A crop of articles on the state of funding of the arts in the UK.
Martin Kettle in The Guardian.
Tom Stoppard doesn't normally get political when he gives interviews. With his new Coast of Utopia trilogy now in previews at the National Theatre, the playwright has plenty of professional business on his mind. But when he talked to the New Statesman's Mary Riddell last week, the playwright could no longer contain his indignation about the Labour government's persistently grudging attitude to the arts. MORE
You could trace the current parsimony back to Thatcherism, he acknowledged, "But I can't say Mr Blair has reversed it. They get cross if you say so. Because the Arts Council kitty goes up a bit and the National Theatre gets £12m, the feeling is the arts should think themselves lucky and shut up." It all came back, he said, to a "lack of culture".
Jude Kelly - also The Guardian.
The £25m injected into regional theatre by the Department of Culture and the Arts Council last spring enabled everyone to breathe a little easier. That increase, unprecedented but sorely overdue, was scheduled to enter the system in 2002-3. But before the effects of that extra funding have become apparent we find ourselves faced with the Treasury's triannual Public Spending Review. There has been no indication from the government about what we might expect. Gordon Brown himself has yet to utter a single word defining New Labour's commitment to the arts. Was last year's infusion of cash a genuine act of faith? Or are we about to discover that it was merely a financial prop intended to shore up some crumbling cultural edifices that might better be served with a demolition order? MORE
And an article in The Times on the first graduates to have benefited from the Government's Dance and Dramatic Arts Scholarships.
A cting is not considered a proper career in Middlesbrough — at least not according to Laura Londsdale. “It’s industrial up there,” she says. “Proper jobs are technology, medicine, industry. People like me would not have received funding to study acting from my local education authority.” MORE
Londsdale, 21, who graduates today from the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (Alra) is among the first batch of recipients of the Government’s Dance and Dramatic Arts (Dada) scholarships, which were instigated in 1999 and replaced the arbitrary LEA funding system that, according to Alra’s head, Tony Castro, pretty much depended on whether the person in charge liked music and drama or not.
I think there is a worry that there is quite a bit of unding going into the training end and a lot of encouragement for young people to train in the arts but without adequate funding at the other end there is going to be even less work opportunities for them when they graduate.
<small>[ 08 May 2004, 05:53 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>