L-R: Culture Minister Sam Tanson; Claude Mangen; Credit: MCULT

On Wednesday 2 September 2020, at the THEATER FEDERATIOUN back-to-school press conference, Luxembourg's Minister of Culture Sam Tanson took stock of the situation of the performing arts sector in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Culture Minister recalled the importance of the arts in general and the performing arts in particular in these times of restrictions on freedoms: "With the return to school and the start of the 2020/2021 season, the performing arts are facing a major challenge. Not only is it a question of launching a cultural season in uncertainty, it is also necessary to overcome the logistical constraints linked to the current situation, whether on the side of the organisers or on the side of the artists. However, the performing arts have a fundamental role to play, not only in entertainment, but also in critical support for what is happening in society and politics".

To support the parties concerned in their efforts, the Department of Health has just published, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, new health recommendations for the performing arts.

For spectators, the emphasis is placed on the application of the principles of social distancing. Wearing a mask remains compulsory if an interpersonal distance of two metres cannot be guaranteed. Those seated in their assigned seat, at a distance of two metres from the next seat, are exempt. In any case, performance venues have developed even more appropriate measures according to their spaces.

The Minister of Culture also recalled the “Neistart Lëtzebuerg” package of measures worth €5 million, including €500,000 for cultural establishments contracted with the state for the reception of artists / associated authors in residence. Minister Sam Tanson particularly highlighted the reinforced support of the performing arts sector with five grants of €20,000 in favour of professional theatrical structures in order to encourage them to order the writing of new original dramatic works, as well as a series of grants of between €5,000 and €15,000 (€100,000 in total) in favour of artistic performing arts teams to realise alternative staging formats while respecting health restrictions.

The Culture Minister finally announced the launch, from the 2020/2021 season, of four new Luxembourg theatre prizes (Prix Luxembourgeois du Théâtre), in collaboration with the THEATER FEDERATIOUN:

- National theatre prize (Prix national du théâtre) for a complete work which aims to reward the rich and inspiring career of a Luxembourgish theatre person (actors, directors, playwrights, scenographers, etc.) and his / her lasting and exceptional commitment to the theatre sector;

- Young hope award (Prix du jeune espoir), which aims to reward the promising career of a young man / woman in Luxembourg theatre;

- Prize for the best creation (Prix de la meilleure création), which aims to reward the remarkable work of an artist performing on stage (actor, director, playwright, etc.) as part of a theatrical production this year;

- Prize for the best creation (Prix de la meilleure création), which aims to reward the remarkable work of an artist working behind the scenes (scenographer, costume designer, light designer, hairdresser, make-up artist, etc.) as part of a theatrical production this year.