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STAGE > Reactions of artists are exaggerated, says City Theaters’ new art director

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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Reactions have grown against new regulations placed on the artistic management of Istanbul City Theaters by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. DHA photo

Reactions have grown against new regulations placed on the artistic management of Istanbul City Theaters by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. DHA photo

In response to protests held earlier this week in Istanbul and Ankara against new regulations on City Theaters’ administration by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Hilmi Zafer Şahin, the new art director of City Theaters, said reactions to the regulation changes were exaggerated. Reactions have grown against new regulations placed on the artistic management of Istanbul City Theaters by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Actors and actresses working under the body of the City Theaters say the new regulations are an attempt to undermine the administrative power of the administrative board head.

New regulations of municipality

Under the new regulations enacted by the municipality, the administrative committee of City Theaters will change as the head of the administrative board will be replaced by the head of the Culture Department or the City Theaters manager.

In Istanbul, actors and actresses marched in costumes through the Tünel area near İstiklal Avenue on April 24 before unfurling a banner which read “free theater against fear.” Actor Engin Alkan spoke on behalf of the group during the protest. Alkan said it was very important to have different voices represented in the management of theaters. “Conservative art” is a term which has entered the process of democratization and art should not be associated with the political will, Alkan said.
That same day theater artists gathered in protest in front of the Büyük Tiyatro (Great Theater) in Ankara with banners that read “free theater against fear.”

“Probably for the first time in the world, theater is being separated from theater artists,” said Şahin Ergüney, reading from a written statement on behalf of the associations and the city theaters. Ergüney added that if artists were cast out of the management of an art institution like City Theaters, art would become dominated by politics.

“Ideological actors are not behaving properly,” said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when commenting on the subject

“We have met with former art director Kenan Işık and he said theater regulations should change. Işık said a change in the regulations was a must,” said Istanbul Municipality President Kadir Topbaş in response to Erdoğan’s remarks.

Topbaş said there were still many deficiencies in the new regulation. “Işık said he could not attend to the new regulations because no one invited him,” he said, adding that Işık had the right to attend the regulation meetings without an invitation as he was the vice art director.

April/26/2012

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