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The situation of culture in Romania in and after the pandemic. Short reflections and opinions.

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Re CCI rethinking cultural activities in the crisis situations.

Theaters, cinemas, or concerts were the first to close in March 2020 and the last ones reopened in 2022. To be closed quickly again.

Instead of being supported by the state, the artists claim that they have had to do their best. “It’s a country where everyone is saved as best they can,” says theater director Radu Afrim in an interview for Free Europe, which talks about how culture survived the pandemic, its relationship with the authorities, lack of support or what see on the horizon (

“The authorities wanted to make an economy from Culture because in their opinion it is not a vital field”, Radu Afrim now shows.

Photo: Andrew Wise

A gesture of revolt over the lack of involvement of the authorities was   visible when Alexander Nanau, the director of the internationally acclaimed  documentary “Collective”,refused to receive a decoration from President Iohannis on the occasion of Culture Day.

“It is always good to have an alternative to everything. But replacing the stage and the live show is not something to consider”- said Afrim.

To be or not to be online

The alternative also means answers to the challenge – the Re CCI ProjectRethinking Cultural and Creative Industry activities in the crisis situations can be a good solution.

According to a study published by AROC a year after the pandemic, 90% of all respondents said that they want to participate in events in 2021, if the conditions allow their organization. Over 72% are willing to be vaccinated in order to participate, while the percentage increases for those willing to be tested, to over 76%.

Whether we are talking about cultural institutions or independent artists, institutionalized cultural forms or independent creative spaces, they all had one thing in common during the pandemic: online adaptation.

To be or not to be “online” has become a challenge for every cultural manager, freelancer, independent artist or even cultural entrepreneur. The question, in the first phase, perhaps rhetorical, triggered by the closure of physical spaces and the impossibility of a head-to-head meeting with the public, was later accompanied by a rethinking of cultural activity and events (

 “We did over 50 events online, I had activity, I didn’t stay, we offered free content. We were pretty fast, at the first events we had a very high reach, on YouTube we had hundreds of people watching the show live and we had a reach of thousands of people. The problem is that it lasted a maximum of one month, until the state theaters offered such services and we reached 3 views. For this reason, we stopped. The public institutions had filmed content, we had everything live” say the young actors from Magic Puppet.

With the relocation of events to digital media, the audience also changed. There was no time to process either for the managers of the cultural spaces or for the public. Things were moving fast forward.

The actors from Magic Puppet consider that we are witnessing a change in the cultural options of the population: “Given the situation we are in, and if the spaces were reopened tomorrow, the public would not come. We had free events and the people  didn’t come. “