Culture minister: No plans to cut theater funding

Minister of Culture Heidy Purga (Reform).
Minister of Culture Heidy Purga (Reform). Source: Raigo Pajula/Office of the President

A meeting on Friday between representatives of the Ministry of Culture and the Association of Performance Institutions (Etendusasutuste liit) failed to yield any concrete results, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reports.

The ministry once again heard the association's proposals to amend the regulation governing the financing of theaters, and promised to respond to these in writing in the near future

Minister of Culture Heidy Purga (Reform) met with the union reps for the first time since taking office in April, and said she understands the dissatisfaction of theaters, both with the regulation and the situation that has arisen.

Purga said she expects an action plan on how to proceed. from the ministry's deputy secretary general for the arts by June 2. The Minister of Culture said that the regulation on the financing of theaters has been rendered unclear.

"We have to keep working on it now. Estonia is not so big that it is not possible to negotiate and reach reasonable solutions, by discussing things together," Purga told AK.

Purga also refuted the claim that the ministry plans to cut funding for theaters. "Our goal is to keep the level of funding for theaters on parity with last year's final results," she said.

Kristiina Alliksaar, head of the Association of Performance Institutions and who has also been tipped as a possible next culture ministry secretary general, says she hopes that the ministry will withdraw a proposal to reduce the number of employees via a formula that calculates the amount of work required to put on one production.

Triinu Aron, who represents dance organizations within the ministry working party, said a volume-based funding model is welcome in itself, but added there is still work to be done here.

"This new system, predicated on volume-based funding, provides an opportunity for new, robust theaters to emerge but to also have the chance to get support and to function in our theatrical image, as it were," Aron said.

Small theaters, however, often oppose the ministry's desire to lower the limit based on which they can ask for support of any kind.

On this, Aron said: "Naturally we do not take the view that limits the basis on which funding for theaters can go ahead. To say that a theater can only carry out as much work as the state has money for, well that is not what we want. We'd like to demonstrate an exact volume on this, which is a more complicated question."


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Editor: Karmen Rebane, Andrew Whyte

Source: ERR Kultuur

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