Monday, April 11, 2011
Careful with that Axe, Alan Davey
This month 200 or so Arts Council-funded organizations learned that they wouldn't be getting any grant from next year. Here they are. It's a saving of £19m, which is roughly what the English National Opera will continue to get. I'm glad that ENO will continue to be supported, but it's sad that a lot of small, busy, creative organizations dotted all over the country may well end up closing their doors. Tough decisions and I sympathise with not only those affected but those who had to decide where the axe fell. On a related matter, I heard today that BBC World Service Drama is no more, after 79 years of operation. Ever heard of it? I must confess that I've barely listened to the World Service, let alone one of its plays, but that's because it wasn't really aimed at me: as with the British Council, its for overseas folk (er, which would include me). Interestingly, it gave Ewan MacGregor his first two professional acting roles, and Trevor Howard his last (as King Lear); broadcast the hugely popular - and only global - soap, Westway, which won the CRE Award for Best Soap in 2000 (beating Coronation Street), and was one of those tiny little departments that did great work without most people noticing. Anyway, we'll continue working with them on the International Playwriting Competition which takes place at the Royal Court every summer.