Last week’s sacking of Jan Burian as head of the National Theatre and subsequent backtracking is a situation which has not been fully resolved. Although Mr Burian agreed to tentatively return to the post after Culture Minister Jiří Balvín rescinded his decision, for some – namely top management at the theatre and actors who quit in protest– Mr Burian’s return will not be enough.
Petr Zusak and Michal Dočekal, who were until recently the artistic directors of ballet and drama at the Czech National Theater, have called on Prime Minister Rusnok to immediately dismiss the Culture Minister Jiří Balvín. They have asked the caretaker prime minister to name a strong leader to the post. Mr. Balvín undermined his own position in the eyes of many members of the artistic community when he fired the head of the National Theater Jan Burian last Thursday, and then re-instated him under pressure from the prime minister a day later. In protest over the dismissal, artistic directors of all three sections of the theater as well as over 20 actors and directors resigned last week.
Czech actor Miroslav Donutil has said he is quitting the National Theatre, citing – as the “last straw” – a botched attempt by the current interim government to sack its director Jan Burián. Mr Donutil told Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes the move by the Culture Minister Jiří Balvín to remove the theatre head was the height of amateurism. Mr Donutil, who has starred in numerous stage productions as well as countless films including Dědictví, Pevnost and Pelíšky, was a member of the National Theatre for 23 years. He cited his long-term involvement with the theatre as well as fatigue as additional reasons for leaving.
The Czech minister of culture, Jiří Balvín, on Friday reinstated the director of the National Theatre, Jan Burian, a day after he dismissed him. Mr Balvín was ordered to do so by Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok. The culture minister fired Mr. Burian, who was appointed by a previous minister, on the same day he took over at the National Theatre, a move that met with strong condemnation across the political spectrum; it also led a number of leading actors and its entire management team to quit the institution. Mr Balvín said he did not consider the matter a reason for him to step down.
The Rusnok cabinet has been forced to backtrack on the latest in a series of high-profile dismissals. The head of the National Theatre Jan Burian, who was sacked on his first day in office on Thursday, has been reinstated on the orders of the prime minister. Nevertheless, the affair has sparked widespread condemnation and once again raised the question of the government’s right to make radical changes ahead of its vote of confidence in the lower house next Wednesday.
The lower house’s subcommittee for culture is set to discus both the dismissal and suggestions that the minister could remove the heads of other bodies in the arts, such as the National Gallery. Meanwhile, the managements of the National Theatre and the State Opera have resigned en masse in protest at Mr. Balvín’s decision.
There has been a stormy response to the dismissal of Mr. Burian as National Theatre director. The Social Democrats’ Bohuslav Sobotka called for his reinstatement and described Minister Balvín’s move as scandalous and unacceptable. The former coalition government’s choice for prime minister, Miroslava Němcová, said that her party the Civic Democrats would not now hold a scheduled meeting with interim prime minister Jiří Rusnok because of the sacking and other “purges” his front bench had carried out, the news website Lidovky.cz reported. TOP 09 described Mr. Balvín’s action as alarming.
The minister of culture in the interim Czech government, Jiří Balvín, has dismissed the director of Prague’s National Theatre, Jan Burian, just one day after he took up the post. Mr. Balvín said on Thursday that he had fired Mr. Burian, who was hired by a previous minister, because he had not been appointed following a selection process. Mr. Balvín said using such selection processes was the only way to ensure changes on the political scene did not lead to constant changes in management positions.
Clowns, puppeteers, acrobats, mimes and many other striking, colorful and often frightening street artists will take over Prague’s center on Monday as part of the annual street theater festival Behind the Door (Za dveřmi). Around twenty troupes from more than 15 different countries will be performing next week in the afternoons and evenings in the heart of Prague, at Wenceslas Square. It will be the fifth year of Behind the Door, and for this week’s Arts, Masha Volynsky had a chance to speak to a member of the festival team, Adam Ondráček, about
The corruption and spying scandal that toppled the centre-right government of prime minister Petr Necas will be the subject of a new play by a group of young actors who specialize in political satire. According to the internet news site lidovky.cz director Tomas Svoboda is working on a play centring around the love triangle of the outgoing prime minister, his wife and his mistress and chief-of-staff. The play will reportedly contain authentic dialogues from police wiretappings. It is expected to premiere at Prague’s Divadlo pod Palmovkou in the autumn.
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