Slovak National Theatre director resigns

Vladimír Antala was the SND director for more than a year.

Former SND chair Vladimír Antala and Culture Minister Ľubica Laššáková talk to the media on January 24, 2019, in Bratislava.Former SND chair Vladimír Antala and Culture Minister Ľubica Laššáková talk to the media on January 24, 2019, in Bratislava. (Source: TASR)

The Slovak National Theatre (SND) will get a new director in 2020, after Vladimír Antala decided to leave his post for serious family reasons. This will be the SND's third head in three years.

Antala had temporarily replaced the previous head Marián Chudovský in the summer of 2018 before he was officially appointed to the managing post for five years in January 2019. He resigned from the post at the beginning of 2020.

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“Under his management, the financial situation of SND significantly improved,” Culture Minister Ľubica Laššáková (Smer) said on January 2.

Antala had worked as a long-term economist in SND before taking on the leading position. The unfavourable financial condition at the national theatre led to the minister recalling Chudovský and replacing him with Antala.

Chudovský refused the notion that he had made mistakes and pointed instead to the poor funds allocated for SND.

Kováč as a temporary head

For the time being, Peter Kováč will take over Antala’s responsibilities. Kováč is currently a director of the drama section at the SND.

“The name of a new SND chair will be announced in the first half of 2020 when the selection procedure ends,” the ministry wrote on its website.

Although the SND unionists received Antala’s appointment last year positively, some actors did not agree with him being named to the post without a selection procedure.

A wave of discontent arose in September 2019, when Antala recalled the previous head of the drama section Michal Vajdička and replaced him with Kováč.

Vajdička removed for a political reason

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“The decision to recall Vajdička was a political one and arguments given were made up on purpose,” said MP Viera Dubačová during a session of the parliamentary culture and media committee on September 10, 2019, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Antala was not a suitable candidate to become the director as he had been, among other things, responsible for the national theatre's poor economic performance, she added. Laššáková, however, did not agree with her and portrayed Antala as a skilled manager unlike Vajdička.

Vajdička was recalled on September 3, 2019, for his managerial failures. He had, however, criticised the Culture Ministry and Antala before. Vajdička had also taken part in the For a Decent Slovakia protests.

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