Goose at the String Theater, as well as the Center for Experimental Theater (CED), which still includes HaDivadlo and closes the U stolku Theater, have recently gone through a rather turbulent period. What's the atmosphere here?
Atmosphere in Boss is now good, everyone is waiting and taking advantage of the position of artistic director, an award-winning director, Anicka Davidova (former Petrželková, editor's note) whose engagement, as well as the involvement of new playwright Martin Sladec, will begin in January 1, 2019 Both artists are intensely preparing the theater's new artistic direction, including the nearest station.
On his arrival, I am also looking forward to myself because I took on various functions after leaving Vladimir Moravec. In addition to being a playwright until recently, I have been artistic director of Husy na provázku for almost a year and I am director of the Center for Experimental Theater. I'm looking forward to some relief.
How did you manage the attack?
It was a ride on Tiger. We had a hard time, but I think it was very successful. The curative celebrates its 50th anniversary with a grand all-day event between the House of Arts and the House of Lords of Fanal, an extensive retrospective exhibition, two major festivals in Prague and Špilberk. In the new season, in collaboration with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Brno, we organized an event at Besední dům to mark the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Republic. It recently debuted America's production, which is a great answer.
Since the beginning of the season, we have also started a new round of debates called Cafe Republic – the last one discussed by the President of the Constitutional Court, Pavel Rychetský, with the representative of the Slovak Republic, Iveta Radičová. Now we have the debut of Dostoyevsky Player, directed by Machala Hába. A new Milan Uhde game is already preparing for Juraj Nvota. This year has been full of hard work, and I think I can boldly say it's a hilarious job.
What about the set? After all, it started with the group petition event and almost all the staff …
The set is stabilized, the atmosphere in it is good. Otherwise, it is in HaDivadle, who in the contest supported his own candidate for the post of director of the CED. So far there is a hangover there, because it happened differently.
There was also a letter in which they demanded a detachment from CEDU …
Yes I try to be friendly, patient and open, I feel like talking to them. However, there are also significant financial difficulties. And so we come to the current issues throughout the CED. HaDivadlo is financially in a strong less. We have partially managed to hide subsidies from the Ministry of Culture, but new productions are emerging, which, of course, brings new costs – by the end of the year now it seems like a big loss. In the competition, all applicants agreed that the entire institution is underfunded. Finally, even the selection committee itself, made up of experts and representatives of the city council.
How does HaDivold's deficit manifest itself practically?
Every day, as a director, I encounter several problems. We do not have enough money to make productions. While our budget was slightly improved last year, we remain half of it producing productions in a similar type of theater. This is a terrible number. We have to pay for it not just for the director but for the entire creative team working in production for two to three months! At the same time, we have to make a scene, fantasies, buy objects and so on. We do not have our own workshops or a tailoring, so we have to buy everything from outside.
So, how do you solve this?
We are forced to pay artists fees lower than other theaters. Which, of course, begins to show that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get quality content creators here. If we want to continue to be a leading organization that will perform progressive theater, we must be able to engage high-quality artists, but we must be able to pay them properly. This is a huge problem. Which, however, is even worse – we do not have enough money for our own employees. Everyone is ranked with us at least a smaller class than the employees in the same positions in other theaters.
Does this affect all positions?
Yes – from management to coach to actor. Table wages in our case do not even take into account the actual cost of labor. In other organizations, it is made up of various bonuses or rewards, but we simply do not have money for them. Some DEC positions are missing completely. To save money, people accumulate jobs, they get more work, which means not only that they are underpaid, but that they are still overworked, tired, and overloaded for a long time. And then they leave. And we have to learn new ones, but after a while they come out again. And so again and again. It's a vicious circle.
How much does actor Husy on the rope really win?
Varies a lot depending on the class and the degree of classification. It varies from twenty thousand gross to thirty thousand gross for the oldest and most experienced actor.
How many percent would you need to increase your budget next year to avoid the same problems or to pay your staff better?
From the beginning I try to act in synergy with the city. During the selection process, I told the DEC Officer that I would prepare a report in which I will present how much money the organization is losing. I drafted this report and submitted it to representatives of city administration – the first senior management of the city, now to the newly emerging. All competent politicians have an accurate analysis available, in which there is a clear disagreement about where and how much money the DEC is lacking. The total amount is 11.6 million kronor.
Not all CED?
Yes But it is not a big breakthrough. It's just about creating normal creative conditions in today's operations and maintaining a balanced budget. This amount covers an acute deficiency.
And how did the representatives of the city react?
I was confident that City Hall representatives were deeply aware of CED's problems and considered solving their underfunding as one of the city's priorities. That pleases me and I really appreciate it. I realize that politicians now face a complex task in shaping the 2019 budget. However, it is such a serious and growing problem that DEC funding needs to be a public issue as it is closely related to the city's cultural policy.
The CED is waiting for a deep and much needed transformation …
Exactly Since January 1st, the new artistic leadership of the Goose on the String Theater has begun. This is a very fundamental change for the theater. In the forty-seven days, the U Theater has been operating for twenty years. A new studio is created to focus on experimental theater with overlapping in other types of art. It will be a creative inspiration workshop and a natural bridge to the baseless scene. Since March, Matyas Dlab is the artistic director, Lukáš Jiřička as a playwright and Soňa Borodáčová as a producer.
The aim is to establish a project center, which will be the focal point of innovative performing arts, capable of establishing long-term cooperation with the domestic and external scenario. We want to create a space for CET to meet established artists and newcomers, both official and underground. At the same time, it is also absolutely necessary to restructure the entire department of director and management of the CED.
So, do you have politicians guarantee that they will increase your budget by the required 12 million? Or can you imagine it will be less? What if they did not add anything to you?
I can not imagine this at all. Or to say the opposite: everything can be imagined, but it should have its consequences. This can be expected as a result of CED limitations. We would have to cut premieres, introduce less traffic and thus less self-sufficiency, we would have to abolish the transformation of the CED. But that would be an interference in the very essence and meaning of the entire DEC. It is a unique organization that has the potential to be a determining cultural power not only in the city or republic, but also on the international stage.
The CED provides tremendous service to the city. He co-produces his genius loci, concentrates on a young, purposeful audience and in the long run supports original works, new authors and artists. At the same time, it is an important spring and a seed of talent. Every year we will play 600 performances and events, which is a number comparable to the National Theater. Therefore, all these issues are obviously related to cultural policy in the field of living art in Brno …
Are you all angry?
No – I believe we are now on the threshold of something beautiful and extraordinary. It is a unique opportunity to rebuild and rebuild in Brno something of such quality and uniqueness that the city can be proud of it. We have a great team and we look forward to the next things.