Read e-book online Bringing Down the House: The Crisis in Britain's Regional PDF

By Olivia Turnbull

Among 1979 and 1997, 1 / 4 of Britain’s local theaters closed their doorways endlessly. those who survived came across themselves continuously at the breaking point, compelled to substantially lessen their courses and close down for prolonged classes. Bringing Down the home examines how and why this problem happened, from the British government’s scant regard for the humanities after international warfare II to the onset of Thatcherism and its long-lasting results at the theater undefined. This well timed learn for theater and cultural background students reveals a catalog of habitual difficulties that ensured the fragility of the British neighborhood stage. 

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Extra resources for Bringing Down the House: The Crisis in Britain's Regional Theatres

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The tours had been perceived as both costly and of uneven standards and were something the Arts Council was keen to dispense with. Instead, supporting a select few regional theatres was seen as an effective way of providing quality theatre to a wider public. They equally supported the repertory idea as a way of improving production standards through longer rehearsal and performance periods by an ensemble company, with the emphasis placed firmly on ‘worthwhile drama’. In Arts Council terms, worthwhile drama remained undefined.

So when the Arts Council was incorporated, its charter served as the artistic policy for all art forms, and a specific national policy for drama was not drawn up until 2001. The lack of a national policy ultimately meant that, from the outset, regional theatres were subject to the vagaries of the Arts Council at any given moment, and, until forced to make changes under financially straitened circumstances in the 1980s, the funding body reacted to the needs of the arts community as they arose. While complaints about the confusing criteria became common amongst regional theatres, particularly in times of short supply, in the early years the accent was clearly on excellence.

Until this time, the popular practice of building-based producing theatres was to maintain a permanent or semi-permanent ensemble company for the duration of a season. In the 1960s, dissatisfaction with this system began to increase in regional theatres, particularly with respect to the limits it placed on perfect casting and the choice of programming. Many directors saw the practice of casting on a play-by-play basis as more conducive to artistic excellence. But even its most vocal critics conceded that there were other benefits to the ensemble system.

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