National Theatre gets its name back

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 9, 2019 14:44

National Theatre gets its name back

Story Highlights

  • During the Orthodox Good Friday the letters from the National Theatre were removed under the order of a mysterious culprit. As the Theatre Protection Alliance accused the government and Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj, it had recently restored the identification at the same size, font and color to the theatre’s building.

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TIRANA, May 9- There has been an ongoing clash between artists and government with Tirana Municipality regarding the demolition of the National Theatre in order to build a new complex with towers and perhaps a couple of other scenes within that complex. The artists deemed corruptive the giving of the concession tender to Fusha Shpk without an open competition, and thus the project remains suspended, yet, it seems as the government is pushing some buttons for the building to be ruined.

During the early hours of April 26  the letters identifying the National Theatre as such, were mysteriously removed. The building was left for two weeks with the shadow of the 14 letters in its structure. Artists and activists from the Theatre Protection Alliance have accused Prime Minister Edi Rama and Mayor Erion Veliaj on this sneaky move, however the culprit who ordered this vandalism to be committed remains unknown.

“The National Theater facade awoke violated, stripped of its identification letters. The Theatre Protection Alliance condemns this low act and asks the Ministry of Culture to hold an immediate and public stance for what has happened and to take care that the letters be restored where they were,” the Alliance wrote on Friday (April 26).

The Ministry of Culture didn’t react on this matter until a couple of days ago when the appointed minister Elva Margariti said during a televised show at Report TV channel that according to her knowledge the letters were on the risk of collapsing, just like the building is. She also added that the National Theatre has turned into a political debate more than a question of cultural heritage, hinting that a restoration won’t fix the problems and won’t add the value of the building. Margariti is an architect by profession.

Two weeks later the letters were restored at the same size, font and color to the building by the Alliance and its artists. During the reclamation citizens also joined and clapped after the restoration was finished. This symbolic act was done after a silence from the respective institutions, while the Alliance had filed a lawsuit in the prosecutor’s office.

The Theater Protection Alliance made the Municipality of Tirana responsible for this action, which in one year of debate has been designated as responsible for the PPP of the theater site while its head also leads the commissions with the interest groups. According to a law remaining somewhere in the assembly offices he will also direct the commission that will make the decision to select the winning project for the new theater on the site of two old theaters and surrounding areas.

“When we pointed the finger of the accusation by the mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj, as the person who had ordered this act, we were not speculating. We had statements from the staff of the third shift, who told us aloud: it was the Tirana Municipality employees who came around 4.30 am and removed the letters from the facade. Now it is loud and with a figure, the devious, the maggot, the enemy of the heritage and history of Tirana, Erion Veliaj! Shame is little to be said about this unscrupulous man,” wrote in its profile the Theater Protection Alliance on April 29.

This action was carried out at a time when the protest of activists for the protection of the National Theater building continues. Some pictures from when the act was being carried out also surfaced. Meanwhile, the government stands to its decision to break this condominium. The action sparked numerous reactions from artist groups, but no response from state-run institutions. The artists on the other hand are a bit separated as some continue to stage shows at the Experimental Theatre, while others have moved to ArTurbina.

The artists with the letters to be restored

The artists with the letters to be restored

The ground while putting the letters back

The ground while putting the letters back

A picture from when the letters were being removed during early morning of April 26

A picture from when the letters were being removed during early morning of April 26

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 9, 2019 14:44