Saturday, January 05, 2008

The London Bubble

This may be a little bit of a London-centric post for some people, but today I;ve been to watch the London Bubble's Christmas production of The Tinderbox. The London Bubble is a production theatre company that does work with local schools in London, as well as doing a summer production in the London Parks. The outdoor theatre in the parks is great fun, and the first time I went was in 1999. The play was put on around Oxleas Wood (the oldest wood in London) in the evening and it was quite a magical experience really having to walk through the woods to each different scene.

The reason I'm mentioning it though is because I also learned today that the Arts Council has written to the production company and told them that they are going to make a 100% cut in their funding. This is a production company that has been bringing theatre to children and adults for 35 years across London. For philistines like me who don't really do theatre they make it fun as well as working within communities to encourage kids to get involved with music and drama.

Frankly the Arts Council is crazy to cut its funding. People often say that us Londoners are in a bubble, but this is one of the bubbles that doesn't really deserve to be burst because of what it brings to London parks, London schools, and the community as a whole.


lewisham kate said...
5 Jan 2008 19:19:00  

Oh thats really sad, I have heard of them but never seen them in person, they have performed at my kids schools and in local parks as you mentioned.
Do you know what their fate will be? will they get funding from some where else?

nullo said...
5 Jan 2008 19:22:00  

wont they find some city big fish whose kids love it to fund it instead?

flashgordonnz said...
5 Jan 2008 19:29:00  

Are they gearing up to use their (our) funding for the opening ceremony in 2012?

NotYetDoc said...
5 Jan 2008 20:29:00  

Not just Londoners who are having their funding cut - Harrogate Theatre has also just had its grant reduced by 50%. Seems all grass roots theatre and arts are going to see a hit in the coming years...

canvas said...
5 Jan 2008 21:19:00  

Apparently, there are some very STRANGE things going on between the government and the British Council, the Arts Council and also the could possibly be a serious scandal for Gordon Brown?

Silly buggers going on? Maybe we'll hear from a whistle-blower in the near future?

Glyn H said...
5 Jan 2008 21:41:00  

Just goes to show that Mr Brown has made such a spectacular mess of the economy in the last 8 or 9 years. Cuts, cuts, everywhere from the arts to the police, from overseas embassies to Inland Waterways. Everywhere you look there is nit picking for the last pound: all because of the smoke and mirrors that have been our budgets since 1998. Why has the wider public not come to realise quite what a mess we are in after the golden years since Howes '81 budget and coming out of the ERM in 1992. All totally squandered!And don't even start on the PFI scams. Enron style accounting, all in the name of 'balancing' Tresaury books and to hell with the conseqences! The Opposition should be having a field day with this mess, but where are they?

kinglear said...
5 Jan 2008 22:39:00  

I'm willing to bet one of the reasons for this is the disgusting 2012 London Olympics. The same thing is happening to the Arts Council in Scotland. Their budgets have been cut over 40% in real terms to fund this complete waste of time and money

verity said...
5 Jan 2008 22:41:00  

Glyn H - interesting post.

On the other hand, the public best funds the arts by going to performances and galleries they wish to see without a government middleman making the choice for them.

I don't believe there is any role at all for governments and their litters of quangoes in the arts. The government should not be dispensing other people's money. People can do that perfectly well themselves by going to performances they want to see.

canvas said...
6 Jan 2008 10:25:00  

Verity forgets that not all families can afford to pay entrance fees.

Art is for all - so there should be more government support. Culture IS important.

flashgordonnz said...
6 Jan 2008 18:33:00  

I find myself agreeing somewhat with verity (!). Substitute "wide screen tv" or "overseas holiday" for "art" and the "art is for all" fails.
There is only a small agruement for some funding to allow school groups (for education purposes) to view art, be it theatre or static.
Culture is important, but art is only a small part of it.
PS have you ever SEEN any of that shit in the Tate Modern?
(Tate = sugar, no? Sponsorship/patronage: that's the key surely?)

canvas said...
6 Jan 2008 21:51:00  

flashgordy - you obviously don't understand how hard it for some families to make ends meet? Surely we should encourage family trips to the museums, galleries and theatres?

But, sadly, no, you perpetuate the old style 'Tory' attitude. f*ck the poor? and you obviously couldn't appreciate art in any form...

I despair.

flashgordonnz said...
7 Jan 2008 01:23:00  

On the contrary, I love visiting galleries, museums & the theatre, I'm just not sure it's the taxpayer's job to fund all this when schools and hospitals are struggling.
I have a mortgage, a wife and two kids to take care of. I may not be struggling to "make ends meet", but I'm certainly struggling to get ahead and would not welcome any shocks. I WOULD welcome a tax cut, though!
I think "art for the poor" is a socialist plot to take their mind off their empty bellies. (A bit like the Olympics, really.)

And I don't want to f**k the poor: I just don't understand why they'd prefer your art to having a decent roof over their head, especially when your lot haven't given them the type of education that will allow them to "appreciate" the art.


dizzy said...
7 Jan 2008 01:35:00  

Just to clarify, the London bubble is not Art for the poor

verity said...
7 Jan 2008 02:09:00  

Canvas - "Art is for all". Where did this thought come from? Why?

If it's public art, well, of course because someone has paid for the art to be public. If it's art in galleries that have to be heated and/or air-conditioned to preserve the paintings, and have guards, why on earth should it be "for all"?

How about Jimmy Choos "are for all"? Dinners at The Savoy "are for all"? How about Tupperware is for all? How about communism?

If I can't afford to eat in expensive restaurant or can't afford to buy an expensive whisky, that means I can't afford it.

There is no reason for me to think I should have free access to anything in life that other people are paying for - save great philanthropical projects like the Guggenheims in NYC and Barcelona.

Do you think Shakespeare thought his "art was for all" or do you think he and his managers charged people to get in to watch his plays?

verity said...
7 Jan 2008 02:25:00  

Plus I hate this word "funding". Except in the case of fundraisers in the private sector to raise funds for a particular project.

Public funding of "projects" some publicly-funded quango deems worthy of taxpayers' money should be illegal, although then the quango that was doing all the visiting and assessing and lunching wouldn't have much to do, really, would it?

Little Black Sambo said...
7 Jan 2008 14:38:00  

The Arts Council should be abolished. is a participant in the Amazon Europe S.à.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to