Art & Culture

Private Theatre owners demand Culture Minister resign after being snubbed from subsidies

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Owners of private theatres in Prague have asked Culture Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) to resign because out of the sum of 1.07 billion crowns for culture nothing will go to the sector that does not receive any subsidies, the radio station Frekvence 1 said today.

The appeal has been signed by a producer and the owner of the Prague Divadlo Broadway theatre, Oldrich Lichtenberg.

Frekvence 1 said other Prague private entitites were joining the appeal.

Zaoralek has dismissed the criticism, arguing that the government would also discuss the support for businesses in culture.

On Thursday, the government approved a package to help culture. It will set aside 1.07 billion crowns.

Out of the sum, 440 million will go to independent art, 300 million to regional culture and another 300 million to the 29 ministry-subsidized organizations, such as the National Theatre, National Museum, and National Gallery.

Further 30 million should be allocated to the creation of a program in support of access to culture from digital media.

The Culture Ministry will put up subsidy programs in which financial support will be provided in the weeks to come.

According to Zaoralek, the main aim of the proposed measures is to preserve the professional culture infrastructure that is of a non-profit character and this is why it has no financial reserves.

Lichtenberg said in the appeal Zaoralek might cause a complete collapse of the segment of culture that did not get any subsidies.

“You will destroy many theatres, festivals, art agencies, organizers, producers and, above all, tens of thousands of actors, singers and all other professions that are bound to the former,” the appeal said.

“In an unusual way, you virtually squander public means on hypertrophied institutions and your proteges. This is why you should immediately step down. Let someone else try and reprieve the damage you have caused,” it added.

Zaoralek has dismissed the allegations. He said in the first stage, he managed to get money for the non-profit part of culture.

“Lichtenberg’s allegations that I am helping my proteges is absurd and false,” he added.

The Association of Independent Theatres has praised the approved government package.

“This is a considerable help from the state. Obviously, the ministry is analyzing the situation, trying to react in a comprehensive way,” the Association said in a press release.

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