The government’s new legislation on theatres would handle decade-long problems of the sector, including discrepancies in funding, in a democratic manner, Attila Vidnyánszky, director of Budapest’s National Theatre, told news channel m1 on Monday.
Under the new legislation, theatres could choose to be financed wholly by the state, by the local government or jointly by the two, he said.
the current system was “unfair” as the Budapest municipality gave 20 percent less funding on average to the city’s theatres than other local governments.
There are discrepancies between other cities’ practices too, he said.
Almost 80 percent of theatres’ funding comes from the human resources ministry while the body has no say in their inner affairs, he said.
Answering a question, Vidnyánszky said the ministry expects transparency from the theatres “but I wouldn’t be frightened even if [the ministry] was to name its priorities regarding topics … Why not? The point of cultural policy is to outline the values it stands for,” Vidnyánszky said, adding that the freedom of theatres should remain intact.
Last Friday, government spokesman István Hollik told a press conference that a sexual harrassment scandal at Budapest’s Katona József Theatre, which involved acclaimed stage director Péter Gothar, has shone a light on the flaws of current funding and operating regulations.
The government sees it “unacceptable” that it can only take part in funding but have no say in operational matters, he said.
Under current legislation, the government cannot fire the theatre’s head, Gábor Máté, even though such a case would warrant it, Hollik said.
The government will not cut cultural funding or slash any other resources of the sector, he added. The National Culture fund will not be scrapped but renewed and improved, he said.