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Unique Jewish cultural hub opens in Budapest

24 September 2019

The idea of a complex Jewish cultural center sprang from the founder of Hungary’s internationally acclaimed Golem Theater, András Borgula.

Golem Theater – the only professional Jewish theater company in Hungary – was founded back in 2005 by Borgula who has been the artistic director since then. Working on a project-based model with renowned actors and leading theater professionals from the Hungarian contemporary art scene, Golem has no permanent ensemble. Additionally, having no own playhouse, the company performs 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. 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” – tells Borgula, adding, "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 Golem Theater’s repertoire and its performing art school, the center will host contemporary music, dance, and circus productions, as well as serve as an educational and information hub regarding today’s Jewish culture. Additionally, guests will have the chance to relax in an all-day open café featuring traditional Jewish culinary reinvented. The project is based on a public service contract, where the municipality provides the venue, while Golem Theater will operate the hub along its own artistic programming and business plan. The renovation works of the building are already underway, and the center will open in September 2020. Besides its own resources, Golem aims to fund the project, which costs USD 250,000 (EUR 225,000), with the help of private benefactors, corporate partnerships and crowdfunding. The center will be located in Budapest’s District 7, one of Europe’s must-see urban destinations with an unmatched atmosphere filled with living Jewish and multicultural tradition dating back to several hundred years.

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