Igor Samobor resigned as director of SNG Drama Ljubljana

More trouble for Slovenian culture. After film industy, theatres are the next target

The Slovenian National Theater (SNG) Drama Ljubljana has announced that Igor Samobor is stepping down as director.

At the same time, they attached his resignation statement, in which Samobor wrote that he would like to write that he was resigning for personal reasons, but that would not be true.

He has been a member of the permanent art ensemble SNG Drama Ljubljana for more than thirty-five years, and he has created most of his most resounding roles on this stage. He has been the Director of Drama for the last eight years, he writes, so he has the theatre as his second home.

During the term of office of the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Žiga Turk, Samobor responded to the invitation of the then Secretary Aleksandar Zorn to accept the position of director, mainly because of the threat that the dilapidation of the SNG Drama building means for the theatre, its visitors and employees. “I wanted to start remediation procedures,” he writes.

“In the eight years of my term, six ministers have joined the Ministry of Culture. Despite the frequency of changes, preparations for the rehabilitation of the Drama went on without interruption. Thus, between 2014 and 2020 we managed to arrange a pre-project task, call an anonymous international architectural competition, in which an international commission of experts selected the solution of the office Bevk Perović architects, in 2017 we bought a warehouse in the German House (then Minister Tone Peršak). In 2019, we signed a three-year contract with the ministry on financing the design, ”continues Igor Samobor in his resignation statement.


Last spring, a new, current government was sworn in, and Vasko Simoniti became Minister of Culture, who cut off funding for the renovation. “All participants have been working pro bono ever since because they are aware that delaying the renovation of the building could also mean interrupting the operation of SNG Drama as a theatre,” he wrote.

He added that he intervened in the project without consulting the profession and demanded that the premises of the German House, which had been purchased three years earlier, be excluded from the project.

“In order to continue the procedures, we and a team of colleagues agreed to all these arbitrary interventions. Despite the required adaptation of the project, we did not get the green light to continue designing. We didn’t even get a permit to apply for a building permit. The building permit is the first condition for the preparation of documentation, which is the basis for all further procedures and also for the calculation of the actual value of the investment, "Samobor continued.

A revision of the project requested by the minister has been carried out, but although it was completed in September, there are no results yet. “I asked the Minister for a meeting on the topic of construction. I did not get an answer, ”the dismissed director wrote.

“In the draft of the new National Program for Culture, we found a changed year of the beginning of the renovation and an unrealistic estimate of the value of the investment, without the designers consulting the project team. I asked the minister again for a meeting. I didn't get an answer, ”he continues.

The theatre building is worn out, as evidenced by statics and earthquake safety checks, he said.

"Since there is a possibility that the disapproving attitude of the minister is not of a general but personal nature, I am irrevocably withdrawing from the position of director of SNG Drama Ljubljana," said Samobor at the end of his resignation statement. months ago, but he thought it right to “round off the most strenuous part of the season in terms of work”.

"I am leaving at the moment when the plan for the next season is made in all the details, the cast has been set, the time and financial plans have been drawn up and the materials of the so-called call have already been submitted to the Ministry of Culture," he concludes.


Source: N1 Slovenia

Žiga Živulovic jr./BOBO