Friday, January 18, 2008

Arts Council latest

In The Stage, Alistair Smith reports on a war or words between National Theatre Artistic Director, Nicholas Hytner and Arts Council England (ACE) Chief Executive, Peter Hewitt.
Peter Hewitt has defended the funding body against criticisms from National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner, by claiming that the organisation has received “a large number of communications welcoming both the strategy” and “specific proposals” of its latest funding round.

Speaking at the NT’s season launch yesterday, Hytner said that ACE should be “encouraged to act boldly”, but branded its recent funding proposals as “bollocks”, and its spending review a “strategic catastrophe”.

Today, Hewitt responded: “It is pleasing that the director of the National Theatre and others so strongly support the arts council’s arts funding strategy - in Hytner’s words, ‘being encouraged to act boldly, otherwise new companies and new ideas would not emerge’. But it is disappointing that they are less able to countenance the practical consequences of that strategy, which means reducing or not renewing funding to some organisations, in order to create a vibrant artistic culture.
Meanhile, on The Guardian's Theatre Blog, Lyn Gardner looks at what happens now that organisations have submitted their appeals against funding cuts.
The timetable continues with the meeting of the national council on January 29 2008, which will consider any funding of organisations over £5m and which will also have to approve the budget for the whole of the proposed expenditure. What is clear, according to the Arts Council, is that the amount of money available is fixed. If any of the proposed cuts do not happen, then the money will have to be shaved from the budgets of either those who have been offered continued inflation-level funding, uplifts or some of those 80 organisations (whose identity is not yet known) who are going to get revenue funding.

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