Wed, Feb 13, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Theater director criticizes government over support

OFFER The commissioner of Taipei City's Cultural Affairs Department told Lin Hwai-min that the city government was willing to make vacant lots available to the theater

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cloud Gate Dance Theater founder and artistic director Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) yesterday accused the government of failing to cultivate cultural industries as he searched for temporary rehearsal space after a fire devastated the organization's studio on Monday.

"The accident could be handled easily if the Council for Cultural Affairs provided an emergency response mechanism, but the council did not have one and cultural policies have not been improved, either," Lin said yesterday after examining a potential location offered by the Taipei County Government in Banciao.

Although there are many renowned performing groups in Taiwan besides Cloud Gate, the government only budgets NT$100 million (US$3 million) per year for subsidies for performing groups.

"If the fire successfully manages to raise public awareness of the performing arts in Taiwan and pushes the government to develop cultural industries, then it would benefit everybody," Lin said.

The fire broke out at the complex in Bali Township (八里), Taipei County, at around 3am on Monday and destroyed the majority of the building and the props, costumes, scenery and office equipment inside.

The Taipei City Government also offered the organization temporary locations.

Lee Yong-ping (李永萍), commissioner of Taipei City's Cultural Affairs Department, accompanied Lin to examine a discarded parking lot next to Taipei Arts Village, saying that the city government was willing to provide some vacant lots around the city that had been scheduled to be used to build schools.

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) donated NT$200,000 to the organization, and called on the public to join him to provide assistance to the group.

Lin said the organization needs to find a space that requires little renovation work, as the group will begin an overseas tour next month and said the organization preferred to find a place close to its original rehearsal studio in Bali.

Meanwhile, dancers resumed practice yesterday at a makeshift studio provided by Taipei National University of the Arts.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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