Thursday, August 06, 2009

Arts Council England's Theatre Assessment 2009

Last year Arts Council England (ACE) embarked on a Theatre Assessment to gather an up-to-date picture of theatre in England. In particular, they looked to identify changes that had occurred in the theatre sector and its environment since the Theatre Review of 2001 and the additional £25 million that ACE invested in theatre organisations from 2003 onwards.

The findings, based on a consultation led by Anne Millman and Jodi Myers (to which the Writers' Guild Theatre Committee contributed), have now been published as ACE's Theatre Assessment 2009.

Issues relating to playwrights are mentioned in several places - indeed, there's a whole section on new writing. Here are a couple of findings:
"There was a widespread view among practitioners that while there had been a growth in development of writers there had been a reduction in the amount of work commissioned and produced. This was particularly linked to changes in the touring circuit, and perceptions that it had become increasingly difficult to place ‘straight’ play."
"Respondents observed that a focus on process rather than outcome has left some writers out in the cold, without support to draw them into the collaborative approach. On the positive side, respondents identified the development of individual skills through collaborative working."
There's a summary of the report's findings relating to writers on the Guild website, along with additional comments from the Chair of the Guild's Theatre Committee, David James.

As David notes, a report from ACE specifically on new theatre writing and how writers work in the theatre is planned for publication next month.

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