Taipei, May 10 (CNA) Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said Thursday she looks forward to seeing increases in government budgets for arts and cultural activities.
"I'm at pains to face limited budget in performing my duty," Lung said while visiting the creative headquarters of the financially troubled U-Theatre in suburban Taipei.
Lung's visit came a day after Ruoyu Liu, U-Theatre founder and artistic director, said the troupe will suspend creation of any new work for three years due to its operation problems and her poor health.
Moreover, the group will not apply for financial aid for three years from 2013, Liu added.
"During the period, we'll only accept invitations for paid performances at home and abroad and continue teaching programs," Liu said Wednesday.
According to current regulations, performing arts groups must present new creative project to qualify for securing grants or subsidies from the Cabinet-level Council for Cultural Affairs, which will be transformed into Ministry of Culture May 20 when President Ma Ying-jeou is sworn in for his second term.
The 24-year-old U-Theatre, one of Taiwan's most prestigious percussion arts ensembles, received NT$5.75 million (US$196,245.7) in subsidy from the cultural council last year.
As the group is struggling for its survival right now, it cannot afford to concentrate its energy on creating new works, Liu lamented.
During her visit, Lung said U-Theatre's current plight highlights flaws in the country's cultural subsidizing system and limited budget shares for arts and culture.
Lung, who assumed her post as head of the cultural council in February, said she will endeavor to craft a feasible mechanism to facilitate infusion of private investment or resources into arts and cultural activities after her council's elevation to a ministry later this month.
In addition, Lung said, her agency will encourage local performing arts groups to develop professional administrative, marketing and fund-raising systems to ensure their smooth operations and maintain successive creations.
According to Lung, the cultural council has a budget of about NT$360 million to subsidize performing arts groups and cultural activities last year.
(By Sabine Cheng and Sofia Wu)