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Dragan Djilas announced changes to the management of theatres as well as other cultural institutions, saying things 'are not as they should be'.
|Belgrade's Mayor Dragan Djilas | Photo by Beta|
The Mayor of Belgrade has announced plans to reform the city's theatres, noting the many problems that they face, including conflicts between managers and actors and insufficient funds for plays.
"We will have to put some things in order. It might be painful, but when that part of the surgery is over, the patient will be much healtier and will be able to breathe," Dragan Djilas said on Wednesday.
Actors and employees in two of the city's theatres, Atelje 212 and Theatre on Terazije, recently called for the removal of their directors.
On July 6 two theatre unions accused Theatre on Terazije director Mihajlo Vukobratovic of spending money irrationally and building up unnecessary debts.
The accusations from the Independent Union and the Union of Musical Artists included the facts that the manager directed the same play, "Grease", three times, in 1995, 2001 and 2009, and drew up two contracts with himself, as the theatre manager.
Djilas said that the problems in theatres included some actors, with permanent contracts, choosing better paid jobs elsewhere over their home theatres, and managers who 'signed contracts with themselves'.
"Theatres indeed have problems. We [the City] help them financially in various ways, from the state budget to donations, but things are not as they should be," Djilas said.
Asked if he would accept a request from the two actors' unions to meet with them, Djilas answered obliquely, saying he was willing to interfere in solving problems "only when it is evident that the problem is unsolvable".
Belgrade theatres came under the spotlight about a month ago when 25 actors from Atelje 212 demanded the replacement of their manager Kokan Mladenovic, citing "bad relations" with him.
Although the petition became public a few days after the premiere of the controversial show "Zoran Djindjic" in Atelje 212, the actors denied that the play was the root cause of their dissatisfaction.
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