The occupation of the Volksbühne theatre in Berlin has been condemned as “not acceptable” by its new director, who the activists fear will take the radical venue in a more commercial direction.
The protest against the appointment of Chris Dercon, a former director of the Tate Modern in London, began on Friday and swelled over the weekend after fruitless negotiations between activists, city authorities and Dercon.
“The talks have ended for now without results,” the Volksbühne said on its Facebook page. “It remains to be seen whether rehearsals will resume on Monday.”
In a statement, Dercon and the programme director, Marietta Piekenbrock, said: “We in no way condemn the occupiers, and their social and policy issue, which are important for Berlin. But we condemn the irresponsible way in which they swooped in the building on Friday afternoon.
“In spite of their efforts, the occupiers put their concerns above the safety of our employees and their own audience. And they position themselves above our artists and their work with an unprecedented arrogance.”
Dercon and Piekenbrock said they would like to restart rehearsals for performances scheduled for November as soon as possible, but any rehearsals would clash with the occupiers’ “night-and-day events and parties”.
“This occupation is not acceptable. We ask politicians to now live up to their responsibility and take action,” they said.
The protesters, who have formed an artists’ collective called From Dust to Glitter, plan to occupy the building in east Berlin for three months while staging performances free of charge.
They held their first “assembly” on Saturday evening, urging theatre lovers to show up in force and bring supplies such as toilet paper, printers and food and drink.
The appeal was so successful that police said no more supporters could be allowed in after the building reached its maximum capacity of 500 people.
With its protest action, the collective said it…