So what are you and your team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport doing to reassure the arts community and provide a concrete plan of action? Well so far you have come up with a five-phase roadmap for the performing arts that is worse than useless. Sam Goldwyn said that “a verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on” and a roadmap that offers no clue as to how to get to one’s destination is positively insulting. What’s most alarming is that it reveals a total incomprehension as to how the arts actually work. A Phase 1 stage of “rehearsal and training” supposedly leads to a Phase 4 and 5 stage of outdoor and indoor performance. But how can any theatre start rehearsing a production when it has no guarantee of financial support nor any idea whether it will even exist in a few weeks’ time? Wouldn’t that be the height of irresponsibility? … [Read more...] about Dear Oliver Dowden, have you even begun to grasp the scale of our arts crisis?
Art and design
All the ships, planes and other combatants are labelled with the issues, signifiers and buzzwords that swarm around this algorithmically polarised struggle. Please do not look at my map for clarity. Like the English civil war there is no clear geographical divide between “them” and “us”; as with Brexit, opposing forces may reside in the same family. In the centre of the map is the presidential plane Air Force One colliding with a Russian bomber labelled “Climate Change”. When I made this print I thought that was the headline issue, but now I might have made the “Racism” and “White Privilege” helicopters and the “Black Lives Matter” jet fighter more prominent. Hurricane “Woke” off the east coast still seems very topical. … [Read more...] about Be it on God, guns or Greta, social media offers neat solutions for our messy feelings
It is vital that this helps fund the freelancers who form 70% of theatre’s workforce, a third of whom do not qualify for the Treasury’s income-support schemes. Many will have no option but to leave the theatre entirely and I can’t overstate that without their crucial talents all efforts to save our venues will be in vain. Without core creators like writers, actors, directors, designers, set builders, stage managers and technicians working alongside our brilliant in-house teams there will be no theatre productions on our stages. … [Read more...] about The government’s plan for UK theatre is vague and demoralising – here’s what we need
The director Sam Mendes has outlined a rescue package for theatre during the coronavirus crisis and warned that if the performing arts are not protected, “an ecosystem this intricate and evolved cannot be rebuilt from scratch”. Mendes’ suggested measures, outlined in a long article for the Financial Times, have been applauded by key figures in the industry, with the choreographer Matthew Bourne hailing the plan as a “great call to arms”. … [Read more...] about Sam Mendes calls on Netflix and Amazon to share ‘Covid-19 windfall’ with theatre
The papers The Guardian leads with “No 10 faces showdown as Tory rebellion over Brexit bill grows” and the Times agrees that is the best story of the day with “Law chief leads Brexit rebellion”. Others stick to Covid-19 for their main stories with the Mirror saying “Final virus warning” and the Telegraph “GPs warned they must see patients ‘face to face’”. The Mail prefers “Revealed: lockdown blow to UK health”, as does the Express with “Lives at risk in cancer research cash crisis”. The FT leads on “SoftBank executives revive talks on delisting Japanese tech group”. In Scotland the Herald says “Consultants could demand more money in second wave”, while the Record has “The sex beast on Tinder”. … [Read more...] about Monday briefing: ‘Abide by rule of six,’ police plead