An Olympic-sized Shortfall

It is now widely understood that the government is slashing the national arts budget each year in the run up to the London Olympics in 2012.  These cuts will substitute the inevitable Olympic budget shortfall; and Olympic-sized it is.  I personally oppose this as I have very little interest in sport and doubt that I am alone in the arts world in this.  Substantial amounts of money from the Lottery Grants for the Arts programme and Arts Council England’s regular grant-in-aid will be redirected. Meanwhile, theatres around the country are struggling with local-authorities unable to support them.  ACE’s funding cuts at the end of 2007 caused unexpected levels of pandemonium as money was taken from the smaller companies whilst many of the bigger companies kept their current funding levels.  This resulted in many smaller companies losing both their ACE funding as well as their Lottery grants. Arguably it is the smaller companies that provide the most innovative, experimental work that challenges the arts with most valuable results. Therefore how are these cuts justifiable? Why should the arts suffer in a government’s struggle to make this Olympics more impressive than any previous?  It is simply viewed as an opportunity to promote Britain, its economy and its liberal, multi-cultural society.  How, I ask, can this society be multi-cultural if its culture is restrained by funding cuts? It’s certainly not the recession that will stifle British theatre over the next three years but a different offender altogether.

theatreJunki © 2009

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