Heidi Trautmann

973: ISTIBDAT KUMPANYASI – Cypriot Turkish State Theatre – 2018 Season at the AKM Nicosia

A play by the young writer Ugur Saatci at the AKM Nicosia 

By Heidi Trautmann

A friend and I recently spent an enjoyable evening at one of the regular Friday performances the State Theatre brings at the Atatürk Cultural Centre in Nicosia (AKM). For this season they have decided on a play by a young Turkish playwright, a play I have seen before on the occasion of the 9th North Cyprus Theatre Festivals.


I went to see the Trabzon Theatre with a satirical comedy Istibdat Kumpanyasi by Uğur Saatçi, a young playwright who had won a first prize in a writing competition. The writers guild in Turkey, I read,  is complaining that there are not enough good young writers; the young generation is interested in other things than writing. I heard the same complaints repeated in Cyprus.  

It is about censorship executed by a government, here by Sultan Mehmed II. Abdul Hamid (1842-1918), when in 1876 media and theatre had to be conform with the dictation of the sultan and fear and frustration reigned in the country. Theatre was to show the welldoings of the governing Sultan, but there was one company, the Istibdat Kumpanyasi (The Absolutism Company),  which ridiculed the play they were supposed to bring, in a French play with the long-nosed Cyrano de Bergerac.


Funny enough, I find, not much has changed in some political leaders’ minds. Freedom of speech, a right we should defend.

The Cypriot Turkish State Theatre, having lost their theatre building through fire years ago, shows their plays on the stage of the Atatürk Cultural Centre, since a proper theatre, a public venue for art and culture, cannot be found and established. Several attempts have been made but in vain.  When will people learn that art and culture are the basic columns society rests on.

Please read the names of the cast on the attached copy of the programme.

Performances will continue on Fridays at 20:00 hrs.



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