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Friday, October 21, 2016

Theatrical reform: in the suit or the abyss?

The habit of living under capitalism with guaranteed social benefits of socialism seem to come to an end. The main position in the culture now there is the economy that dictates its own laws. Metropolitan theatres, which have always been the trump card of Moscow, waiting for serious change. And don’t even change and reform. About the upcoming changes in the financing of the theatres, priorities and many other issues observer “MK” talked to the Deputy mayor of Moscow on social issues Leonid Pechatnikova.

We in the government have long agreed (and many can confirm this) that the officials don’t fit in the artistic policies of the cultural institutions. Our theatres put plays what you want, no arts Council, there is no censorship, in any case, from the mayor’s office and the Department of culture.

I must say that Moscow is on the culture of money spends more than the Ministry of culture of the Russian Federation, — 50 billion. Even with the falling ruble is a lot of money. But it always gets the same question: how to spend the money, not forgetting that they are collected as taxes from the population. This question pulls another important question is — and whether spending the taxpayers ‘ money, the interest of these taxpayers to the creations of our artists (artists in the widest sense of the word)?

— In Moscow 88 theatres, not counting the 23 Federal, is a lot or a little for such a metropolis like Moscow?

— I can’t say. When all the theaters are concentrated mainly in the center, the center is a lot. When I say that it is not necessary to compare Central with peripheral theaters, because the center is an advantage, I always cite the example of Theatre in the South-West Valery Belyakovich: there sold out at a hundred places, and people come from all over Moscow. And there are Directors, the existence of which no one knows. But there is Sergei Zhenovach, which was left without funding from sponsors. Is this normal? It is a shame! I don’t even know Zhenovach, but love him as a Director, and to me humanly unbearable that the artist would be without theatre. It had to be saved, and to save must first state. It in and saved. (Will the Federal theatre founder with the new year, the Ministry of culture.) What we are funding?

That’s how many of the 88 theatres can call a person familiar with the situation? At best he’ll remember 20, and the remaining 68 will be open. I personally found out about them only coming to this office. But that’s not us, but you know about these theatres, the people who pay the taxes for their upkeep? But am I asking a illegal question? And is this question that is directly connected with the economy violates the human right to culture? Not at all.

And here we come to a very important topic, which is easy to get lost. I gathered the leaders of the Moscow theaters twice and asked them, in fact, only one question — what are the criteria the city needs you to Fund how much you will earn and how much you need, so we pay extra? I repeat: I have no answer to this question.

It seems that these criteria can not understand the theatres themselves, who consciously or unconsciously confuse Economics with an art component and for different reasons one replace the other.

— I answer: the number is Prime. Then the question is — is it good when in the theater a lot Prime?

— Well, then people are working, and the process goes on.

— Do you think that is fine. But we have one theater 12 or so Premier a year, and each, as a rule, with elements of shocking. The first two performances do sell-out, and after a while (I for see) he is bad or does not go, because the effect of the first shocking performances passed.

— Leonid, tell us a secret: what is this theatre in Moscow, which produces 10-12 for the season Premier? Last time it was 16 years ago at the Moscow art theatre, where artistic Director came Oleg Tabakov.

— Well, as in the Gogol centre has released in the past year? Let less, and then those plays go with posters about them all forget — and they funded us. And all this against the background of financial mismanagement in the theater, which for anybody is not a secret. When the performance is long and gathers a full house is good. Stalin loved Bulgakov didn’t like Stalin Bulgakov, and only “Days of Turbin” watched 14 times.

For example, I rarely go to museums of modern art and not understand that is hanging on the wall with a mattress that someone threw a bucket of blue paint. I have a right not to understand? And have the right not to pay the money for the ticket and not go to the theatre that I don’t like. As a spectator. But on the other hand, in any case it is impossible that any officer of any rank to impose his point of view, theatre or cultural institution.

Now the second question: I’m not attending, as Deputy mayor on social issues, which need to understand how to spend taxpayer money on the maintenance of theatres, museums, in short, on what is called a cultural institution. Do I have to take into account the opinion of the taxpayer that the money is collected? Or do I have to come only from interests of artists who think it’s genius, but also a support group that few people understand? And do I have to consider that in their performances the hall filled only by 20-30%? It seems to me that government funding of theatres needs to have some rules. Here are the rules I was asked to develop the leaders of theaters.

But you make the difference between massive and modern art? The second is very different: there is talented art, but is speculative. Nevertheless, it is not less and may be more in need of support.

— Understand that there is conceptual art, and art is not for everyone. But it’s not a new story. At the time, was the term “pure art”. Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, whom I love very much, once wrote: “I believe the realists: art for art equate with bird whistle”. Yes, it is a search, but the search for whose account?

You know that in Paris only two theatres receive government funding — the comédie française and the Opera Garnier. Them live at the expense of sponsors, the municipality. But first of all at the expense of the audience. A lot antrepriznyh theatres, and in Moscow repertory of virtually no. Here was the theatre of Anton Chekhov Leonid Trushkin, good theater was, but where is he now?

