Theatre Cooperative (Tiyatro Kooperatifi) received a grant from our Culture & Arts Fund in 2020 to support the establishment of 5 theatre cooperatives representing the 7 regions of Turkey. The Cooperative provided strategic consultancy and capacity building activities to ensure the sustainability of the new cooperatives.
Read below our interview:
Can you tell us about the changes in the theatre sector with the partial normalisation following the pandemic? As the Theatre Cooperative, what kind of activities do you carry out to meet the changing needs?
Theatres returned to stages with the normalisation processes, but many years are needed to compensate for the damage caused by the pandemic. Many stages are closed, many stage workers had to leave theatre activities and start working in different fields. The economic, legal, and social problems of private theatres have deepened with the crisis. We believe that radical changes are needed to solve these problems permanently. As the Theatre Cooperative, we continue our research activities and regular meetings with the authorities to establish a new legal status in which the working conditions and needs of private theatres are protected.
We experienced the healing and unifying power of art during the quarantine period.
Stage 2.0 was realised with the support of Google.org, under the execution of the Inogar Cooperative and in partnership with the Theatre Cooperative. How did the idea of Stage 2.0 come about? Can you tell us about the purpose of Stage 2.0 and the opportunities it offers to artists?
Like many sectors, the field of culture and arts has suffered greatly due to the pandemic. With the measures taken in the first period of the pandemic, performing arts activities stopped suddenly. However, individuals and institutions working in this field continued to produce and share with the opportunities offered by the digital world. We experienced the healing and unifying power of art during the quarantine period. Based on this experience, Stage 2.0 was designed because the digital world needs to be explored and strengthened for performing arts.
The purpose of the project is to improve the digital capacities of everyone working and producing in our field and to enable them to present their productions to audiences on the digital platform. The main axis of the project is the online training program consisting of 5 modules, focusing on performing arts with the contributions of expert trainers. Users who have completed this training program and designed their content can use the Stage 2.0 studio in Istanbul for free to present their productions to audiences on the project’s YouTube channel. We invite anyone interested to register for the project for free by visiting the website.
We attach great importance to building solidarity among private theatres throughout Turkey, and believe that social cooperatives are the best organisational model.
You have completed the Regional Cooperatives for Private Theatres project, which you realised with our grant support. Can you tell us about the purpose and the activities of the project?
We attach great importance to building solidarity among private theatres throughout Turkey, and believe that social cooperatives are the best organisational model. With this project, we aimed to spread this model and to prepare the necessary ground to establish an alliance of theatre cooperatives. First, we offered a training program covering the new generation cooperatives and legal and financial structures of cooperatives to the representatives of private theatres in different regions of Turkey. We shared the experience that we gained in Istanbul with initiatives in other regions and provided them with strategic, financial, and legal advice. As a result, the Ankara Theatre Cooperative, the Black Sea Theatre Cooperative, the Ahura Theatre Cooperative operating in Southeast Anatolia, the Aegean Theatre Cooperative and the Mediterranean Regional Theatre Cooperative were officially established.
How has the support you received from the Culture and Arts Fund contributed to your work? What would you like to share with our donors who support the Fund?
With this grant support, we took a big step in establishing the Turkish Theatre Cooperatives Alliance, which we have dreamed of since our inception in May 2018. In addition, the grant support allowed us to expand our solidarity from Istanbul to all corners of Turkey and to develop a nationwide network. The Cooperative Alliance Initiative, which we established as 7 social cooperatives, represents 114 private theatres today. This unity increases our representation power and contributes to the projects that we can create with solidarity. We want to thank the donors of the Culture and Arts Fund and the stakeholders who have contributed to our goal of enriching the artistic production of private theatres and making them economically, socially, and legally stronger and sustainable.
The Cooperative Alliance Initiative, which we established as 7 social cooperatives, represents 114 private theatres today.
What will be the areas and activities that the Theatre Cooperative will prioritise for 2022?
In the current conditions, the struggle for the survival of private theatres continues. For this reason, we plan to prioritise our advocacy efforts this year. At the same time, we aim to formalise our Cooperative Alliance Initiative and add a new dimension to our organisational efforts. We will also continue to develop projects and collaborations that will provide economic and social benefits to our partner theatres.
About Theatre Cooperative
Theatre Cooperative aims to find permanent legal solutions to problems faced by the sector and implement advocacy and capacity building activities to improve all production in the theatre sector. It provides economic benefits for private theatres by producing joint projects with public institutions, local administrations, academia, private sector, and civil society organisations.