The Nation recently featured an article about the measures taken by the nationalist Fidesz party in Hungary to silence independent or subversive theater. A new law that went into effect in 2011 essentially reinstates state censorship and has forced Hungarian artists to consider emigration to continue their work. This is particularly significant as Hungary’s theater occupies a particularly visible role in Hungarian society.
The article references a 2008 issue of the journal Theater dedicated to Hungarian theater, “Hungary’s Mavericks,” and features one of the contributors to the issue, Andrea Tompa. To describe just how different the role that theater plays in Hungarian society is from many western nations, Tompa notes: “There’s not even a small community in Hungary without a state-subsidized theater within thirty miles…amid a population of 10 million, nearly 5 million tickets are sold each year.”
Tompa’s article in Theater is called “Hungarian and Independent: New Artists Bring New Forms of Existence” and is available for free here.