site.btaCulture Minister: There Are Grounds to Dismiss National Theatre Director
Caretaker Minister of Culture Velislav Minekov said at a press conference here on Thursday that there were grounds for the dismissal of Vasil Vasilev, the General Manager of the "Ivan Vazov" National Theatre. Minekov added that he would await the outcome of the appointed inspection. "The decision is in the hands of the director. If this director does not pull himself out of the swamp, I can promise you that the swamp will be drained," the Minister said.
Minekov refused to offer a deadline for the inspection but suggested that it will take longer than a day. Commenting on the petition signed by artists working for the National Theatre, he said he would not accept petitions which were requested by a director acting like Don Corleone "making an offer they can't refuse".
"There is a petition, which just until a few days ago was signed by 600 people, in support of Alexander Morfov, Javor Gardev and Zachary Karabashliev, with a clear desire expressed as to who should be dismissed and - not only the chief of staff and the head of PR, but also the director himself. I think this petition is already close to 800 signatures," Minekov said.
The Minister specified that the inspection is not exclusively financial. It also covers the compliance with the rules for staff dismissal, since the number of fired employees is already "impressive".
The press conference was also attended by National Theatre actors Albena Koleva and Valeri Yordanov, who declared that they were protesting against the chaos in the Theatre.
"During one intermission, one of the walls I had to climb on stage fell down. It just fell. Two people were injured, an ambulance was called, and they were driven off," Yordanov said. He warned that if actors are forced to check the stability of the set and wonder whether it will crumble by the end of the play, then something is wrong.
The actor said that he was not happy with the reaction speed of the Ministry of Culture. "Because I expect instant response. Maybe someone has to die for a decision to be taken from the higher-ups. On the other hand, knowing the laws and regulations in Bulgaria, [the higher-ups] may have their hands tied," Yordanov said.
An open letter signed by nearly 50 actors from the National Theatre reads, "About half a year ago Mr Vasil Vasilev won the competition for director of the "Ivan Vazov" National Theatre. Even for this short period, he and his team managed to create a healthy and generous environment of creative opportunities." According to the Theatre's website, a total of 74 actors are employed there.
The letter lists other achievements of Vasilev's, including assembling a good directing team, opening the stage to young directors, bringing back on stage plays that were wrongfully cancelled, opening new stage spaces, increasing actors' salaries, and attracting young talent.
According to the letter, the Theatre is now working in full swing, with a fresh sense of purpose. "We believe that Mr Vasil Vasilev has the ability and the will to continue on this path. We hope that the problems that arise will be solved. By us. Here. In the Theatre," the petition concludes.