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A theatrical lament

I am watching the BBC’s Culture Show, and they are telling a sad little story. Apparently, the regional theatre companies of Britain have, during the last five years or so, enjoyed a bonanza of government money. There has apparently been a mini theatrical renaissance in the provinces. Hurrah!

But now, the horrid government is imposing a pay freeze, and this “great achievement” is in jeopardy. For the sake of a few more million quid, this great achievement could all collapse. Woe!

I could have told them. Never, I would have said to them (had they thought of asking me), depend upon government money and the promises of politicians. Never get addicted to the contents of the public purse, for they can be snatched away from you without warning. Renaissances funded only by politicians have a way of dying very prematurely. Getting money from mere customers may be harder in the short run, but once you learn the trick, you have a foundation you can build on more confidently.

Probably all this is just the political machine doing what it does. It spends. It cuts back on its spending. Occam’s Razor says that this is what is happening here. But, although it was not discussed on the show, I wonder if the end of the romance (that is to a Times on Line piece, which may be a problem for some, but it tells this story better than any other I could find) between New Labour and the Luvvies – caused by such things as New Labour going to war in Iraq, and the Luvvies going to war against the war in Iraq – might have something to do with this story of theatrical feast and threatened theatrical famine.

3 comments to A theatrical lament

  • Michael

    What next state sponsored Rock Bands? Yes if Franz Ferdinand have their way.

    The comments section was iluminating – with one correspondent wanting a (surprise) tax on music “pollution”, from popular bands.

  • dearieme

    What, luvvies against the war is some sort of shake-down operation?

  • Tim

    As an amateur actor and sound/lighting person in a regional theatre group (www.lads.org.uk – apologies for the blatant plug, but I hope the rest of my post will show why I’ve done this), I’m proud that we exist only because of member subscriptions, charitable donations and, most important of all, ticket sales. We stand or fall by how well-loved we are by the people in the town where we perform. The moment the state offers us a single penny to keep us going – and it’s not impossible, am-dram outfit though we are, given that LADS has been going nearly 81 years and could presumably make some sort of claim to ‘heritage’ status – and it’s accepted, I will resign.