Following intensive protests against the decision to install Chris Dercon as director of Berlin's radical theater with a strong left-wing tradition, the former head of London's Tate Modern has decided to call it quits.
Berlin's Culture Senator Klaus Lederer concurred that Dercon should resign with immediate effect.
"Both parties have agreed that Chris Dercon's appointment has not worked out as hoped, and the Volksbühne promptly needs a fresh start," stated Berlin public radio station, RBB, when first reporting the news.
Lederer said that the Volksbühne's managing director, Klaus Dörr, will temporarily assume the director role.
"By the way, it's important for me to emphasize that the personal attacks and abuses from parts of the city against Chris Dercon in the past were unacceptable," Lederer added. "Such forms of conflict are unworthy and devoid of any culture."
Attacks and abuse
After renegade director Frank Castorf ruled the Volksbühne for 25 years, Dercon's appointment was opposed by many for representing a more international and corporate artistic culture in Berlin— and indeed gentrification. Consistent protests against Dercon and a six-day occupation of the former East Berlin theater were matched by a petition against him that was signed by 40,000 people.
In addition to constant trolling on social media, Dercon also suffered the ignominy of having feces left daily in front of his office last August. He then told DW that he had already started considering leaving Berlin.
But the Belgian former director has also come under criticism for his first productions, which have received a very lukewarm response from audiences and the press.
sb/eg (with dpa)