news archive

ACAR at 34th ITI World Congress (update)
04/12/2014, 15:50

20141118_120629The 34 ITI World Congress in Yerevan is over. ACAR will go on and was happy to welcome new people during the meetings. We aim to have one contact person for artists rights at every ITI centre. The official congress report will take some time. In between we make the keynote for the congress opening by Alfons Karabuda, UN Human Rights Council (Photo left) is accessible. As well we have some motions and declarations which have been adopted by the congress: the declaration on artists’ visa and the motion to support the consolidated UNESCO report on the status of the artists which ACAR both brought to the congress. See also the congress declaration “On the international trade negotiations concerning free intellectual exchange and their implications for the performing arts” (English and French).


Helsinki censors Ceci nèst pas by Dries Verhoeven at Baltic Circle Festival     03/12/2014, 11:10

The International Theatre Festival Baltic Circle was forced to censor the final scene of the piece Ceci n’est pas… (This is not my body) by Dries Verhoeven at Lasipalatsi square in Helsinki on Sunday November 16. The police denied permission to present the artwork in its original form. “As a festival festival director, I am ashamed that Helsinki is the only one of the eight cities where this artwork has been censored” – Eva Neklyaeva, the director of the Baltic Circle Festival.


ACAR at 34th ITI World Congress     10/11/2014, 12:41

ACAR is an active part of the 34th World Congress programm in Yerevan/Armenia. We have invited an UN expert on Human Rights Council as keyword speaker and an open seminar will inform about recent obstacles and challenges in artists mobility.

General Assembly
Keynote: Alfons Karabuda (expert to the UN Human Rights Council) introduces the UN Special Report ““The Right to Freedom of Artistic Expression and Creation”.

Friday, 21st November, 11 PM
ACAR and CIDC: Open Seminar on Artists Mobility: obstacles and challenges
The aim of the Seminar is to inform about ongoing initiatives and programs to improve the artistic collaboration between theatre artists worldwide. We want to discuss the following questions: What are today the main structural obstacles for artistic mobility and international collaboration beside travel funding? How do institutions, organizations and artists deal with these challenges? How can ITI support the international cooperation of theatre artists?
Introductions by Fabio Tolledi (It), Thomas Engel (Ge), Kevin Bittermann/David Diamond (US), Laurent van Kote (FR / French Culture Ministry)

Committee meetings:
Wednesday, 19. November 9.00 andThursday , 20 November, 14:30.

Recommended participation:
Tuesday, 18 November 16:15 Meeting with Armenian theatre artists from the independent scene (organized by International Playwright Forum).


Solidarity with activists in Hong Kong     06/10/2014, 15:42

Via the ITI International Playwright Forum (IPF) we received a staggering report on the recent events on the streets of Hong Kong.

Dear friends of IPF,
I am writing this email in tears, and tears can’t express how heart breaking Hong Kong people are at the moment.
As you might aware, HK is in a critical situation where our students and citizens have been fighting for a true universal suffrage in Hong Kong in a non-violent and peaceful movement. Maybe you’ve witnessed through the news on how police have used tear gas and pepper spray at our unarmed students, how peaceful, polite and civilized our protesters have been.
Today, lots of gangsters suddenly flocked to the protest area using violence against our students, many of them, some teenage students, were hurt.
Sexual harassment was reported everywhere, “You came out to protest and you should be prepared to be sexually harassed.” A gangster shouted at a sobbing young girl in school uniform.
But police turned a blind eye to their violence, they either just stood there or only react with mild separation. Some videos shown they released the arrested gangsters in a taxi or subway. The citizen who was beaten up was arrested at the hospital when he was waiting for medication. Some people found messages about gangsters/pro-govt groups paying people to beat the non violent protesters. A student said in the news interview, “6 people surrounded me and beat me up. there are lots of police around but they do nothing to stop them. they blame me as the one who provoked. how come our city became like this? police are suppose to protect us.”
police + gangsters, they play a big drama in front of the media and citizens, and all the blame was put on the non-violent protesters. that’s how ugly our government is in an attempt to disperse the peaceful movement without listening to her people.
I urge for global solidarity with Hong Kong people in fighting for our basic right to a true universal suffrage which is promised during handover. I urge for global solidarity to request the Hong Kong government to stop any violence on unarmed students and citizens. I urge for global solidarity to free us all from violence, fear and corruption. I urge the whole world to be our witness, to keep an eye on what they are doing, to stop them from hurting their own people.

