Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (Education, Culture and Science, D66) has promised the House of Representatives that she will look for money to prevent the closure of two places where graduates of a theater program can further develop their talent. These are production house Frascati and Plan Brabant, places where young theater makers get the opportunity to make their first productions.
Also read: Where should the young theater maker go?
The plans of these institutions for the next four years had received a positive assessment from the Council of Culture in the summer, but there was too little budget to give them government subsidies. Earlier this month they were told by the ministry that they would only receive a bridging subsidy for six months. Without extra money, they would have to close afterwards.
After talks with professional training courses and theaters, Van Engelshoven has come to the ‘progressive insight’ that the two institutions must be saved. She said this on Monday during the consultation in the House of Representatives about the culture budget for next year. The SP already had an amendment ready to save Frascati and Plan Brabant. According to MP Peter Kwint, the required 1.4 million euros could be released from the fund for international cultural policy. Art makers cannot travel abroad due to the corona virus, he said, so that money is not necessary. But the minister would prefer not to come and announced that she herself will go through her budget “with a pastry fork” to rake up the money.
She responded less enthusiastically to the request of the House to do this immediately for twelve amateur art institutions that do not receive any money from the Fund for Cultural Participation. This requires 1 million euros. “Don’t have too many expectations of what gets stuck behind the tines of that fork,” she said. Still, she promised to do her best to raise money for this too.
Also read: Read the interview with Marijke van Hees: ‘Our subsidy system needs more nuance’
Stand in front of the class
She took a less accommodating position in a discussion about the position of self-employed people and freelancers. Many people who earn their money with individual assignments are out of work due to the corona crisis. The support money that theaters, concert halls and museums receive hardly ends up with these people without a permanent contract. And they often do not qualify for schemes such as the Tozo, for example because their partner has an income.
The minister says she is doing everything she can to persuade cultural institutions to continue to issue assignments to self-employed persons. “But we have to be honest, in a crisis of this magnitude, it will not be possible to keep every self-employed person in work”. People who are temporarily out of work can get retrained, she said. Or they can stand in front of the class one day a week.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad of November 24, 2020
A version of this article also appeared in nrc.next on November 24, 2020