History of the Company
During the II. World Wars bombings the theatre building was also hit, destroying the revolving stage, one of the first ones in the rural theatres of the royal Hungary, which, after seven decades, only now was restored by the city to its original state. About ten years the building operated as a receptive theatre, in 1956, under the leadership of Harag György, a permanent, professional theatre company will start operating again.
The young company was founded by Harag György three seasons earlier, in 1953, in Baia Mare, as the Hungarian branch of the State Theatre there. The generation of founders consisted of recent graduates of the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Cluj-Napoca, who, under the leadership of their young teacher, decided to establish a theatre. Among them were the excellences of Hungarian acting in Transylvania, such as: Csíky András, Ács Alajos, Köllő Béla, Török István, Vándor András, Elekes Emma, Soós Angéla, Nyíredi Piroska, Nagy Iza, or Diószeghy Iván. The poet Kányádi Sándor also started with this class, with whom, although he hasn’t finished his studies, the company continued to maintain a close relation (the small number of his stage works regularly premiered at Satu Mare).
On September 15, 1956, the Baia Mare Provincial Party and Executive Committee, accepts the company's request, transferring them to Satu Mare. Until April 1, 1957, the company officially operated as the Hungarian branch of the Baia Mare State Theatre in Satu Mare. After a difficult start, they only began to succeed: as Harag György reports in his writing „The Blalance of Four Seasons” that the audience of Satu Mare was initially averse to the company: only sixty or seventy people watched the performances until the legendary performance „I Can't Live Without Music” brought the breakthrough and inaugurated the audience as a faithful “ally” of the institution. On April 1, 1957, the Satu Mare company officially separates from the institution of the Baia Mare Theatre. From here on, the institution operated under the name of the Hungarian State Theatre of Satu Mare until the establishment of the Romanian company.
The young company was able to record significant professional successes in a short time, and in its heroic age it was considered one of the best Hungarian companies in Romania. During the administration of Harag György until 1960, such highly successful and multi-award-winning performances were given as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The American Tragedy or The Diary of Anna Frank.
Even after 1960, the company had major artistic directors. It was also managed by Csíky András and Ács Alajos for several years (both founding members who learned theatre management from Harag György). Between the administration of the two, the institutional reorganization of the theatre created a sharp dividing line: when in 1968 the authorities established the Romanian company in Satu Mare, which still had a Hungarian majority, and renames the theatre (the name „Northern” being meaningless, nothing else just the geographic location of the city). Finally, Ács Alajos undertakes the difficult task: to try to keep the company alive in the new, two-member organizational structure, in an increasingly anti-minority atmosphere. Ács was followed by a short administration by Boér Ferenc, the following “politically loyal” directors, mostly appointed on a political basis, until the end of the 1980s, when Parászka Miklós took over the management of the company. In 1993, the fortieth anniversary of the founding is commemorated in a solemn setting (considering the founding of the company at Baia Mare in 1953 as a starting point). Continuing this tradition, the fiftieth anniversary was celebrated in 2003 and the sixty anniversaries in 2013. Parászka Miklós led the company from 1987 to 2000.
Under his administration, they took the name of the founding leader of the company, Harag György (on the fortieth anniversary of the founding). Between 2001 and 2006, Lőrincz Ágnes was the director, under whose leadership the theatre’s studio, was named, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary, after Ács Alajos, a founding member and former theatre director of the company's. From 2006, the outstanding artist of contemporary Hungarian acting in Transylvania, Czintos József, leads the company until his retirement in 2009.
Director Keresztes Attila took over the management of the company until 2012. Whose name can be link to those artistic, main professional virtues and aspirations of which the company still strives to represent, also he introduced in to the institution the perpetual membership. Between 2012 and 2014, Bessenyei István led the company, under whose leadership a strong rejuvenation began, but also the life members whom are living in Satu Mare (including such important artists as Czintos József Jászai Prize winner, Tóth-Páll Miklós Bánffy Miklós Prize winner, Éva Kovács and Méhes Kati Poór Lili-award-winning actors) returned to the company. Since 2014, the company has been led by dramaturges and theatrologist Bessenyei Gedő István. His most important directors' aspirations include helping the Harag György Company to become an independent theatre again, further raising its artistic status, and building new collaboration opportunities.
Over the past two and a half decades, the Harag György Company has gained a leading position in the Hungarian cultural market in Transylvania: all its leaders have managed to further increase the audience of the workshop and maintain the company's diverse but quality-oriented program policy. With more than 40,000 spectators, the company is still considered to be the most visited minority theatre in Romania, as well as the theatre institution with the most permanent seasonal passes in the whole country. With more than 200 performances a year, the Harag György Company is the most playing Hungarian theatre in Transylvania, which in recent seasons has placed increasing emphasis on re-establishing a “regional theatre” status: as the only professional Hungarian theater in Satu Mare, Sălaj and Maramures counties, in addition to its headquarters, the company regularly plays on the stages of Carei , Baia Mare , Tăşnad, Zală and , Sighetu Marmației but also reaches smaller locations with some productions, such as Livada, Ardu or Berveni.
Its traditional catchment area also includes the part of historical Satu Mare belonging to Hungary: above all, Mátészalka, Csenger, Nyírbátor, Fehérgyarmat, etc. Thanks to the strategic partnerships established during the last seasons, they are also regular guests at the theatre of Debrecen, Nyíregyháza and Oradea, and in the current season they are also a guest in the Hungarian capital.
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