I am not for non theater, Russian repertory theatre must be saved, but let’s understand, in what framework it needs to be saved. And what are the criteria for the funding of theatres at the expense of taxpayers ‘ money?

— Double-gathered the heads of the theatres, you know, me and pros, extremely surprised that the meetings were held in the absence of the relevant Minister Alexander Kibovsky. What is the reason?

— His absence is a coincidence, and next time it will be. In my opinion, there is a problem: with the leaders of theaters hasn’t been met.

— You agree that the theatre remains the most strong trump card of culture of Moscow. And today we need to talk about problems, maybe, on the reform of the system of budget funding of theatres?

— Yes, you are right. Theatre is the most powerful and trump card of our city, and I would like to see the Moscow theatre in the broadest sense of the word is preserved. But change is overdue, and it’s obvious.

— I think that honest work in the theatres people choking on injustice. Here is information from the computing center of the Ministry of culture of the Russian Federation in figures, 2015 read: Theatre. Pushkin receives from the state 109 675, 000 (large hall, a large troupe), and virtually the same funding small theatre “Modern” — 101 326 000 rbl. the Theater of the moon — 137 934 000 rubles., “Commonwealth of actors Taganka” — 558 125 000 RUB., the Theatre gradsko — 102 782, 000. How so?

— These figures I also not happy. I, with its not hard criteria to consider would be 44 clear on the Economics of theatre. And the rest as no. And the first barb, by the way, I got it from the management of the theatre “Modern” (say, I’m a doctor, do not understand the culture, “don’t measure it and don’t touch with dirty hands”). I want to remind that Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, George Bernard Shaw, Mikhail Bulgakov, Gorin also were doctors, and had a practice.

Once we decided to speak frankly, I will tell you that we conducted a financial audit in the theatre “Modern”, and the results of the surface studies Svetlana Vragova was ready to write a letter of termination to combine the roles of artistic Director and Director. But once there came Moskontrol, Ms. Vragova wrote to the Investigative Committee’s statement about the illegality of testing its theater Moskontrol, although Moskontrol has the right to inspect any Moscow budgetary institution. I don’t think that there will be some continuation, but some of the leaders of Moscow theaters theatres think their private property. And so, too, can no longer continue.

The current state of Affairs in the economy theatres on impossible to tolerate. Artists receive a small salary, and they are all equally small. In most theaters we do not have a contract system is that there is in the world, when the Director asked the actors for their creative ideas and enter into a contract with them for a year, two, three. Only now, many leaders have realized the necessity of a contract. And we can once come to the theater to get a job, never go on stage and then emerge to retirement. You know what happens, though not often.

Once again: I don’t want myself or inviting here a group of people to write, how to Finance the theaters. The theatre is not the place that should be financed with a blunt accounting of the calculation. So I invited the Directors and producers themselves to develop these criteria.

All my life I was a practicing doctor, and my patients were well-known artists, Directors. And here I ask one of the venerable and very loved wizard: “You agree to revise the system of funding?” “Yes, but I feel sorry to translate actors on the futures contract. When you have the money and I his authority, connections and fame strikes, the funding, the calm — all the bread you earn.” Another equally venerable and famous, said to me: “You say the right thing, but I have artists that for many years, they are not able to play. I leave them on a miserable pension?” I said, “you Can allocate a group of actors who made a name for this theater for many years invested in him, his talent, and not so much. But the theater itself needs to be a living organism”.

Smart talented Directors understand that it can not continue, but to make unpopular but important for their profession step is not solved. In addition to his apostles: he calmly moved the troupe to the contract, and the Moscow art Theater, and “Snuff”. But others… like Galic: “Well, I say, well, you’re right, they say, and your products best. But then, they say, does not drape, and barbed wire”. So here, they understand that it is impossible, but to change something not ready.

— Why, from your point of view, the Department of culture still as indecisive in reforming the BUCs system? All the feeling stagnant swamp. Nothing happens.

— When Capkova more happened?

— There was a sense of movement, although there were serious miscalculations. But not wrong, as you know, the one who does not work.

— I recently liked the one saying: “If you want your words do not disperse from business, say nothing and do nothing”.

— Is that your answer?

— Well, in General, Yes.

— I understand you correctly that you are finally ready to abandon the Soviet principle to all sisters on earrings?

Is the wrong principle. We refused it in education, in health care. Believe me, it wasn’t easy, and we understand that so far the tipping point to the end failed. We made the dependent the salary of teachers and doctors from their popularity among patients and students. I really wish theaters were popular and dependent on the people that go there. Theaters should be competitive and have to fight for audience and funding.

— The criteria, I think, are obvious: tickets sold, the products that causes interest and controversy, touring, press interest and so on. But every theater should be considered separately. Here, for example, the Ministry of culture of Russia, the system goes to such financing: for every ruble earned (it is important that statutory activities) subsidizes conventionally, two. Moscow thinks about it?

