Theaters and cinemas may reopen in Azerbaijan
The Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan has addressed the Cabinet of Ministers with a request to allow the reopening of theaters, cinemas, and concert venues, that are currently closed as per the existing quarantine rules. These institutions suspended their operations across the country in March 2020 due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. Experts and society are waiting for a positive solution to the problem.
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The Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan has officially applied to the headquarters for the fight against coronavirus under the Cabinet of Ministers of the country to request a permit for the partial restoration of the activity of cinemas, theaters, and concert halls in compliance with the pandemic-induced regulations.
So far, there is no answer from the government, but there are already interesting details that indicate a possible positive solution to this issue.
Thus, a portal specializing in ticket sales has already posted posters of concerts to be held in Baku in October 2021. These concerts have already been canceled several times, but music lovers hope that this time they can attend them.
One of the users of the Azerbaijani segment of social media notes that she purchased tickets to the Opera and Ballet Theater in Baku on September 21 and 24:
“It takes us 20 days to get ready.”
“If theaters open, then for the first performance, at least for some of the old productions, we need at least 20 days. We should have been informed about this in advance so that we could prepare”, says Honored Artist of Azerbaijan, director Nijat Kazimov.
He notes that this is the second season that the country has been living without theater:
“I cannot understand one thing: are theaters really more likely to spread the virus than shopping centers, weddings, discos and nightclubs? This seems illogical to me, because in the theater, spectators can be seated at the required distance from each other.
The hall of our theater for young spectators can accommodate 300-350 spectators. In other words, we could easily admit 150 people to the performances”.
“I really hope that the government will finally make a positive decision. It is very important for us. You can’t kill the culture”, the director said.
“Almost all theater workers are vaccinated”
According to the honored artist of the country, actor and director Nofal Veliyev, the situation in theaters is “difficult and deplorable”.
“Almost all the actors, 99% of them are vaccinated, many have already had the infection.
Today, the actors of Azerbaijani theaters face the risk of losing their form. I mean their psycho technical problems. At least rehearsals should be allowed”, he says.
“This is a huge blow to the actors”
“Every time we look forward to the next decisions of the headquarters, and every time not a word is spoken about theaters”, complains Elman Rafiyev, director of the Azerbaijan State Pantomime Theater.
“This is a huge blow to the actors. I am afraid that they will lose their last hopes and leave the profession.
Some offer to organize open-air performances. I cannot support such suggestions. For the pantomime theater, light effects play an important role, and it is impossible to achieve this in the open air”, Rafiev said.
“Stop playing with the psyche of actors and directors”
Theater critic Khayala Rais expressed her indignation at the state of affairs with Azerbaijani theaters in the following way:
“I appeal to the headquarters: stop playing with the psyche of actors and directors. Apparently, those who are at the head of this business hate art. Do they really think that our society does not need theater? Dear ones, those who said that the theater was dead are no longer alive, but the theater lives on. It will outlive you and me, and all of us”.
“I don’t understand what is the principle of opening museums, but not opening theaters? There is not a single empty seat in the restaurants of Baku every evening. Nobody observes social distance at all, all without masks.
Thousands of people gather in stadiums, and even 100 people cannot be allowed into theaters? I can’t understand this”, Rais said.