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Best of This Week's Theatre Blogs - 18 Sep 2009

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With the hangover from Edinburgh gone and autumn firmly upon us there was little cheer amongst theatre Bloggers this week as the issue of funding came to dominate online conversations. In the wake of grant cuts in Canada Straight.com evoked the spirit of Winston Churchill and asked why the arts matter, getting professionals and amateurs alike to state their case. Meanwhile in America it was 99 seats who passionately put forward the argument for the importance of the arts and why public funding is the key to its survival.

For British Bloggers, however, it was less of a case of why public funding should continue and more how it should be administered. Whatsonstage.com's own Michael Coveney responded to the Arts Council's plan to introduce 150 'Artistic Assessors' with gusto, suggesting in the process that the best thing for ACE might be for those who currently administrate it to resign en masse!

There was less controversy elsewhere as Killing Time led a workshop for the Stephen Joseph Theatre's new adult writing group - and got to make his own little bit of history in the process. Meanwhile Foursight Theatre reflected on the challenges of moving a site specific piece to a new location, in the process giving us an insight into the logistics of the burgeoning area of site sympathetic theatre.

Finally, the subject of money cropped up again on the Stan's Cafe's blog with the trials of marketing leading to the suggestion that it might be better just to let an audience in for free... 

Straight.com, Jessica Werb - Why Do The Arts Matter?
“From a personal point of view, art helps me to figure out my wider philosophy about who I am and where I fit into society—as well as giving me an opportunity to see, even if only briefly, what it might be like to be someone else."

99 Seats - Necessary
"I believe passionately that art is a necessary thing for humanity. Not a nice thing to have, not a luxury, not a fringe benefit, but something hard-wired into our brains, bodies and souls (if you believe in such things). It may very well be the thing that actually makes us human".

Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage.com - Arts Council cries for help
"It’s as if we were turning our performing arts into a branch of the restaurant business, with a whole new race of pernickety tasters creeping round our theatres and galleries issuing deathless verdicts on main courses and cheeky desserts."

Killing Time - The Peggy Ramsey Room
"Stephen Wood, executive director at the SJT, got things underway with a little speech that outlined the historical importance of the occasion. It was great to be a part of a 'moment' like this, although had I thought too much about it I might not have got round to walking in the venue".

The Corner Shop Blog - Getting down and dirty in Wolves and West Brom
"Our intention this time is to create something that is less reliant on the space we are using physically, but drawing on its relative location and what that means to the audiences who attend. We want, this time, to create a show that can be toured to other similar locations, if people want it".

Stan's Cafe - All Steps Completed in Croydon
"I recall writing a report once for a venue’s marketing department and floating the idea that rather than advertising the shows we should have just gone out and given the tickets away. Strategically done this would have saved us money and ensured full houses – the problem with this strategy is you end up never making any money on anything".


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