— I of this act have not yet seen, you know what this is considered. But you can’t go too far. You cannot compare funding for musical theatre with children and drama — I said it at the meetings. In children’s theatre, for example, we can’t afford to raise the price of the tickets. And in drama theatres have their own features: they also put the children’s performances — as they are in this case to subsidize? Therefore, we need a multi-vector policy evaluation, but a number of criteria must be countable.

You agree that theaters need to separate the categories and based on that Finance — major/minor, music/drama, children/adults?

— Opposed. Theatre is either good or bad. Here only the first freshness, and no other. But the principle of funding music, children’s and drama theatre should be different.

— What do you expect from the reforms that you want to spend based on the theaters by the same criteria? The closure of some theaters? The change of leadership?

— Part of the theatres should, in my opinion, to become a so-called Director’s theatre. There will be theater and concert hall Manager who is looking for Directors, entrepreneurs, and performances that will attract audiences. Not saying a word to you, we will call the same theaters that remain in the repertoire. And some will become open platforms.

— Specify, please: they are not repertory?

— It will be an open stage on which Directors and actors of different generations can realize their creative potential. This will depend on the Director’s work. And if an artist can be considered a financial success for the theatre minor, the Director should be interested in the fact that the theater went public. In the end, Yuri Petrovich Lyubimov came to the Taganka Theatre, in the 64th year of his course, no guarantee of success. I helped to do the same Brusnikina Dmitri, Brusnikin received by the theatre Practice.

Yes, this season the theatre has received Brusnikin, finally has a venue Vladimir Pankov. Does this mean that the government, the Department of culture, attended to the formation of a personnel reserve of heads of theatres?

— Start, but to be honest, that staff shortages in different areas today, for anybody not a secret, it is a real problem. But we try not to miss a single precious grain theatre in the turbulent flow. I want to reiterate: as a result of this reform, we want to make relations between the Moscow theatres at least partly competition: they fought for the public, as is happening all over the world.

— On the question of the public. It seems to me that the Moscow government as the main financier of their theatres does not care about the public. On the one hand, gives the money as a generous producer, and on the other — deprives the city theatres advertising. How can the public learn about what is known, and about the young or on the fringes of the city theatres and their products?

— If the question is, what the theater lacks ads (maybe I have not sufficiently addressed this problem), then it should be solved. But we have already done in this direction certain steps on the website Mos.ru we regularly place a poster of all the Moscow theaters, with the possibility to buy electronic ticket. We let this problem let us consider specifically.

— Do you intend to lobby buried the law on patronage? If you look at the details of the funding of the richest theaters in the world (it first, of course, the Opera) then there’s government subsidies in times less sponsorship.

— Unfortunately, the Moscow authorities this law has not yet lobbied. The problem is the same: we have the bitter experience in the 90 years we have received many criminal schemes, tax evasion, contractual cases (I give you — you give me rollback).

— But now a different time.

— Maybe the time has come to revisit the law on patronage. It’s just the intended use of the same taxes that patron underpaid to the Treasury, but earmarked pays to the theatre. The only problem, is our society ready and lawgiver of such a law make.

— Let us summarize our conversation. So, we have changed the way the funding of theatres?

— I would like to change the hands of the community. Part of the theatres will be turned into a theatre and concert venues in order to enable the young to realize themselves. We also expect to increase salaries.

— Due to what? Downsizing, the cast?

— Due to the fact that the weak actors will find another job or another, maybe path in life.

And then they will go the Union of employees of culture and you can never dismiss what you call the ballast.

— Then there is the contract system. I wish it was introduced and earned.

— You have defined a deadline to provide you with the part of the Directors and chubrukov their proposals for reform?

Yes, until the end of the year. At the end of November I want to hear their suggestions. The Department of culture collects them, and then we will meet and discuss. Of course, will “for” will “vs”, but in the end we will take a decision, which will still be a compromise. I hope the Board of chubrukov Moscow theaters — it was formed in the summer and once already was going to, decided an important question.

The discussion will take place in a narrow circle of jurukov and Directors that you trust, or will be available for everybody, especially since modern technologies allow to do it?

— I believe that we need to discuss this with everyone. I would really like to see a discussion of the results and proposals were open, but I would also like to in this discussion was attended by professionals, including theatre critics. People who know the real situation. If you will participate only fools from the street, I’m not interested.

In the theater business, which we are now focused, neither I nor Kibovsky — not professionals. And we would very much like to see this reform involved professional people who thoroughly understand not only what happens on stage, but that behind the scenes. But their proposals they thought would be in the framework that we ask, — that’s what we talked to you. And if the Ministry of culture will be able to pass a law stating that for every ruble earned from statutory activities will be subsidy from the state, it should be the rule, with which all agree, and that rule will be binding.

— Leonid, you assume you will be able to reform that you were trying to do, but nothing came of it? Phone right when the master culture can directly call the mayor or even the President, obtaining additional preferences in the strength of the connections is largely prevented and prevents.

— There is an old principle: do what you must, come what may. I’m not a God on mount Olympus: it may happen that these good intentions will not be implemented at all or implemented partially. But this is my position, and this position I will defend.


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