Friday, 8 March, 2013
Thursday, 21 February, 2013
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Greetings dear readers and welcome to the latest roundup of the week in culture. Only another 45 of these to go and then it'll be Christmas all over again.
Will It Or Won't It
Last week we brought you the tale of The Brewhouse in Taunton, a theatre, that was being closed down because it had completely run out of money and every organisation that could have supported the venue apparently hated them with a vengeance (allegedly).
Over the last seven days a few things have emerged. First of all the final blog post from the theatre, posted on their website, was taken down by dark forces who are, as yet, unknown. The former CEO of the theatre, Robert Miles, took to Facebook, as you do, to make his case and revealed a few interesting snippets.
One particularly interesting snippet was the fact that ACE withdrew funding (because of the aforementioned and completely alleged hatred) but then gave them two grants, one of which was a £450,000 "Sustain" award.
"Sustain" was a programme started by ACE to help organisations who were suffering serious financial difficulties, unless they were not actually suffering serious financial difficulties then they would just give you the money anyway, but that's another story.
Since ACE was one of several organisations that caused the Brewhouse to suffer serious financial difficulties in the first place giving them "Sustain" money is kinda taking the pi... (snip Ed!)
Adding further fuel to the fire we give you Taunton Deane Borough Council who have decided not to cut the £152,000 grant to the theatre despite the fact it has closed down. Currently this entire debacle is turning into a farce of epic proportions and we might just be losing interest.
The plan is, apparently, to have the venue stage community driven productions of "Spiderman The Musical" or something. Mr Miles however remains unimpressed;
"They can tell us until they are blue in the face that we should be making money but with 352 seats - you can't - it's as simple as that," he said."
In a fit of pique the BBC has decided to move the completely awful "Review" show from BBC2 every week to BBC4 once a month. The "show" which involves
pompous, self righteous know it alls arty folk yapping about some show or other they have been forced to watch was apparently not attracting much of audience. Colour us surprised about that little factoid!
Despite the fact the BBC is not supposed to care about ratings, or programme quality apparently, they have moved it to the channel where bad shows go to get cancelled. The BBC declined to respond to questions about why they don't just put the arts on TV instead of people yapping about them.
The Daily Fail
When they close the book on us, history will reflect that this was the day we referenced an article in the Daily Mail. As this is unfamiliar territory for us we're not sure if we need to get shots or something?
Anyway, The Fail reports that new BBC Director General Tony Hall has handed one of the top jobs at the TV channel to one of his friends from his old job at the Royal Opera House (he's actually still there, it's a whole limbo crossover thing right now).
The new Managing Director of BBC Finance is one Anne Bulford who will receive a salary of just £395,000 for her, for want of a better word, efforts. The post was not advertised for general applications.
"Lord Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, formally takes up his BBC post in April. Before joining Channel 4 in 2005, Miss Bulford spent three years with the Royal Opera House as director of finance and business affairs. Lord Hall knows her from their time together at the Royal Opera House and also from his time as deputy chairman at Channel 4."
Perhaps more interesting is the appointment of James Purnell, a former Labour Culture Minister, to some technology job or other with a salary of £295,000.
None of this looks like cronyism, favouritism or corruption at all, no siree, nothing to see here, move along, thanks!
Short-Termism, Which is not a Real Word!
The Guardian reports that some survey or other has revealed that, thanks to less funding, the theatre world will suffer and less folk will make the transition into radio, television, film and working behind the counter at their local McDonalds.
"The research, which drew on detailed surveys completed by 26 English theatres, was undertaken by playwright Fin Kennedy and Helen Campbell Pickford, a doctoral candidate at Oxford University.
The report provides testimony showing the "research-and-development" side of theatre is being particularly hard hit after the cuts, as organisations hunker down to protect core work on their main stages."
Why we needed research to confirm this is not at all clear. Culture Minister (and complete buffoon) Ed Vaizey was unimpressed, muttering something about none of this being the fault of anybody who is currently in government before wondering off and getting run over by a herd of stampeding giraffes (we can only hope).
Finally this week we have the tale of the RSC being set upon by the RSC. The first RSC is the Royal Shakespeare Company and the second one is the Reclaim Shakespeare Company (geddit?)
The latter is upset by the sponsorship the RSC is receiving from BP so they can buy new ruffs or something.
"The move follows last year's campaign against BP's involvement with the RSC, which saw performances of five productions in Stratford and London disrupted during the World Shakespeare Festival. The sponsorship also saw the RSC's playwright in residence Mark Ravenhill and actor Mark Rylance publicly questioning the appropriateness of the deal."
Apparently the other RSC doesn't think that a company that accidentally kills its employees and spills hundreds of millions of gallons of oil into the ocean is an appropriate financial supporter of a theatre company that recreates plays about murder, infidelity, incest and who knows what else.
Have a nice weekend.