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KATHRIN STRAUB On June 2, 2002 the people of the city of Zurich voted on payments to its main

theatre, the Schauspielhaus (Playhouse). One bill concerned subsidies for the

maintenance of the building, and a one-off contribution towards the cost overrun

incurred by the Schauspielhaus during the building of the Schiffbau (Ship Building),

its new cultural and creative centre, housing a large stage, a small stage, rehearsal

rooms and workshops. The hall, formerly used for shipbuilding, is a huge space

that makes the hearts of those who make theatre beat more quickly. The other

bill contained a proposal for a subsidy increase, mainly to cover increased personnel

costs due to new regulations in labour law. A total of nearly 10 million Swiss

francs was at issue, not an outrageously high amount for Zurich, but the money

was ‘to be or not to be’ for Christoph Marthaler as director of Zurich’s

Schauspielhaus; something akin to a vote of confidence in politics.