Cracow Declaration of Solidarity of Theatre Directors and Cultural Workers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Berliner Festspiele

Pressemeldung vom 23.2.2022

The Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków is in the best artistic condition in years, its accolade and successes rising. In this year, it was to become co-organised by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in a step that would have made it a national institution. In November it premiered the quintessential drama of Polish romanticism, Adam Mickiewicz’s Dziady / The Forefathers’ Eve (1822–1832), directed by Maja Kleczewska. Its purely romantic text became a powerful voice in the discussion with our contemporary world and the condition of today’s divided Poland. The staging at the Słowacki was recognised the hottest production of the past year, many consider it a masterpiece, and the tickets sold out for months ahead. However, the production found no recognition among the politicians of Law and Justice, a party that is governing Poland. The head of Małopolska Regional Board of Education issued a statement strongly discouraging teachers and students from going to see the play. The Minister of Education called it “junk” (dziadostwo), and the Minister of Culture also took a distanced stand. None of them has seen the play. Soon after its premiere the advanced negotiations about co-management of the theatre by the Ministry of Culture were discontinued, which resulted in not granting the Słowacki the PLN 3 million promised for this year. The tension around the Słowacki and The Forefathers’ Eve kept mounting. It deteriorated further when, in a gesture of human solidarity, the actors began to come out to the stage after the performances with photographs of children from refugee families dying on the Polish-Belarusian border, and when Maria Peszek, a wonderful artist openly supporting the LGBT+ movement and critical towards the policy of hatred engulfing Poland, strongly disliked by the authorities, was invited to the theatre for a single concert.

On 11 February the organiser of the theatre, the Board of Małopolska Region, initiated a procedure intended to remove Krzysztof Głuchowski from the post of the theatre director “for the reason of infringing regulations regarding the application of the Public Procurement Law Act” and due to “the director having rescinded the care for the good name of the Theatre while holding the post”.

Now, as per Art. 15 section 6 of the Act on Organising and Running Cultural Activity, “The director of a cultural institution, appointed for a defined period, may be recalled before his term expires: 1) on his own request, 2) due to an illness chronically precluding the execution of his duties, 3) as a result of violating the law through the occupied post, 4) if the director deviates from the implementation of the programme of activity for the institution agreed on with the organiser”. None of the above conditions for recalling is met at the moment. Director Głuchowski can and wants to hold his post (with full support of all the theatre staff!), he has not infringed any regulations of law, and the Słowacki is in the best artistic condition in many years.

The theatre recognises the decision of the Board of the Region Małopolska Region to initiate the recall procedure as a politically motivated, groundless intervention into the autonomy of a cultural institution, and an attempt at limiting creative freedom. A punitive step for the creation and staging of The Forefathers’ Eve. After economic censorship that came first, now comes an attempt at censoring the artistic programme of a theatre, unheard-of in contemporary history, and a lawless attempt to recall by force a director supported by nearly the whole Polish theatre world and all the staff of the Słowacki. Unprecedented and dangerous, this situation calls for an immediate and solidary intervention of all artistic circles of Europe.

We, the undersigned colleagues, strongly support Krzysztof Głuchowski, the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków, and the right to artistic freedom in Poland which has repeatedly been threatened or suspended in similar cases since 2016. We demand from the Board of the Małopolska Region to not remove Krzysztof Głuchowski from his office as Artistic Director, and from the Polish Ministry of Culture to not withdraw its financial contribution previously designated to the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre.

