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New Jewish cultural hub to open in Budapest

The Golem Theater and Jewish Performing Arts Center is set to open in Budapestʼs District 7 in 2020, in the heart of the cityʼs historic Jewish Quarter, hosting theater productions, concerts, dance performances and other forms of contemporary art.

András Borgula

The idea of a complex Jewish cultural center comes from the founder and artistic director of Hungary’s internationally acclaimed Golem Theater, András Borgula, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

The only professional Jewish theater company in Hungary was founded in 2005. Working on a project-based model with renowned actors and leading theater professionals from the Hungarian contemporary arts scene, Golem has no permanent ensemble. Additionally, having no playhouse of its own, the company has performed at various venues since its founding.

“We have always planned to move to a permanent base, which is an obvious advantage when you run a theater,” Borgula says. “For that very reason, I was delighted when, upon our inquiry, Budapest’s District 7 municipality agreed to lease us one of their derelict buildings, an old bakery in the very heart of the city’s Old Jewish Quarter. Given an ever-increasing appetite for arts and culture in Budapest, we decided to widen our scope and transform our operation from purely running a theater to opening a contemporary Jewish cultural center with complex programming.”

Besides housing the Golem Theater’s repertoire and its performing arts school, the center will host contemporary music, dance, and circus productions, as well as serving as an educational and information hub regarding today’s Jewish culture. Additionally, guests will have the chance to relax in an all-day café featuring traditional Jewish cuisine reinvented, notes the press release.

The project is based on a public service contract, with the municipality providing the venue, while the Golem Theater will operate the hub along its own artistic programming and business plan. Renovation work on the building is already in progress, with the opening scheduled for September 2020. Besides its own resources, Golem aims to fund the project, costing approximately EUR 225,000, with the help of private benefactors, corporate partnerships and crowdfunding.