“The Puppet Theater is a an old shack that brings shame to us in the face of our children,” said Prime Minister Edi Rama at the Socialist Party meeting last week, where he announced Mayor Veliaj’s bid for a second term in office.
PM Rama accused the opposition for letting the Puppet Theater building rot, as well as buildings of other cultural institutions in the country.
His statements seem to be more of an excuse for his plan to relocate the Puppet Theater and implement an urban plan that would erase the center of Tirana and build tall towers instead.
Indeed, in 2016, Rama’s government spent about EUR 230,000 for the reconstruction of the Puppet Theater.
On October 29, 2015, the Prime Minister signed a decision for reconstructing the buildings of the Puppet Theater and that of the National Center of Folk Activities. Immediately after, The Ministry of Culture opened calls for tenders for a total value of EUR 400,000. Be-Is shpk company was announced the tender winner.
On December 14, the ministry gave the company an additional EUR 59,200. Reconstruction works were completed at the end of 2016.
In 2018, the newly appointed Director of the Puppet Theater complained about the state of the building.
“We have a company ready to contribute with the reconstructing of the theater’s facade. The Puppet Theater needs urgent intervention. [It] needs immediate intervention into the [theater] stage. Actors are unsafe during shows, the floor could collapse. The storehouse needs immediate intervention.”
It’s therefore unclear what reconstruction work was done with the EUR 230,000 sum spent for the Puppet Theater building, which the Prime Minister and Mayor of Tirana plan to relocate elsewhere.