Hungarian theater in Nagyvárad/Oradea may lose independence

The independent Hungarian Theater in Nagyvárad/Oradea may cease to exist because the sustaining government of Bihar/Bihor County — under the slogan of financial efficiency — is looking to merge the Szigligeti Theater, the Romanian Regina Maria Theater and the State Philharmonic of Oradea into one institution. Katalin Czvikker, the director of the Hungarian Szigligeti Theater, warned that this may be the end of the Independent Hungarian Theater in Nagyvárad/Oradea.

The first news of the merging of the three institutions appeared in the Romanian press. The actors of the Romanian Theater protested against the plans of the municipality led by Ilie Bolojan. The county government is planning to accept the draft decision about this soon.

Artists are also concerned because such a move would essentially end the independence and current repertoire of these institutions, with the resulting entity being a project-based institution, meaning most of the artists would lose their contracts for an indefinite period of time. Only the most well-known actors would be able to keep their jobs. Everyone else would be hired only for some performances.

The Regina Maria Theater is composed of the Iosif Vulcan and Arcadia companies as well as The Crișana Dance Company, while the Szigligeti Theater is composed of the Liliput Company and also the Nagyvárad Dance Company. These entities all employ actors, dancers, directors, administration, choir members, secretaries, translators, set designers, technical staff, sound technicians, hairdressers, carpenters and other workers that are indispensable to putting on a performance.

Last year, just before Christmas, the two institutions fired 70 employees, including the one and only set designer and secretary of the puppet theater. Many of the technical staff lost their jobs, and several families, where both the husband and wife worked at the company, were left without any income.

After the merger, the Szigligeti Theater, the Regina Maria Theater and the State Philharmonic of Oradea would completely lose their legal identity. There is no information about the person who would lead this mammoth entity, but it is assumed they will not be from the world of arts.

The new institution would have only yearly contracts with artistic staff; artists and musicians may also only be hired on a per-project basis. According to plans, the technical staff would be the same for all entities merged.

The president of the County Council would also like artists to perform during the summer for locals and visiting tourists.

The artists of the Regina Maria Theater went to the president of the council to explain that a theater does not function as he thinks, but their complaints went unheeded.

Featured Photo: Szigligeti Theater Oradea

Author: Blanka Székely