CLOSURE OF THEATRES, CIVIL MOVEMENTS AND ONLINE CULTURAL SOURCES IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN HUNGARY
Closure of theatres, civil movements and online cultural sources in response to COVID-19 in Hungary
To slow the spread of coronavirus disease government bans all indoor events with more than 100 and all exdoor events with more than 500 participants on the 11th of March. On the following day, Budapest’s mayor orders the closure of all the theatres, cinemas, libraries and museums financed by the capital. Due to the news on the spread of coronavirus and the « stay home » movement, even the smaller studio theatres with a capacity under 100 start to announce their closure for safety reasons.
A civil movement called #nemváltomvissza meaning « I do not refund it » is launched to help the theatres and theatre workers in the crisis: the initiator asks theatre loving people not to refund their tickets to the cancelled performances. Many actors and theatre professionals worry to lose all their income due to the cancelled performances, especially since only a few theatres offer permanent work contracts, most people in the field are self-employed. Nonetheless many actors, taking use of their public visibility, actively support the stay at home movement through social and online media, especially to protect the elderly and most vulnerable.
Another civil initiation is the founding of the Facebook Group called « Live Coverages in the Time of Coronavirus » that collects all the online sources of culture from Hungary and from around the world with the help of its community. Many theatres and companies offer streaming, performance recordings and readings, while people staying home to protect those with special risk like the elderly can also choose from online literature, museum tours and even guided physical activity classes. This may also be important to students and their teachers who found themselves in a new situation with the digital curriculum. Hungarian actors offered them to make readings from compulsory literature, helping the process of online learning.
The National Cultural Fund announced the possibility of asking the modification of already submitted tenders due to the current situation.