Saturday, December 22, 2012

HUNGARY: Arts Crisis Continues

This video may be "read" in English
through YouTube's caption function.

Colleagues in Hungary tell a story of funding cuts to independent companies in Hungary due to budgetary maneuvers and bureaucratic delays. At this point, the FESZ Secretariat says, it appears there will be no funding in 2012, which has led to the suspension of work by companies such as Pintér Béla Company, Krétakör, and Sputnyik under the direction of Viktor Bodó. FESZ is an acronym for an independent theatre association. A video released on YouTube by the FESZ Secretariat recounts the difficulties of companies and the impact on individual artists. Spoken in Hungarian, the video has captions available through YouTube's caption service.

Readers of this site may recall postings from 2010 that addressed the ongoing crisis in Hungarian theatre. The press release from FESZ is reprinted below, in shortened form. Szilvia Nagy may be contacted for more information at


The Hungarian independent performers’ scene has been facing serious hardships every year as subsidies received from the state have been erratic or delayed.

Organizations still waiting for subsidies for 2012 had to face the fact that cuts announced by the Hungarian Department of Economics on October 5 also endanger their regular yearly support.
On November 8, the official government website announced that there would be further cuts from the already adjudged (and already decreased) operational subsidies.

Up to this date, the companies concerned still have not received any official declaration on the rate of these cuts. A short announcement let independent performers know that this rate would be even higher than the one mentioned on the government’s website: instead of by one third, support will be cut by 36.51 percent.
By now, most of the independent companies are on the verge of not being to function any further: according to FESZ’s (Association of Independent Theatres) survey, almost half (45 percent) of the organizations waiting for support have no reserves. If subsidies are not awarded by the end of the year, the proportion of independent companies without reserves will grow to 90 percent. One third (32%) of the companies have already had to take out loans in order to be able to carry on with their operations.

The Hungarian government’s unlawful course of action, through the delays and cuts in funding, one-sidedly impairs the freedom of artistic expression and also violates citizens’ constitutional right to self-education, access to culture, and the possibility to choose from a palette of different cultural products and experiences.

In our grave situation, we ask for the solidarity of the international public. Publish and broadcast it through your media, let your audiences know, that post-Soviet Hungary’s most lively and progressive artists, who have therefore also been the most ardent supporters of a democratic value system, are forced to discontinue their operations from January 2013.

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