We are in a situation like that in a Shakespeare history play, where messengers arrive hourly with bad news from all ends of the kingdom. The Nuffield Southampton, which combines a new city centre theatre with a longstanding campus playhouse, is closing, with 86 roles made redundant. The Theatre Royal Plymouth has made its entire artistic team redundant and the Royal Exchange Manchester may have to make 65% of its staff redundant. The story is much the same wherever you look, be it Birmingham, Norwich or Perth. Even the big, seemingly well-protected institutions are not immune: the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, was reported in the London Evening Standard to be “facing closure”. … [Read more...] about Dear Oliver Dowden, have you even begun to grasp the scale of our arts crisis?
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In a battle-torn landscape governed by zeroes and ones, nuance, compromise and empathy are the first casualties. If I were to sum up the online culture war in one word it would be “diaphobia”, a term coined by the psychiatrist RD Laing meaning “fear of being influenced by other people”, the opposite of dialogue. Our ever-present underlying historical and enculturated emotions will nudge us to cherrypick and polish the nuggets of information that support a stance that may have been in our bodies from childhood. Once we have taken sides, the algorithms will supply us with a stream of content to entrench and confirm our beliefs. … [Read more...] about Be it on God, guns or Greta, social media offers neat solutions for our messy feelings
Mendes calls the Covid-19 pandemic “the biggest challenge to Britain’s cultural life since the outbreak of the second world war” and stresses that the arts are “a giant economic growth engine”, with theatre launching the careers of thousands who go on to work in the film and TV industries. Mendes started out as a theatre director and launched his film career with the Oscar-winning American Beauty after he had spent several years at the Donmar Warehouse in London. … [Read more...] about Sam Mendes calls on Netflix and Amazon to share ‘Covid-19 windfall’ with theatre
Last Friday the government released its “roadmap” for reopening UK theatres. There is just one problem: it’s woefully vague with no dates or hard information – or anything of practical use – and it has demoralised everyone I’ve spoken to in the industry. What good is a road map when you don’t know whether the little fuel you have left in the tank will last the journey? … [Read more...] about The government’s plan for UK theatre is vague and demoralising – here’s what we need
The Victorian government is aiming to not only host the Boxing Day Test and Australian Open, but for crowds to attend both sporting events. Victoria has been devoid of live sport during a winter of Covid-19 discontent, but as case numbers continue to drop there is growing hope for the two jewels in the city’s summer sporting calendar. … [Read more...] about Victorian government aims for crowds at Australian Open and Boxing Day Test