COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Austria/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.2 Performing arts and music

There are special regulations concerning theatre funding, stating that the government is obliged to pay an annual supplement currently EUR 21.5 million to the regional and city theatres under the regularly agreed Financial Equalisation Act.

The Federal Law on the Establishment of the Salzburg Festival Fund (1950) provides for the Salzburg Festival's losses to be covered by the federal government (40%), the province of Salzburg (20%), the city of Salzburg (20%) and the fund for the promotion of tourism (20%).

In August 1998, federal theatres (Burg- and Akademietheater, Staats- und Volksoper) were reorganised as limited companies under private law (see also chapter 7.3) under the management of a holding. The owner of the Bundestheater-Holding is the Republic of Austria. Their cultural tasks are defined in the Federal Theatre Organisation Act, 1998. This states that the government is to provide an annual basic payment, which amounts to 162.9 million EUR from 2016 onwards.

The private Vienna theatres (Theater in der Josefstadt, Volkstheater, Theater der Jugend) and the VereinigteBühnen Wien (Vienna's theatre association: Theateran der Wien, Ronacher, Raimundtheater) are likewise co-funded by the Federal government on the basis of a special contract with the City of Vienna.

In order to do justice to the changing theatre landscape, in 2003 the "Concept for the Vienna Theatre Reform" was presented by the Cultural Department of the City of Vienna. It formulates the basic principles of the support practice of the City of Vienna and aims at the production of a balanced relationship between the modern debate with traditional forms of performing art and the work on contemporary forms of theatre and dance as well as between established and young artists. In 2012 an evaluation report on the Vienna Theatre Reform was completed, which documents developments in Viennese theatre since 2004. It recognised a better, above all international networking on the domestic scene, but a limited number of performances per production. The number of co-productions had tripled, in-house productions had risen, but the works have shorter runs. A further weakness was the funding of project subsidies: the payments have continuously risen, but the budget has fallen. Larger theatres receive growing payments from the city (up to EUR 57 per head); the subsidy of the medium-sized theatres has remained the same, at EUR 25. The IG FreieTheaterarbeit criticised the lack of transparency in the evaluation: the objectives of the "Concept for the Vienna Theatre Reform" had not been achieved.


Chapter published: 02-02-2016

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