Five prominent cultural institutions have announced a collaborative project called “Ortak Yapim” (Co Production) in support of theatre arts in Turkey in the face of challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Five prominent cultural institutions, BKM, DasDas, Enka Sanat, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) and Zorlu Performing Arts Centre (Zorlu PSM) have announced winners for their joint open call for original plays.
The five institutions say that they have chosen five original plays from 786 applications and commissioned an additional five plays from established playwrights.
A total of ten brand new plays will be produced in the 2021 season. Each institution will stage one competition winner and one commissioned play. The playwrights will each receive 7,500 TL ($931) as an incentive for their efforts.
The five winners were selected after a submission period of one month, from July 1 to August 1, 2020. They were announced on October 15, 2020 after much deliberation by an assessment board and a selection board.
They are: Oysa, Maviydi Gok Bu Sabah (Yet the Sky was Blue This Morning) by Ceyda Asar; Nuh'un Gemisini Aramak (Searching for Noah’s Ark) by Gokhan Erarslan; Haset (Jealousy) by Samil Yilmaz; Fikri'nin Visne Bahcesi (Fikri’s Cherry Orchard) by Ulku Oktay; Sirket (The Company) by Zeynep Kacar.
The assessment board and the selection board sought to select plays that were easy to produce in terms of production, number of actors and the ability to tour the country. The plays were required to be one-act and ranging between 45 and 75 minutes.
In addition to the five winners, there are also five commissioned plays for the “Ortak Yapim” (Co Production) project. Ahmet Sami Ozbudak wrote “Simdi Gercek Bir Sey” (Now for Something Real); Ceren Ercan wrote “Beni Sakin Yumruklardan” (Protect Me from Punches); Ebru Nihan Celkan wrote “Bir Ihtimal Daha Var” (There is Another Possibility), and Yesim Ozsoy wrote “Kum Zambaklari ve Mumkun Dunyalar” (Sea Daffodils and Possible Worlds).
What did the representatives say?
Speaking at the news conference for Co Production, BKM CEO Zumrut Arol Bekce says “Ortak Yapim (Co Production) is a project that gives morale. Ever since the idea emerged every step of our efforts has been exciting for all of us. If you consider the last eight months, in addition to the uncertain and difficult times the world has gone through, the culture, art and entertainment industries suffered a big blow. It was quite difficult [to go through a period] in the world and not just in Turkey when stages, cinemas shut down, yet everything else remained open.”
She goes on to say: “But instead of giving up we had faith that everything would recover next year and trusted in art, embracing this project and our own projects, keeping our production going without giving up on life. We await the days that theatres will fill up again with healthy and enthusiastic crowds.”
“In this process we are going through, we are happy and excited to be with important institutions of the culture and arts industry,” says DasDas founding partner Mert Firat. “With this first project, we believe it is important to bring in new texts to [Turkish] theatre, to continue working even in difficult conditions and to foster hope. We thank all writer colleagues who share our enthusiasm.”
“With the Ortak Yapim (Co Production) project we believe we have established an extraordinary cultural collaboration for Turkish theater,” ENKA Art Coordinator Murat Ovali says. “The steps we have taken with this project is not a temporary solution. Because society needs the unifying and sustainable nature of arts more than ever,” he explains.
Saying Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) is thrilled to be part of this project, Deputy General Manager Yesim Gurer Oymak notes that art institutions, artists and all stakeholders in the industry are going through a hard time. “Theatre is one of the most affected by the pandemic,” she continues. “Collaboration was one of the most important tools we have in order to weather this extraordinary time together, with strength,” she notes, joining the news conference digitally.
Saying he believes that all stakeholders need to revise their way of doing business in the arts in these trying times, Zorlu Performing Arts Centre General Manager Murat Abbas emphasises that “from artist to actor, from manager to performance centre we have to adapt together. To ensure the sustainability of the theatre ecosystem means to support production and to support each other. This is a first in Turkey – such prominent institutions coming together. This project will allow many playwrights, directors and actors a chance to perform their profession. I am already excited about all the works that will be staged and I hope that our collaboration will set an example to our industry and all sectors.”