » by Romeo Castellucci, at the Théâtre de la Ville, have given rise to serious events.
An organised group of fundamentalist Christians proclaiming to be linked to the Action française (a far right French movement) has been trying to prevent access to the Théâtre de la Ville by blocking its doors, attacking and threatening the public, spraying them with oil, throwing tear gas, eggs and stink bombs while their accomplices, militants of Renouveau Français (another far right movement), enter the theatre, interrupt the start of the performance, occupying the stage and presenting their battle cry, “Enough of Christianophobia!”.
L’AGRIF (association against anti-white and anti-christian racism) had demanded that the production be legally prohibited, but this was dismissed by the Tribunal de Grande Instance on 18 October 2011.
The police stand every day at the entrance to the theatre and we have been obliged to call them inside several times in order to evacuate those occupying the stage, as we are careful to avoid confrontation between these invaders and a public outraged by such actions.
The staff of the theatre is determined and effective in these distressing circumstances and despite numerous incidents and interruptions, the performances have been able to go ahead so far.
That these groups of violent and organised individuals defending religion against a so-called “christianophobia” would be linked to religious or political movements, needs investigation. In any case, this behaviour for us is evidence of fanaticism, that enemy of freedom and the Enlightenment which France, in its most noble periods, has fought so well against. The theatre has very often been a decisive space for these struggles.
We cannot stand by and do nothing. Such actions are serious; they show a new, clearly fascist direction. These groups of individuals hasten to automatically declare “blasphemous” productions which are not directed against believers, nor against Christianity. Theatre critics of important media, not making any mystery of their Christian faith, praised the production without reserve at its presentation in Avignon. We invite you also to read the statement by Romeo Castellucci, published in the programme distributed every night to the public, in order to understand his artistic intentions.
We do not intend to give way to these hideous threats and the production will be maintained despite all attempts at intimidation. We invite the pubic exercise its freedom to attend. The production, co-produced by the Théâtre de la Ville, will be performed until the 30th October after which it will recommence, in the context of our partnership, at the Centquatre from 2 to 6 November.
It is worth mentioning that the production has already been presented without any difficulty in Germany, Belgium, Norway, the UK, Spain, Russia, the Netherlands, Greece, Switzerland, Poland and Italy and that it is only in France where such demonstrations of intolerance have taken place.

We have therefore created a support committee addressed to all people of good will– and this expression is particularly welcome – in order to defend, beyond Romeo Castellucci’s production, the freedom of expression, the freedom of artists and freedom of thought, against this new fascism.
Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota
Director and the staff of the Théâtre de la Ville.

Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota
Director and the staff of the Théâtre de la Ville.

Support can be sent via e-mail to the following address :
comite-de-soutien-castellucci(at)theatredelaville.com

* * *
Initial signatories :

Patrice Chéreau, theatre director
Stéphane Hessel
Michel Piccoli, actor
Sylvie Testud, actor
Sasha Waltz, choreographer, Berlin
Arnaud Desplechin, filmmaker
Luc Bondy, theatre director
Jean-Michel Ribes, writer, theatre director
Bulle Ogier, actor
Barbet Schroeder, filmmaker
Juliette Binoche, actor
Elodie Bouchez, actor
Claude Régy, theatre director
Christophe Girard, President, Centquatre
Joseph Melillo, Director, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York
Stéphane Lissner, Director, la Scala, Milan
Dominique Mercy, Director, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch
Brigitte Jaques Wajeman, theatre director
Jean-Claude Milner, philosopher
Pascal Bonitzer, filmmaker
Jacques-Alain Miller, psychanalyste
Judith Miller, philosopher
Marc Olivier Dupin, composer
Peter de Caluwe, General Director, la Monnaie/De Munt, Brussels
Christian Longchamp, Assistant Artistic Director and Director of Dramaturgy, la Monnaie/ De Munt, Brussels
Jean-Luc Choplin, Director, Théâtre du Châtelet
Yorgos Loukos, Director, Festival of Athens
Simon McBurney, theatre director, UK
José Manuel Goncalves, Director, Centquatre
François Le Pillouer, President, SYNDEAC
Lloyd Newson, choreographer, UK
Anne Delbée, writer and theatre director
Jack Ralite, former minister
Ushio Amagatsu, choreographer, Japan
Georges Banu, Honorary President of the International Association of Theatre Critics
Monique Veaute, President of the Foundation RomaEuropa
Fabrizio Grifasi, Director, RomaEuropa
Claus Peymann, Director, Berliner Ensemble

 

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