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Theatre festival depends on foreign funds

One of Slovakia's most famous theatre festivals, Divadelná Nitra, opens from October 2 to 8, no thanks to the Ministry of Culture. All of the money donated to the festival has come from foreign cultural institutions and sponsors, and festival organisers say that without such support, it would not be able to survive.
"The Ministry gives little money to Slovak theatres, so they find it difficult to survive," said Darina Kárová, Divadelná Nitra's director . "The Ministry's explanation is that 'we decide who to support,' which is ridiculous when [Culture Minister Ivan] Hudec and [Premier Vladimír] Mečiar spend millions of crowns on inviting world movie stars [to support the campaign of the HZDS party]."


CandoCo Dance Company
Chris Nash

One of Slovakia's most famous theatre festivals, Divadelná Nitra, opens from October 2 to 8, no thanks to the Ministry of Culture. All of the money donated to the festival has come from foreign cultural institutions and sponsors, and festival organisers say that without such support, it would not be able to survive.

"The Ministry gives little money to Slovak theatres, so they find it difficult to survive," said Darina Kárová, Divadelná Nitra's director . "The Ministry's explanation is that 'we decide who to support,' which is ridiculous when [Culture Minister Ivan] Hudec and [Premier Vladimír] Mečiar spend millions of crowns on inviting world movie stars [to support the campaign of the HZDS party]."

Andrej Maťašík, Director of the Theatre Centre at the Ministry of Culture, disputed Kárová's claims. "We decided to support other festivals. [Divadelná Nitra] should find its own sources because it does not focus on Slovak theatre productions."

As in past years, the 1998 Divadelná festival will take place in Andrej Bagar Theatre on the main square of Nitra, a city of 90,000 in south Slovakia. In the absence of state funding, the festival relied on the support of the Delegation of the European Commission in Slovakia, well as many other sponsors.

Among the many Slovak and international theatre performances, workshops, concerts and exhibitions to be staged, an English language film will be screened October 5 - director Michael Winterbottom's "Welcome to Sarajevo" from 1997 .

The CandoCo Dance Company from Great Britain will also make an appearance on October 7 at 20:00 at Divadlo Andreja Bagara. CandoCo was founded in 1991by Adam Benjamin and Celeste Dandeker, two Brits who had trained and danced with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre.

Dandeker actually dances in a wheelchair, having been paralyzed in an accident in 1973. She and Benjamin began to discuss the possibilities of using dance as a way of bringing disabled and non-disabled students together. The company has since soared into the mainstream of contemporary dance in great Britain, and their piece "across your heart" has won international acclaim.

The famous CandoCo performance named "out of here" is directed by Annabel Arden, co-founder of the French Théatre de Complicité in 1983, along with Jos Hoube, a free-lance director. Hoube directs and cowrites the cult-comedy shows of the Right Size Theatre in London.

Kárová said that Divaldelňa Nitra was financially healthy, but that this was not usual for culture festivals. "In Slovakia, the state has refused support to most important festivals," Kárová continued. "We don't have domestic film makers, theatres around the country are not able to pay salaries , and all important festivals are supported by foreign institutions and embassies," she said.

"The situation in Slovak culture is catastrophic, because the previous government ignored and disregarded such activities," she continued. "The new government has to pay immediate attention to culture."

For futher information contact http://kultura.gratex.sk/divadelna_nitra

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