If you can, please support us by whatever way immediately. Go to your local embassy to express your support, requests the HK government to stop violence, wear a yellow ribbon, open an umbrella, invite people to support us in solidarity, or whatever way you can think of.

May justice and peace be with Hong Kong.
More on the movement:


Activities against Tibor Navracsics for new EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, and Citizenship     06/10/2014, 15:20

Many European culture organisations and political groups made clear statements against the nomination of the Hungarian politician Navracsics to the new Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, and citizenship. The “Stop Tibor Navracsics” campaign on has collected 1850 supporters. Update: MEPs rejected Navracsics, but he could still be commissioner for other resorts.
The Hungarian Association of Independent Performing Artists wrote an open letter to the Members of the European Paliament which we received via the International Theatre Critics Association (IACT):

An open letter to Jean-Claude Juncker and Members of the European Parliament regarding the designation of Mr Tibor Navracsics as EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, and Citizenship

Dear Mr Juncker,
Dear Members of the European Parliament,

We, the undersigned professional and representative association of independent performing artists with culture, education, civic initiatives, and human rights in our focus, would normally consider it a very positive step and a great honour that a representative of our country may fulfill the post of EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, and Citizenship.
Under the conditions prevailing in Hungary, however, and with hearings just around the corner for your Commissioners-designate, we, concerned European citizens and independent Hungarian artists, would like to ask you a few questions regarding the role of the EU Commissioner for Culture, Education, Youth, and Citizenship.

  1. What kind of citizenship policy do you expect from the representative of a member state, whose government has in the past four years
    ➢ removed the word “republic” from our country’s name in order to pave the way for its illiberal democracy;
    ➢ curtailed the rights of its citizens significantly: seized their private pensions, deprived them of legal certainty, erased their constitution and replaced it with a Basic Law open to interpretation;
    ➢ turned most of the Fourth Estate, the public media, into its own bullhorn; – expelled women from its own ranks, and reduced their number in Parliament to an unacceptable level;
    ➢ – considered the elderly, the gay, and most markedly the Roma, second-rate citizens, while in many citizenship issues allies itself – to the point of falsifying history – with the extreme right, who regularly communicated in an anti-Semitic, and homophobic tone in Parliament, and terrorizes the Roma all around the country;
    ➢ dispassionately tolerated more than 40% of families with children going hungry, or living lives unworthy of human beings, while spending hundreds of thousands of euro on pushing and marketing their own political and private agendas;
    ➢ terrorised NGOs working for the most vulnerable, most disenfranchised citizens through public slander and unexpected police raids designed to intimidate, and by suspending their VAT numbers, thereby rendering their much-needed work very difficult, if not impossible;
    ➢ redesigned the election system to favour the ruling party in such a manner that the upcoming municipal elections are hardly worthy of that name?
  2. What kind of youth and education policy do you expect from the representative of a member state, whose government has in the past four years

➢ nationalised education, took away school autonomy, and forced centralised lowbrow, populist school books on all schools;
➢ lowered the compulsory school-leaving age from 18 to 16 years and dramatically reduced tuition-free places at universities, making them even harder to get by setting the condition that subsidised students must stay in the country for 3-6 years after graduation;
➢ replaced authentic unions, organised from the bottom up, with the National Teachers Corps – reminiscent of Mussolini’s authoritarian corporatism – making all teachers automatic members without their permission?

  1. What kind of cultural policy do you expect from the representative of a member state, whose government has in the past four years
    ➢ suspended Hungarian film production, and then placed all of the resources and all decision-making in this field in the hands of a single person;
    ➢ placed the management of almost all provincial theatres into the hands of its carefully contra-selected political appointees (all men), leaving devastation behind in the some of the formerly most prestigious houses, and then extended the same method to most Budapest theatres;
    ➢ stifled the entire independent theatre sector, while throwing money at its cronies (including a theatre director who won his position with an application containing elements of neo-Nazi ideology), and chooses to support a sausage festival rather than the work of internationally acclaimed independent companies;
    ➢ illegally set up a so-called Arts Academy, which it includes in its Basic Law, appointing as its president a man who admits to subsidising artists based on their national sentiment and loyalty rather than the artistic quality of their work, and who it then rewards by giving him control over the entire Hungarian cultural policy, along with a practically unlimited budget;
    ➢ appointed a director to the Kunsthalle of Contemporary Fine Arts, whose creed includes thoughts like “art should not criticise”, and who dismisses all contemporary fine art trends in Western Europe as a “bubble about to burst”, and banishes them from his museum;
    ➢ appointed, and despite heavy protests kept in his post “the Prime Minister’s special emissary for raising national awareness of the rule of the law, and for preserving and developing Hungarian cultural values” – a man, who draws attention to himself with his dilettantism, bad taste, frivolous products, and his cheap, recurring anti-Semitic and homophobic rants and discriminatory ideologies?

