Hasanbegović in the Council of the Croatian National Theatre

By 2 January 2018

A lot had been happening in the world of theatre in Zagreb at the end of last year.

First, in an accelerated procedure in the City Council (your guess is as good as anyone else’s as to why such decisions need to be sped up), Zlatko Hasanbegović, former Minister of Culture, current Member of Parliament and Zagreb City Council was appointed as the new representative of the City of Zagreb in the Theatre Council of the Croatian National Theatre (HNK). Hasanbegović has repeatedly been on the record with harsh criticism of the current leadership in the Theatre, accusing them of turning it into “the headquarters of the pseudo-lefty activism”.

Many other appointments have also been made (all sped up!), and while most are not really that interesting to the general public, the one that stands out is that Hasanbegović’s political partner and former candidate for the position of Zagreb Mayor, also currently supporting Mayor Bandić’s majority in the Council, Bruna Esih, was selected to be the Member of the Board of the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall.

After the decision was published the public push-back ensued, as could’ve been expected. First some of the media brought the story to the public eye, in spite of the obvious attempt to bury it with the appointments being made during the festive season. Then some of the actors employed in HNK’s Drama sent the open letter to the Mayor Bandić, Council Head Mikulić and all of the representatives in the Council, expressing their concern over the Council’s decision to appoint Hasanbegović.

Twenty actors say that they are concerned about the motives of the appointment, and the potential course upon which the largest theatre in the country could be steered. They added that the decision to appoint Hasanbegović ''can only result in the ideological clashes and the devastation'' of the leading theatre in the country. They pointed out that the situation in which HNK is the hostage and the means of manipulation for the majority in the Council can’t be a solid foundation for the future work in the theatre. The actors also chose to remind the public and the mayor that Zlatko Hasanbegović used his brief tenure in the Ministry of Culture to restrict the freedoms in democratic society, and that his political choices are highly revisionist and very hard to accept in any relevant aspect of modern world history.

The closing of the letter acknowledges that the actors are aware that they have no influence whatsoever on the decisions made by the City Council, but that they feel the need to appeal to the Administration to reconsider this decision. They also state that the last season of the theatre has been very successful, which might serve as an indication of will and desires of their spectators and potential voters.

The letter is signed by Alma Prica, Damir Markovina, Ksenija Marinković, Vlasta Ramljak, Milan Pleština, Dora Lipovčan, Lana Barić, Barbara Vicković, Bojan Navojec, Nina Violić, Ana Begić Tahiri, Dušan Bućan, Luka Dragić, Ivana Boban, Dušan Gojić, Daria Lorenci, Krešimir Mikić, Iva Mihalić, Silvio Vovk and Olga Pakalović.

Tagged under: zagreb theatre