I have sent the following email to relevant members of the Kosovon government and press. It is written from a personal perspective, but I feel that it represents the overwhelming view of people in this community. I'm also attaching Jeton Neziraj's original email calling for action at the bottom for anyone who didn't see this. Let's hope that Eid sees a change of spirit in the Kosovon government!
It is with great distress that we at National Theatre Wales have learned of recent developments at the National Theatre of Kosovo.
In recent years your National Theatre has been a significant beacon for artistic freedom and, under the leadership of one of Europe's significant playwrights, Jeton Neziraj, the theatre has been an important ambassador for Kosovo on the international stage.
National Theatre Wales has been under discussions with Mr Neziraj about a collaboration between our theatres, which could potentially have brought National Theatre of Kosovo to a new audience in the United Kingdom. I believe that there would have been great enthusiasm for the work of your National Theatre, and for Kosovon culture and ideas, here.
However, as a theatre which places artistic freedom and a diversity of viewpoints at the heart of its values, National Theatre Wales cannot collaborate with a company where the artistic leadership has been replaced for political reasons.
Along with many theatre colleagues, I call on the Kosovon government to restore the independence of the National Theatre of Kosovo and to reinstate its board and artistic director.
I hope that the Ministry of Culture will respond to the wide-ranging international calls for a return to independence for the theatre, and that we may once again look forward to working with the National Theatre of Kosovo and Mr Neziraj.
Dear theatre friends,
The National Theatre of Kosovo is being seriously threatened by politics. Even before, this theatre had been the target of manipulations and political control; nonetheless, the latest developments are disturbing and make this theatre’s perspective dim. The National Theatre of Kosovo is an independent public institution, financed by public funds through The Ministry of Culture.
Recently, the newly appointed Minister of Culture has committed a series of violations of law and power abuses, intimidating the independence of this theatre by making some politically arbitrary decisions. He has dismissed The Board of The National Theatre of Kosovo, even though that board has a legitimate mandate. This decision was made after the board had positively evaluated my three years’ work as the Artistic Director in this Theatre. The Minister has also manipulated with the new board that he himself appointed. As a result, a totally unprofessional person – until recently, he was working in The Kosovo Prime Minister’s Office – has been appointed for the position of Artistic Director of The National Theatre of Kosovo.
This political interference weights down my efforts and those of the previous Board to aesthetically and conceptually reform this theatre, to open paths for cooperation with artists and international theatre companies, to liberate this theatre from schematic national plays, to alleviate it from primitive nationalistic mentality which continues to use the theatre as a medium for promotion of racism and induction of nationalism. Our concept, during the past three years, has brought more audience, about 150% more in comparison to previous years.
I would like to take the opportunity to invite You to react in order to exert pressure on those scandalous political actions, which have arrogated the creative and functional independence of The National Theatre of Kosovo.
I would kindly ask You to send Your reactions to those e-mails:
memli.Krasniqi@ks-gov.net / Minister of Culture
firstname.lastname@example.org / Minister of Foreign Affairs
email@example.com / Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo
firstname.lastname@example.org / The Kosovo Prime Minister’s Office
email@example.com / Koha Ditore Newspaper
firstname.lastname@example.org / Zeri Newspaper
email@example.com / Newspaper Express
firstname.lastname@example.org / Jeton Neziraj
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