Stefan Bachmann, Artistic Director, and Thomas Jonigk, Chief Dramaturge, Schauspiel Köln
Andreas Beck, Artistic Director, Residenztheater München
Karin Beier, Artistic Director, DeutschesSchauSpielHaus Hamburg
Holger Bergmann, Managing Director, Fonds Darstellende Künste Germany
Carsten Brosda, President, and Claudia Schmitz, Executive Director, Deutscher Bühnenverein / German Theatre and Orchestra Association
Yvonne Büdenhölzer, Director Berliner Theatertreffen and President ITI Germany, and Thomas Engel, Executive Director ITI Germany
Peter Carp, Artistic Director, and Rüdiger Bering, Chief Dramaturge, Laura Ellersdorfer, Dramaturge, Tamina Theiß, Dramaturge Acting and Performance and Anna Gojer, Dramaturge Acting, Theater Freiburg
Stefanie Carp, International Programme Curator, Athens Epidauros Festival
Amelie Deuflhard, Artistic Director, Kampnagel Zentrum für schönere Künste Hamburg
Ingo Diehl, President, Hessische Theaterakademie
Anja Dirks, Artistic Co-Director Schauspiel, Theater Basel
Hans-Jürgen Drescher, President, Theaterakademie August Everding München
Tobias Ehinger, Executive Director, Martin Lizan, Administrative Director, Heribert Germeshausen, Artistic Director Opera, Xin Peng Wang, Artistic Director Ballet, Gabriel Feltz, General Music Director, Julia Wissert, Artistic Director Schauspiel, Andreas Gruhn, Artistic Director KJT, and Marcus Lobbes, Director Akademie für Theater und Digitalität, Theater Dortmund
Stefan Hilterhaus, Artistic and Managing Director, PACT Zollverein Essen
Christian Holtzhauer, Artistic Director Nationaltheater Mannheim and Internationale Schillertage
Ulrich Khuon, Artistic Director, Birgit Lengers,
DT International / RADAR OST, and David Heiligers, Dramaturge, Deutsches Theater Berlin
Joachim Klement, Artistic Director, Staatsschauspiel Dresden
Thomas Krüger, Milena Mushak and Anne Paffenholz, Festival Politik im Freien Theater (bpb) Germany
Martin Kušej, Artistic Director, Burgtheater Wien
Fabian Langer, Coordinator, Arved Schulze, Dramaturge, and Katrin Dod, Head of Communication, Bündnis internationaler Produktionshäuser / Association of International Production Houses
Shermin Langhoff, Artistic Director, Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin
Uwe Eric Laufenberg, Artistic Director, Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden
Matthias Lilienthal, Curator and Dramaturge
Sandro Lunin, Artistic Director Kaserne Basel and Theaterfestival Basel
Joachim Lux, Artistic Director, Thalia Theater Hamburg
Bettina Masuch, Artistic Director, tanzhaus nrw Düsseldorf und Designated Artistic Director, Festspielhaus St. Pölten
Barbara Mundel, Artistic Director, Münchner Kammerspiele
Markus Müller, Artistic Director, Staatstheater Mainz
Thomas Ostermeier, Artistic Director, Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz Berlin
Matthias Pees, Artistic and Managing Director, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt am Main and Designated Artistic Director, Berliner Festspiele, and Anna Wagner and Marcus Droß, Artistic Co-Directors, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm
René Pollesch, Artistic Director, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin
Oliver Reese, Artistic Director, Berliner Ensemble
Bernd Scherer, Artistic Director, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin
Carena Schlewitt, Artistic Director, HELLERAU Europäisches Zentrum der Künste Dresden
Holger Schultze, Artistic Director, Sandra Kornmeier, Artistic Co-Director and Thomas Eisenträger, Administrative Manager, Theater und Orchester Heidelberg
Wilfried Schulz, General Artistic Director, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus
Charlotte Sieben, Managing Director, Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin (KBB), and Claudia Nola, Artistic Co-Director and Head of Communication, Berliner Festspiele
Johan Simons, Artistic Director, Schauspielhaus Bochum
Christophe Slagmuylder, Artistic Director, Wiener Festwochen
Chiaki Soma, Programme Director, Theater der Welt Frankfurt-Offenbach 2023
Nicolas Stemann and Benjamin von Blomberg, Artistic Directors, Schauspielhaus Zürich
Kathrin Tiedemann, Artistic and Managing Director, Forum Freies Theater Düsseldorf
Anselm Weber, Artistic Director, Schauspiel Frankfurt
Karsten Wiegand, Artistic Director, Staatstheater Darmstadt
Heidi Wiley, Executive Director, European Theatre Convention
Annemie Vanackere, Artistic and Managing Director, and Aenne Quiñones, Artistic Co-Director, HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin