Dear Mayor Burchardt,
Dear members of the Cultural Committee,
Dear members of the Constance City Council,

We in the stage union GDBA (Genossenschaft Deutscher Bühnen-Angehöriger) were dismayed to learn of your plans to drastically reduce subsidies for the Theater Konstanz and to close the "Werkstatt" venue.

A cut of 20% is threatening the existence of the Theater Konstanz and the artists who work there. They are the ones who have ensured for years that important cultural impulses are carried into the city society through a lively and diverse repertoire. At the same time, the artistic employees in particular work on the basis of extremely insecure contracts and are now being threatened in their professional existence by your short-sighted plans. Cuts in cultural institutions always hit the artistic budget first and thus damage the theaters in the long term.

We don't know the exact financial worries and needs of your municipality. What we do know, however, is that every euro invested in culture flows back into the city. Even and especially a city like Constance with an attractive location on Lake Constance would become impoverished and lose its appeal without the theater.

More importantly, theater has a crucial role in political debate, in providing education and visibility, and last but not least, it is a democratic place where diversity of opinion as well as integration of different ways of life can be experienced in a sensual way.

Unfortunately, we are living in times in which right-wing nationalist and populist forces are attempting on many levels to infiltrate and divide society and to shift the political discourse. We must oppose this as a society with united forces. Theaters are indispensable places where democracy is strengthened and where citizens from the youngest to the oldest learn that the world is bigger than the radius of their own plates. This cultural mission, which Theater Konstanz fulfills in an outstanding manner, has always been important. Today, it has become indispensable.

We would therefore urge you to reconsider your plans and set an example. Prevent a downward spiral from being set in motion, the consequences of which can only be guessed at and which you will eventually no longer be able to stop. Now is your chance. Take a step back from these cutback plans. For the arts. For the theater. For democracy. For Constance and the people who live there.

With kind regards

Raphael Westermeier 

Deputy President for the GDBA

The open letter can be downloaded here.

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