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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When we experience a background hum of unfocused emotion, be it anxiety, sadness, fear, anger, we unconsciously look for something to attach it to. Social media is brilliant at supplying us with issues to which attach our free-floating feelings. We often look for nice, preformed boxes into which we can dump our inchoate feelings, we crave certainty. Social media constantly offers up neat solutions for our messy feelings, whether it be God, guns, Greta or gender identity. … [Read more...] about Be it on God, guns or Greta, social media offers neat solutions for our messy feelings
While the careers of those in theatre have suffered in recent months, there are many, he writes, “whom Covid-19 has made rich”. He continues: “It would be deeply ironic if the streaming services – Netflix, Amazon Prime et al – should be making lockdown millions from our finest acting, producing, writing and directing talent, while the very arts culture that nurtured that talent pool is allowed to die.” He calls upon the titans of those industries to “use a fraction of their Covid-19 windfall” to support the performing arts during the crisis. … [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
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