Fabre’s dance company must make changes or lose subsidies

Summary

Following complaints of inappropriate behaviour by the artist Jan Fabre, his company Troubleyn has been warned that it will lose financial support unless it changes the way it is run

Checks and balances

Jan Fabre’s dance company, Troubleyn, has been ordered to set up strict internal rules about its governance following an investigation into complaints of inappropriate behaviour by the artist. If it fails to implement these regulations by April 2019, culture minister Sven Gatz will remove the subsidies the company currently receives.

In September, 20 current and former Troubleyn dancers wrote an open letter that was published by arts website Rekto:Verso, in which they described being subjected to inappropriate and offensive behaviour by Fabre. A judicial enquiry was launched, and Gatz instructed his ministry to carry out a separate administrative enquiry.

Following the enquiry, Gatz has now written to the non-profit organisation imposing a series of regulations. It must apply principles of good governance, appoint a new and extended board of directors and broaden the AGM.

“I want to give Troubleyn the chance to remain one of our leading dance companies and to become a leader in the area of integrity policy and good governance,” Gatz said in a press release. “The measures taken meet the dancers’ demands that the organisation change. I want all organisations that receive subsidies through the arts decree to be safe workplaces for all employees."

The company must also develop an integrity policy and introduce an ethical code of conduct. If it fails to implement the required changes by April 2019, it will lose the first round of subsidies for next year. An independent expert is expected to review the measures after six months, and if the review is positive, the subsidies will be reinstated.

Troubleyn spokesperson Frederik Picard told broadcaster VRT that work was being done to meet the demands. “We are fully engaged in all the imposed measures,” he said. “This is not a problem for us, so we are not afraid of losing our subsidies.”