It’s time, Mr Dowden, you faced up to a simple truth: artists know much more about the arts than politicians. So far the most practical plan for the theatre has come from Sam Mendes, who has made numerous recommendations: increasing the theatre’s tax-relief scheme from 20% to 50%, inviting the government to become theatrical “angels” by investing in productions, challenging the streaming services to put money into an industry from which they directly benefit. Have you spoken to Sir Sam about his ideas? Have you co-opted him onto the cultural renewal taskforce you have set up? Or are you simply fiddle-faddling while Rome burns? … [Read more...] about Dear Oliver Dowden, have you even begun to grasp the scale of our arts crisis?
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Geographically, this map could be of anywhere as it is a map of the culture war that rages mainly online, but the US has a particularly well defined and extreme version. Stylistically, I was thinking of cold war propaganda maps showing the “communist threat” in the 1950s. The Big Brother-like figure at the top is Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook; I chose him because he is the best-known face of social media power. … [Read more...] about Be it on God, guns or Greta, social media offers neat solutions for our messy feelings
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
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
It is, perhaps, the perfect musical for a nation under a “rule of six” law. The hit show Six, in which Henry VIII’s wives return from the dead to give a boisterous “histo-remix” pop concert, is set to become the first musical to reopen in the West End since lockdown and will have a simultaneous run in Salford. … [Read more...] about Tudor girl-band concert Six set to be first musical to reopen in West End