Poland’s new culture minister, Piotr Gliński, wants to ban a production by one of the country’s leading theatre companies of a play by the Nobel prize-winning author Elfriede Jelinek, claiming public money must not be used to subsidise “pornography”.
The move by Gliński, who is also deputy prime minister in the new conservative Law & Justice government, is seen by civil liberties groups as a sign that Poland is poised for a return to draconian state censorship.
“The Ministry of Culture expects that you order the immediate suspension of the production,” he wrote. But the governor of the the western city of Wrocław, where the play Der Tod und das Mädchen (Princess Dramas: Death and the Maiden) is staged, told Polish television that “we do not interfere with artistic expression’, and the show went ahead.
Following the play’s opening night on 21 November 2015, 12 people were arrested after skinheads from the National Resurrection of Poland movement clashed with theatregoers. The 12 people were trying to block the entrance to the theatre which was showing the play.
The following day, the home of the theatre’s artistic director was pelted with eggs and tomatoes.
“These are dark days for Poland, reminiscent of Nazi and Soviet oppression,” the Polski theatre’s literary manager, Piotr Rudzki, told the British newspaper The Guardian.
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