Perhaps you have heard that in the Hungarian Parliament an MP of the extreme right party Jobbik was appointed Commissioner for Culture and Education. The clear message this decision sent was that Hungarian Members of Parliament regard this portfolio as the least important of all. Does your Commissioner-designate not reflect the same philosophy? In the context of current Hungarian politics, would the appointment of any Hungarian MEP to this post not reflect the same?
Please, consider our questions thoroughly, and pass your vote accordingly, as to who should fill the post of Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, and Citizenship of the European Union.

Yours respectfully,
The Hungarian Association of Independent Performing Artists


Campaign to include culture in the UN Millenium Goals for Sustainable Development     30/09/2014, 16:55

Global expenditure on development over the next 15 years will be defined by the final goal document to be agreed by UN Member States in coming months. If culture is not mentioned, it will be extremely difficult for countries to elaborate policies and provide funds for projects that rely on culture’s role as a driver and an enabler of sustainable development. ‘Culture’ was completely absent from the Millennium Development Goals document. ITI and many other culture NGOs have signed already, you can join the campaign online.


HELP US HELP GAZA     16/08/2014, 09:29

Via ITI Sweden we received an urgent call for help from the Theatre Day Productions in Gaza. Please, read the letter and spread the information.

We have made a plan. Rafat (artistic  director) in Khan Yunis (south) and Mohammed (deputy artistic director) of Theatre Day Productions in Gaza City are participating with groups who are cooking for the homeless… for those people who have left the rubble of their homes and are sleeping on the grounds around the Gaza Strip.
We have spoken to both of them today. They need money for WATER, RICE, VEGETABLES & MEAT plus BEDDING, DISINFECTANT MATERIALS, & ANTI-INFLAMATION MEDICINES.
We have calculated that a hot meal will cost 1 EURO for each person.
Theatre Day Productions opens their account to receive contributions to feed the homeless in Gaza. The money collected will be sent to the TDP volunteers who are already working in the areas where they live and who will further identify where help is needed.
Mohammed and Rafat say they are keeping the names of the people they are feeding to make sure they don’t lose anyone and to reach more of those in desperate need.
The enormous destruction of the war in Gaza has left thousands of families homeless. They are camping in the streets and sheltering in gardens without anything… all possessions gone. Our friends and colleagues in Gaza, actors, directors, artists, and designers are out there, trying to reach out to those in need.

Help us help them.

Stichting JJ Theatre Days
ING Bank
, Account Holder Stichting JJ Theatre Days, Hinderstraat 46, 6531 KK Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Bank Account:
Account No: 7228131, Swift (BIC) Code: INGBNL2A,IBAN – NL56 INGB 0007228131
For people in Palestine contact TDP directly
Henriette – 0599 809688 or 0526 951801, or Francis – 054-657-2359


Thank you.
Stichting JJ Theatre Days (NL) & Theatre Day Productions (Gaza)


Teatro Valle Occupato have been given an ultimatum to leave Rome’s oldest Theatre     08/08/2014, 15:00

Teatro Valle Occupato, awarded with Princes-Margriet-Award of the European Cultureal Foundation this year, proposed a new model of a city theatre for the next three years based on an open and transparent process involving the City, the Teatro di Roma and the 5600 members of the Fondazione Bene Comune (the Foundation for the Commons). Now, the theatre is close before eviction by police. AVAAZ started a campaign, please, sign here


Greece: Nothing is coherent and consistent any more    07/08/2014, 17:22

Via the Danish ITI centre (thank you, Susanne) we received a report about the present situation of theatre and theatre artists in Greece.  Read “Greek Art in State of Emergency” by Elli Papakonstantinou, artistic director of “Vyrsodepseio” network and performance space, Athens/Greece.

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