Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

Matilda is opening on Broadway in 2013! Excellent news! Really hope the RSC will be producing… can’t really see why they wouldn’t. A friend at the RSC tells me that Tim Minchin wrote loads more songs -so many apparently that the producer told him to stop. I’m very interested to see whether any of them make it into the show. I expect that the West End cast will stay in London… I’m specifically referring to the wonderful Bertie of course… He’s in workshops for the upcoming Bridget Jones Musical playing Mark Darcy, and will presumably take the role when (/if) it enters production… Would be good to see Bridget here in time for London 2012… IF for no other reason than to prove Lord Lloyd W wrong, that tickets will sell and (despite the huge damage to arts infrastructure that the olympics has caused) will actually be good for London and the arts… for a few weeks anyway…

Andrew Lloyd Webber has been claiming for months that the Olympics will be a time of catastrophically low attendance in the West End, this demonstrates yet again how out of touch he is with the current theatre going public… In fact theatre in general…

The fact is that the West End has progressed significantly since the 1980s, but Andrew Lloyd Webber hasn’t. He has written a series of flops since 1990: The Beautiful Game (2001), The Woman in White (2004), Love Never Dies (2010), Of course it’s true of any successful person that keeping success up is very difficult, and in the 1980s and 90s Lloyd Webber was at the height of his success, along with other musical theatre composers such as Boublil and Schonberg, but then with the creation of jukebox musicals the West End has shifted towards a more modern spectacle, with the music bearing a closer correlation to current popular music.

I think the Olympics will be a boom period for the West End; with a massive influx of tourists, and most having only one ticket for an Olympic event, tourists will make the most of other London attractions, and seeing a West End show is one of the ‘must do’ attractions for tourists visiting London.

Original BBC article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16362975

I don’t deny the fact that Labour were most definitely not without fault, however they were strong advocates of culture and the intrinsic value that it has. David Cameron’s ‘cool conservativism’ doesn’t fool anyone, and I particularly enjoyed the Banksy defaced billboards that demonstrated this fact. Near where I lived the graffiti wasn’t so clever, a simple ‘Fuck off Torys’ sprayed over the billboard delivered the message loudly and clearly. Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt (or as BBC presenter Jeremy Naughtie inadvertantly called him: ‘Jeremy Cunt) jumped straight into his new position in goverment wielding the hatchet, abolishing the UK Film Council and cutting Arts Council England’s already cut to the bone, housekeeping budget by a further 50%. The result of this is being felt already with one County Arts Officer telling me ‘[ACE] literally can’t afford to show an interest anymore’. It’s very easy to say ‘we’re cutting administration money’, but surely they understand that the Arts Council doesn’t run itself, and anyone who’s completed an Arts Council Application form as I have, will know just how much information there is to plod through PER APPLICATION? The very depressing fact is that that is exactly what the average Tory party member does think. I worked for an high brow arts festival for years and at one strategic development meeting the chairman (a Tory party member) turned to the Arts Council Officer running the meeting and said ‘Is this your job?’ To which the lady replied ‘yes’, to which he responded ‘You mean somebody pays you to do what you do?’

Don’t act surprised. The Conservative view of Culture is of something that’s ‘nice to have’, it’s an occasion or event that’s used to further social status. Maybe this is a little unfair, but for years quality was judged in output only, not in the experience gained for participants and workers involved, not to mention the wider community enrichment that the arts bring. An excellent example of this (and one of my favourites) is the amount of money that Opera North receives between 2008-2012, just over £38m. I fail to see how this is true value for money (value for money being one of many assessment criteria used by ACE). Don’t get me wrong, my brother’s an opera singer, and obviously I don’t want to threaten his employment in any way at all, but really, £38m! The Royal Opera House in London over the same period receives… wait for it… just under £110m. It’s like ACE and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have forgotten that without grass roots arts projects, youth theatres, theatre in education departments, in the future there will be no performers, no artists, no musicians of the standard that there are today. I noticed that Julie Walters and a number of others wrote a letter to the Observer last Sunday with a similar message.

Since London won the Olympic bid (and I say London because really where else in the UK is benefiting from the Olympics?), more and more money has been channeled out of the arts and into sport. I love sport, I do, but where is the value for money in this!? And we’re promised that as of 2012 Lottery money will be returned to the Arts. But in these past few years of economical drought for grass roots/ middle of the road arts, how many organisations will have gone, and gone for good?