The performing arts, more specifically theatres, can be considered representative and symptomatic of the cultural policy developments in Hungary. The theatre profession is sharply divided along political lines; the role of a few – or rather one – influential person is symptomatic of the about the patronal character of the society. This is not counterbalanced by the composition of the 24-member National Performing Arts Reconciliation Council, several members of which are delegated by organisations outside the NER halo: its majority, nevertheless, votes in support of the government.
Divisions in the sharing of public theatres in Hungary between the government and the municipality were manifested in 2019 when the opposition won the local government elections (compared to the earlier joint supervision and financing). The formerly approved national showcase of theatres (POSZT – National Theatre Reunion in Pécs) was discontinued, and loyalty appears to bias the distribution of financial resources and distinctions. Independent ensembles, which play an important role in the Hungarian performing arts, are discouraged, especially if they put critical content on stage. On the other side, shows and performers of dubious value are in disproportional favour.
The division has spilled over to the top-level educational institute, the University of Film and Theatre Arts SZFE, which is described at 2.1.
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