Monday, January 08, 2007

Second productions

In The Guardian, Mark Ravenhill reflects on the difficulty of getting a second domestic production for a new play.
This absence of second productions is in some ways a good thing. It reflects the confidence of theatres outside London - and of arts organisations in general. Recent research, carried out by the TV channel Artsworld, found that London was only the ninth best city in the country for the arts, with Newcastle top. A few decades ago, theatres would have looked to see what were this year's hits in the capital, then dutifully produced them - but not now. Theatres in Liverpool, Southampton, Plymouth, Manchester or Birmingham have their own commissions and produce their own premieres. Every week sees a slew of new plays appearing across the country, often sparsely reviewed in the national press.

We have now created a situation in which there is a demand for hundreds of premieres across the country every year, often in studio theatres. But there is no promise of subsequent productions. Writers - realising there is very small financial reward for this, and small audiences - are soon lost to television and film.

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