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?
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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
Fourth, theatres need to be at the centre of civic regeneration as post-lockdown Britain becomes more community-minded. Local councils should be incentivised to support ways in which theatre can bring benefits to education, community trusts, hospitals and prisons. Broadcasters should be galvanised to showcase more work from the theatre which supplies them with so much of their talent. The Department for Education could be encouraged to restore creative subjects to every school curriculum. … [Read more...] about The government’s plan for UK theatre is vague and demoralising – here’s what we need
Now, I feel I must bear witness not only to the wonders I have seen, but to the devastation that has occurred in my lifetime – whole ecosystems destroyed, habitats swallowed up by farming and living space as populations grow, species all but wiped out. My testimony is a first-person narrative of how human growth has come at a terrible price, paid by the natural world. … [Read more...] about Boris Johnson’s fiancée Carrie Symonds says Sir David Attenborough’s show warning of mass extinction of wildlife left her in TEARS – as she pleads: ‘Everyone should watch this, it’s time to act’