Theatre for children – The stage is saved – Munich

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The children’s stage on Dachauer Straße has been the subject of controversy for years. There were financial difficulties, although there was no shortage of spectators.

  • The Munich Theater for Children, threatened by closure, has apparently been saved: The city hall coalition has already agreed on an annual subsidy of 220,000 euros.
  • In recent years, the theatre has repeatedly got into financial difficulties.
  • There was frequent criticism of the stage: the performances were too dusty, the concept of theatre education was missing.

On this Wednesday the jungle book runs, on Thursday the little ghost. And if you don’t have time, you can easily postpone your visit to the Munich Theater for Children to a later date. Because the stage on Dachauer Straße, which is threatened with closure, has apparently been saved: On Thursday, the city council’s cultural committee will decide on an annual subsidy of 220,000 euros from the city budget – according to CSU city councillor Richard Quaas, the black-red coalition has already agreed on a yes. “That means the cow is off the ice.”

The children’s stage, which has been in existence since 1967, has been the subject of controversy for years – many city councillors, but also the experts at the cultural department consider the performances to be a bit dusty, there is a lack of a contemporary theatre pedagogical concept. The theatre around its founder Heinz Redmann now wants to remedy this shortcoming – although the stage has not yet been able to complain about a lack of spectators.

Risk participation of the theatre

Financially, however, there has been a lot of trouble in recent years. Revenues have always fallen, and the stage has been in considerable arrears with social security contributions for its employees. As the management had often submitted the necessary proofs of use for state subsidies too late or incompletely, the theatre repeatedly ran into financial difficulties. In addition, there was an increased risk of guest performances, which Redmann then had to reduce: Since the financial crisis, many cultural offices or organisers no longer bought complete guest performances, but demanded a share of the risk from the theatre, which the Munich-based company could no longer afford.

This called the Bavarian Supreme Audit Office into action. Because the Free State treats itself to a kind of anti-Munich lex in the promotion of non-state theatres: theatres based in the state capital – unlike in the rest of Bavaria – are generally not promoted. Unless they have a strong supra-regional significance, which the auditors no longer saw as a given after the return of the guest performances. Actually, according to the funding guidelines, the Free State only wants to transfer money anyway if the municipality also pays. What has not been the case with the theatre for children so far, with the exception of one-off payments for renovations, for example. But the city of Munich has always had a hard time with the stage in the former Regina cinema on Dachauer Straße. Especially since it runs its own children’s and youth stage, the Schauburg on Elisabethplatz.

“The financial criteria are now fully met.”

In the meantime, however, founder Heinz Redmann has recourse to professional support in office work, and more guest appearances have also been announced again. “The financial criteria are now being fully met,” says a pleased Quaas, whose party had been demanding more money for the theatre for years. Cultural consultant Hans-Georg Küppers now also sees no problem in funding the children’s stage, which, with the help of a newly founded support association, has also greatly reduced its debts and thus stabilised its cash position. The association has already promised 100,000 euros for 2015, and further donations of 60,000 euros are promised if the city and the Free State donate the same amount.

With its 220,000 euro grant, the city wants to ensure that the Free State also maintains its payments. Until 2013, this was 370,000 euros per year. In 2014, the sum fell to 290,000 euros, while in the current year only 150,000 euros have been pledged for the time being. The background to this is the criticism of the Court of Audit, which had suggested that after a transitional period the subsidies for the theatre for children should be discontinued altogether. This year, the city council wants to check whether the commitment has paid off.

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Christina Cherry
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