HRVATSKO DRUŠTVO DRAMSKIH UMJETNIKA
CROATIAN ASSOCIATION OF DRAMA ARTISTS
The Croatian Association of Drama Artists (HDDU) is an artistic, non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit organization that acts as an umbrella association for expert artistic associations. HDDU has about 1,000 members who are professionally involved in the dramatic arts, life and audiovisual performing.
The majority of members (about 75%) are actors, while the rest are stage directors, playwrights, drama writers and scriptwriters, costume designers, stage designers, puppet designers, score composers, light designers and theatre producers. These artists are members of 32 professional theatres throughout Croatia (12 theatres in the capital city of Zagreb) as well as in many private theatres and artistic organizations. Some of 250 members of HDDU are not permanently employed, i.e. with theatres or cultural institutions, while about 130 of them have the status of independent artist (free, self-employed), which the government provides an incentive for their artistic work through the payment of their pension and health care insurance. Retired members, about 200 of them, are exempt from membership fees.
The regular work of HDDU is financed through membership fees, funds allocated from the Ministry of Culture, donations and sponsorships.
The Secretariat of HDDU employs two full time staff: the General Secretary and the administrative assistant. All activities are managed, organized and executed by General Secretary, with occasional assistance from external associates for large projects and events.
HDDU is formally run on a volunteer basis, alongside full time employment and professional involvement, by President, the six Members of the Executive Board (actors, directors and drama writers) over a four year mandate and associated Board Member in charge of International Relations and represents HDDU in FIA.
HDDU Secretariat conducts many administrative, legal, financial and advisory tasks for its members. This is the only body to be authorized by the Ministry of Culture to issue its members confirmation of tax reliefs which, pursuant to the Income Tax Act, the Government of Croatia has prescribed as an incentive for professional artists for their creative work and the development of Croatian culture.
HDDU is the founder, organizer and producer of the two most esteemed events of interest for its membership, and for Croatian culture as a whole:
- Croatian Actor Awards (also called the Croatian Theatre Oscar): ceremony of the most prestigious professional awards in 29 categories covering, first and foremost, the dramatic arts (theatre, radio and television), and opera, operettas, musicals, ballet and dance. The ceremony has been held annually from 1992. at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb;
- Actor's Festival: a unique festival dedicated exclusively to actors, their artistic work and acting skills (awards are handed out exclusively for acting achievements). Founded 19 years ago in the eastern part of Croatia that was under occupation at the time and under constant war attacks. The arrival of actors from other parts of Croatia with their theatrical plays was a Croatian cultural "scream" and protest against the destruction of war and the devastation of this tame, noble and beautiful part of our homeland. This was a strong voice of support for the suffering population, the completely devastated cultural structures and the battle to preserve a place for theatrical artists to gather together. Today, thanks to the HDDU and the local and regional governments, this is one of the most prestigious Croatian theatrical festivals. Virtually all the theatres and cultural buildings have since been restored.
In addition to organizing these two great theatrical events, HDDU also carries out two other, though no less important, activities throughout the year on a regular basis:
- Solidarity Fund: this is a fund which helps out retired dramatic artists (about 200 members) through financial and other forms of assistance, and socially threatened and ill members of HDDU, and participates in funeral expenses for all members and members of their immediate families. The Fund is financed through membership fees (one-third of membership fees) and the remaining funds are secured through sponsorships and donations.
- Publication of the magazine Croatian Acting Scene: a dual-issue magazine is published two times per year to regularly inform HDDU members of all the relevant theatrical and cultural events and all events organized by the HDDU. The magazine is printed in a circulation of 1400 copies and is distributed free of charge to all its members.
OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES OF HDDU
The objective of HDDU is to achieve and harmonize common interests and rights for dramatic artists and to work continually towards improving the theatre culture and development of the dramatic arts.
In order to achieve this objective, HDDU carries out the following activities:
- Stimulates the advancement of the dramatic arts as a part of the overall culture of the Republic of Croatia, and initiates programmes for theatre development in the Republic of Croatia;
- Proposes benchmarks to evaluated the programme for the development of the dramatic arts;
- Encourages and organizes cooperation among members aimed at improving dramatic work, author protection and professional ethics;
- Nurtures and stimulates the development of ethics in the artistic calling;
- Develops cooperation with similar societies, associations, communities, cultural and education institutions and economic entities;
- Stimulates and supervises the implementation of campaigns and events of special national significance in the field of theatrical arts, some of which are organized and executed by HDDU;
- Offers assistance to members in the resolution of all issues pertaining to professional, cultural and social issues;
- Cares for its members of poorer economic status and provides assistance from its solidarity fund;
- Provides recommendations and this participates in the preparation and implementation of laws and agreements pertaining to dramatic artists, and cares for their rights;
- Encourages the development of international cooperation in the field of dramatic arts and as a FIA member actively participates in the work of the FIA, International Federation of Actors;
- Cares for the achievement of social rights of all its members who are independent dramatic artists;
- Acts in line with the authority granted to it pursuant to special laws and acts of competent bodies;
- Keeps records of its membership and collects and keeps information on the artistic activities of its members, aimed at obtaining complete information as to the overall activities of HDDU;
- Cares for the constant professional and artistic development and affirmation of its members, and proposes its members for various social and artistic awards at the local or state level;
- Awards recognition to its members within the HDDU;
- Encourages the collection of documentary material and financial resources for the publication of a lexicon of dramatic artists and posting of the same on the webpage;
- Publishing printed and electonic magazine Croatian Acting Scene, monographs, dramatic texts and more.