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Azerbaijan plans to reduce state funding for theatres

Audiences complain about a boring repertoire

A preliminary discussion about the 2018 state budget was held in the parliament of Azerbaijan wherein Rafael Huseynov, chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on Culture, criticized the reduction of financing for theatres and cinematography.

Azerbaijan successfully develops military-industrial complexes and agriculture, but Azerbaijan is not an agrarian country. It is also not a country with a large military industry. Azerbaijan became famous across the world for its culture. Therefore the culture sector should be given more attention and financing should not be more scant, but more abundant,” Huseynov said.

Huseynov reminded them that Azerbaijani cinematography will celebrate its 120th anniversary next year. The draft budget however does not give enough attention to cinema. “With this approach, we will not be able to achieve much development.”

The financing of theatres has decreased by 300% compared to previous years. This will negatively affect our theatres,” media portal quoted Huseynov.

Economist Natig Jafarli, commenting on the deputy’s statement said that Huseynov simply misspoke. This is a reduction of a third, not 300%.

A discussion arose on social networks about whether theatres in general should be financed by the state budget or not. Isn’t it better to transform them into fully self-financing organisations?

Today, theatres are not able to recoup their expenses and pay the actors’ salary. The first reason is because they don’t have freedom in choosing a repertoire. It’s necessary to put on plays with hot socially popular topics in order to attract audiences. The repertoires of theatres today are extremely boring and unattractive to audiences,” said theatre lover Sevil Hasanova.

To me, there are no theatres of great dramatic art in Azerbaijan today. All there is, is caricature and desecration of art and traditions. Those who are engaged in this field are engaged in self-deception or parasitism. It’s necessary to disband everyone and everything, and send it all to hell. I’ve written about this for 10 years, and at least in this way they have decided to follow good advice,” believes artist and actor Ulvi Mehti.

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