British theatre artists: Open, liberal theatre under fire in Hungary

Posted by Administrator (wb_admin) on 27/01/2012
2011-13 >> Europe&USA&Canada

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 Several Hungarian writers have withdrawn their plays from the theatre in protest.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
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
Neil Bartlett, 
Gregory Doran, 
Richard Eyre, 
Kevin Macdonald, 
Trevor Nunn, 
Indhu Rubasingham, 
Tim Supple, 
Richard Bean, Howard Brenton, 
Moira Buffini
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.

Last changed: 27/01/2012 at 14:36

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