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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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
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
Live theatre demands proximity. Put bluntly, any form of social distancing is practically and economically disastrous. And that’s hoping audiences will return. A recent survey of 86,000 theatregoers reveals that less than 20% would come back to venues in the short term. But at Royal & Derngate, we’re starting to see tiny shoots of hope as audiences begin to book for future shows. … [Read more...] about The government’s plan for UK theatre is vague and demoralising – here’s what we need
A hit at the Edinburgh fringe in 2018, Six has become one of London’s most popular new musicals, regularly packing out the intimate Arts theatre, where tribute drawings by its hardcore fans – know as the Queendom – hang in the foyer and there are themed cocktails at the bar. There have been Six karaoke nights, where audiences arrive in the costume of their favourite queen and the performers, who are backed by a live band, film themselves on stage using fans’ mobile phones during the closing number. … [Read more...] about Tudor girl-band concert Six set to be first musical to reopen in West End