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Equity denounces far right appointment

13 March 2012

Letter to Hungarian Embassy

Equity and the Writers’ Guild have denounced the imposition of a supporter of a far-right party as director of the New Theatre in Budapest.

Gyorgy Dorner backs the anti-Roma, anti-gay and anti-semitic party Jobbik. His policy is to stop producing "foreign garbage" and concentrate on Hungarian plays, including those by his friend and advisor Istvan Csurka, an open anti-semite and president of the Hungarian Justice and Life Party.

The imposed change at the New Theatre has provoked protests from theatre-makers throughout Europe and beyond.

Actor Sam West, Writers’ Guild President David Edgar and Equity President Malcolm Sinclair (pictured) recently handed in a statement to the Hungarian Embassy, protesting at this development.

The text of the Equity/Guild statement was published as a letter in the Guardian, signed by 68 actors, playwrights and directors, read it here. Actor signatories included Henry Goodman, Martin Jarvis, Antony Sher, Janet Suzman and Zoe Wanamaker; among the writers were Howard Brenton, Michael Frayn, David Hare, Mark Ravenhill and Arnold Wesker, and the letter was also signed by the artistic directors of the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court.

UPDATE 13 MARCH
Following the protests, Equity has received a letter from David Lidington MP, Minister for Europe. He relates that the British Embassy in Budapest has noted that the mayor of Budapest has publicly stated that he will not tolerate any sign of anti-semiticsm in the New Theatre. He also relates that Istvan Csurka died in February and therefore will not be joining the theatre as an advisor. He shares Equity's concerns about the theatre and will continue to monitor developments closely.

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