In the context of the General Assembly held in Tel Aviv, the Habima – National Theatre of Tel Aviv hosted a roundtable dealing with “Artists boycotting Artists”.
The speakers discussed their experiences and views on whether or not artists should boycott the work of fellow artists due to political reasons. Ilan Ronen, representing the Habima – National Theatre of Tel Aviv, highlighted the necessity of always striving to be in dialogue with the opposite side. In his view, freedom of speech should never be constrained, and boycotting other artists — especially those who actually are critical of their own situation — is one way of blocking freedom of expression. The artistic director of the National Theatre in Prague, on the other hand, put into question if at times there were a social responsibility that could only be expressed through boycotting.
Other speakers, such as Gorcin Stojanovic from the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, argued that the responsibility of theatres was to collaborate with other artists and not to boycott them; and that collaboration with other artists who are critical of their own political system and/or regime will be the only way to facilitate mutual understanding.
The debate covered various conflict zones, ranging from Putin’s Russia, and the complicated relationship between the countries from former Yugoslavia, to multi-racial issues of South African society.
While the topics covered are to complex to be resolved, the speakers did find general consensus in that theatre should take a stance on conflicts and should collaborate with theatres from conflict zones, while championing for freedom of expression.
Ilan Ronen | Artistic Director, Habima
Michal Dočekal | Artistic Director, National Theatre of Prague
Joshua Sobol | Israeli playwright, writer, director
Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer | Vice President of Research at Israeli Democrat Institute
Thomas Engel | Director of the International Theatre Institute, Germany
Gorcin Stojanovic | Artistic Director, Yugoslav Drama Theatre
Manick Govinda | Visiting Artists Coordinator for Manifesto Club
Georges Banu | Author and professor at the Sorbonne
Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg | President of NGO Monitor, Political Studies at Bar Ilan University
Victor Bodó | Theatre director
Lior Fridman | Journalist and TV reporter Channel 2
In context of the CONFLICT ZONES network programme of the UTE.
With the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.