What do they know of theatre who only theatre know?
Monday, 22 February 2010
Tory arts policies
With Pirate Dog gently growling at my feet, I read that Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, has once again has embarked on a charm offensive. Sadly, if typically, everyone always starts discussions about his ideas by saying what a nice bloke he is. That’s the charm bit of the charm offensive. The offensive bit is actually his ideas: apparently, the main boost in funding that we can expect when the Tories win the next general election is in philanthropic giving to the arts! Great! What a laugh, eh, this Hunt really is such a comedian. In the worst recession since the second world war, he expects the rich and powerful to not only keep giving but to give more. Sounds very likely. But, wait a minute, here is the catch: “I am under no illusion that this is a 20-year project.” So that’s alright then. If anyone loses their job, or if any arts organisation closes down, it will be a great consolation that all you have to do is wait a mere 20 years — what a relief. I was beginning to think that the Tories were bad news for the arts!
Aleks Sierz is author of In-Yer-Face Theatre: British Drama Today (Faber, 2001), The Theatre of Martin Crimp (Methuen Drama, 2006), John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger (Continuum, 2008), Rewriting the Nation: British Theatre Today (Methuen Drama, 2011) and Modern British Playwriting: The 1990s (Methuen Drama, 2012). He is editor of The Methuen Drama Book of 21st Century British Plays (2010) and co-editor (with Martin Middeke and Peter Paul Schnierer) of The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary British Playwrights (2011). He is a member of the UK Critics' Circle and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. A journalist, broadcaster and theatre critic at large, he is also Senior Research Fellow at Rose Bruford College and teaches postwar British theatre at the London branch of Boston University.