At an annual two-day meeting in Leipzig on Saturday, around 250 heads of theatres, opera houses and orchestras across the country said they were worried by a growing trend towards guest performances and a move away from expanding permanent ensembles in Germany’s performance arts and cultural industries.
Permanent ensembles and resident theatre companies at repertory theatres remain indispensable for aesthetic education, regional identity and for children and youth work, they said in a statement.
The head of the Deutscher Bühnenverein Ralf Bolwin said the number of temporary contracts handed out to actors had risen to 18,000 from 8,000 in the last 15 years.
“Without a permanent ensemble, successful children and youth work which is carried out everywhere in the German theatre landscape is absolutely unthinkable,” Klaus Zehelein, president of the Deutscher Bühnenverein said.
The Deuscher Bühnenverein is one of the largest theatre organizations in the world with some 430 members. It represents both private and state-funded theatres as well as orchestras.
Bolwin said that theatres are facing continual job cuts and have been hit hard by the global recession. He said that an increasing number of theatres and opera houses were unable to pay their actors, dancers and singers.
“Even as the government bails out companies in the corporate world with billions of euros, culture has been put on the backburner,” Bolwin said.