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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » March 29, 2012
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EU Support for Theater Projects
March 29, 2012   
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The Theatrum Gedanense Foundation in Gdańsk, the Nowy Theater in Poznań and the Baj Pomorski Theater are just three of many cultural institutions that have obtained EU Culture Program grants available for theater projects in 2007-2013. The Culture Program is the only EU program designed specifically for the culture sector.

Last year, the Culture Program helped the Theatrum Gedanense Foundation carry out a project called Shake-in the City. The art of inclusion—Shakespeare Out and About. A Community of Art. The project involved theatrical performances, a training program on cultural volunteering and workshops for children and teachers, all taking place at three European Shakespeare festivals in Gdańsk (Poland), Guylai (Hungary) and Neuss (Germany). The project was designed to bring art closer to audiences and encourage cultural activities through theater, artistic and educational projects.

In 2009-2010, the foundation carried out Beyond the Stage—New Trends in European Theater, a project focused on interdisciplinary approaches to the art of theater, exploring the use of new media. The foundation had previously received EU support to organize projects such as a Summer School of Theater and Drama and the 10th Anniversary of the European Shakespeare Festival in Poland. In total, the Theatrum Gedanense Foundation has carried out seven Shakespeare-related projects funded with EU support under the Culture Program, the most in Poland.

Beneficiaries of EU grants also include the Baj Pomorski Theater, whose project entitled The Flying Festival, or Children and Family in Contemporary Europe was designed to make audiences more aware of problems faced by contemporary families. The project was unique in that it combined the art of theater from countries with different historical, political, economic and social backgrounds. The project began in 2009 and comprised two phases spanning two years. During phase one, theaters from Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic prepared five premieres dealing with the project’s central theme. During phase two, the plays had their premieres at theater festivals organized by each partner in the project.

Other Polish cultural institutions that have obtained EU funds for their theater projects include the Silesia Theater of Dance, the Wielki Theater-National Opera in Warsaw, the Narodowy Stary Theater in Cracow, the Silesian Opera in Bytom, the Helena Modrzejewska Theater in Legnica, the Theater Academy in Warsaw, the Polski Theater in Bydgoszcz, the Grodzki Theater in Bielsko-Biała, the Puppet Theater in Białystok and the Nowy Theater in Poznań, for a project called Noah’s Ark. A New End of Europe. The play, based on the biblical story of Noah, had a cast of 24 actors from seven European countries. The multilingual and multicultural play was shown at all theaters which were partners in the project.

Grants available under the Culture Program range between 50,000 and 200,000 euros for short-term projects lasting less than two years and between 200,000 and 500,000 euros a year for long-term projects spanning three to five years.

Theater-related projects account for the majority of grants awarded under the Culture Program, but funds are also available for the organization of international cultural events in other branches of culture and art as well as festivals, translations of literary works and research on European cultural policies.

A total of around 1,000 grant applications are submitted under the Culture Program annually and grants are awarded to around 30 percent of those.

Polish cultural institutions have been active participants in the program since 2001 and the number keeps growing. Since the current program began in 2007, Polish institutions have jointly organized over 100 projects worth a total of 43 million euros. Poland led 22 projects worth 1.8 million euros in total.

The promotion of the Culture Program is coordinated in member states by Cultural Contact Points, which advise applicants about ways to obtain EU funds for international cultural projects. The Polish Cultural Contact Point is part of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
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