Alexander Morfov quits from the managing post at the National Theatre
A few years after introducing a budgeting reform in the socialist-inherited system for financing public theatres, it proved to be inappropriate for the Bulgarian theatre system. Gaps in the delegated budgeting regulations permitted frauds and to avoid such fraudulent practices the Ministry of Culture undertook a “reform of the reform”. The Regulation of the Council of Ministers from 23rd July lacks a major element. It does not, in any way, implement the Law on Protection and Development of Culture that gives the National Theatre its status of a leading theatre institute. The Regulation equalises its dotation with the dotation that any random drama theatre in Bulgaria would receive. With this administrative act our theatre is now being deprived of its leading role. The director of the National, Alexander Morfov, had a number of meetings and discussions about the introduced change. The money the theatre would receive will be equal to those of many smaller theatres and would be insufficient to cover all the expenses that such a massive structure has. Moreover, it would be impossible for the National Theatre to fulfill its leading role by having productions that develop theatre language, present classical theatre, modern drama, Bulgarian drama and support the repertory that currently offers a choice for each citizen – people from different social strata, with different financial status, with different educational status, with different taste. The successfully accomplished mission of the theatre is about to enter a period of decline because it would become impossible to support this theatrical variety that is presently found on the stages of the National Theatre. On the evening of 3rd September Alexander Morfov had another, final argument with the responsible deputy minister of culture in charge of performing arts sectors. Morfov expressed his views and rounded up the coversation with a few text messages:
“Boil, in spite of all your arguments I don’t think it is fair that the National has the same dotation as the rest of the theatres, even with the small ones across the country! THIS IS NOT JUST! I’m ready to leave immediately if you all think that this is about me. It is not about me. It is about the most important and prominent theatre and cultural institute in our miserable Fatherland!”
“I will not accept this equalisation with the smaller theatres! If this document is voted I will file my resignation the following day. Not that it would be a great loss, me leaving… The paradox is that I will be free of this huge managing plight. My pain is for the theatre and that is why I’m so insistent!”
On the next morning Morfov filed his resignation protesting against the humiliating act of depriving the country of its symbolical National Theatre and implying that this act is purposeful and aims at removing culture as a basic value from the agenda of the social development. The theatre is now managed by the financial director Militsa Traykova. The competition procedure for appointing a new director was open until 8th October. Only two applications were filed, where non of them is eligible due to either lack of experience or lack of educational background for taking the director's position.
Morfov still has his shows and rehearsals and is still an activist in support of a new change that would reinstitutionalise the National Theatre as the leading and most prominent in the country.
A few days after his resignation the Ministry of Culture published a short note claiming that the status of the National has not been revoked but giving no explanation why the new Regulation of the Council of Ministers does not apply the law by ensuring higher budget for the leading theatre institute in Bulgaria. The financial regulations remain the same, while the National has been made equal to theatres with much simpler infrastrusture, with less in number employees and with up to ten times less in number new productions.
Morfov rehearsing "On the Edge" - his last show on
the stage of the NT Bulgaria, a theatre commentary
on political and social problems in the country.
© 2014 by mdemireva