Category Archives: Eastern and Western European States, USA, Canada

Insulted. Belarus(sia) – A Play on the Belarusian Revolution

Andrei Kureichik, the well-known Belarusian playwright, tells the story of the first month of the Belarusian revolution and seeks to understand how the Belarusian revolution differs from Prague in 1968, Russia in 1991 and Ukraine in 2014. International theaters, groups, schools, and individuals came together in September and October to present readings, videos, films, and discussions of Kureichik’s play.

The Forum Collective,  an initiative to produce and present multidisciplinary political art works and journalism, has a recording of a live streamed performance, directed by Kieran Beccia and translated by John Freedman:  Insulted. Belarus(sia)

Between November 17 and 19 Howlround presents a series of livestreaming performances and conversations at theatres in the U.S. 

Culture NGOs targeted in Slovenia

Non-governmental organizations in Slovenia are increasingly targeted by the radical right Slovenian Democratic Party government’s restrictive measures. 18 NGOs (among them associations for film, literature, dance, fine art, the MASKA Institute and the Legal Informaton Centre for NGos) were requested by the Ministry of Culture to vacate their premises in the building at No. 6 Metelkova Street in Ljubljana, a place with a hertitage of civil society movements. In 1993 cultural workers, artists and activists occupied the former command headquarters of the Yugoslav National Army barracks in Slovenia and made it a home to non-governmental organizations, collectives and individuals engaged in independent cultural and artistic production and research.

On October 20 the NGOs stated: “The reason given is that the Ministry supposedly needs the premises for its own use and intends to renovate them, although the budget is not slated to provide funds for such renovation until 2023, and the Ministry has not offered tenants replacement premises, nor has it entered into any sort of dialogue with us. The termination of the leases came to our addresses unannounced and on the very day when the SARS-CoV-2 virus epidemic and curfew were declared.” 

“We hereby inform the Ministry of Culture and the government of the Republic of Slovenia that we have no intention of leaving No. 6 Metelkova and that we will resist with all possible means these attacks on civil society, independent culture, and democracy.”

ACAR calls to sign the petition of the Slovenian Culture NGOs.

Create or Decrease?

ITI Sweden, ASSITEJ Sweden and the Swedish Performing Arts Coalition are presenting a panel conversation about freedom of speech and democracy. The event is on November 9, 2 pm CET in the framework of Swedstage Online , this years corona version of the Swedish performing arts festival. The panel: Nedjma Chaouche, Freelance journalist and facilitator, Nasim Aghili, Director and playwright , Louise Frisk, Secretary General Clowns without Borders Sweden, Astrid Menasanch Tobieson, Actor and director.  The questions: Can art be used as resistance? Can art break down walls? Can art pave the way forward? Swedstage has also asked several of their peers around the world for short video statements which will be presented online.

After the panel discussion there will be a live chat with Srirak Plipat, the Executive Director of Freemuse.

Hungary: Free SZFE!

The Hungarian government continues to expand its influence on universities and cultural institutions in the country. A reform is planned to transform the Theater and Film University in Budapest (SZFE) into a foundation close to the right-wing national government of Victor Orbán and to better adapt the challenges of the market for the whole educational sector. An adjustment process originally planned for six months was shortened to three months and the university senate was excluded from all structural discussions by the supervisory board of the future foundation appointed by the responsible Ministry of Innovation and Technology, writes Anna Lakos, the long-standing Hungarian ITI director. The supervisory board is headed by the director of the Hungarian National Theatre Attila Vidnyánszky, an actor of the National Theatre, a film producer and the directors of two oil companies.
The occupation of the university by its students to protest against the complete loss of independence, experienced solidarity from theatrical artists from all over the world (#FreeSZFE). Here is the text of the SZFE “Magna Charta Universitatum”. The “Call for Academic Freedom in Hungary”  has been signed by more than 100 playwrights. 

Public sources: New York Times online, Nachtkritik.de

Serebrennikov Convicted of Fraud

On Friday, June 26, the Moscow judge gave Kirill Serebrennikov a suspended sentence to three years probation and a three-year ban on leading any state-backed cultural institution in Russia. However, the judge said that the defendants would be required to repay nearly 129 million rubles in compensation for the money allegedly embezzled. Co-defendants Yury Itin and Konstantin Malobrodsky were also found guilty of conspiring to mislead the culture ministry for “personal enrichment” and also sentenced to probation. The fourth defendant, Sofya Apfelbaum, was convicted of negligence.

Artists around the world expressed their solidarity, an online petition in Germany got 57.000 subscribers.  The representative of the EU foreign service Peter Stano and Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance Bärbel Kofler expressed their demand for a fair and transparent trial. 

Sources: The Guradian, NY Times, German Federal Office, TASS