The Playgoer: Arts in Blair's Britain

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Arts in Blair's Britain

The Guardian reports on Tony Blair's recent speech on the state of the arts in Britain:

The past 10 years had been a golden age for the arts. Imagine, he continued, Britain's cultural scene without the Labour government's doubling of cultural funding since 1997.

"Many of the finest regional theatres would have closed or would exist as shadows of themselves, on a diet of light drama. Many orchestras would have gone to the wall. There would be no new programmes for art education. Museums, far from being full, would have gradually diminished in importance as charging reduced the audience to the middle class. I'm not sure there would be a British film industry, or at least not one nearly so healthy, or the same huge success at the National Theatre."

Funny, but doesn't his "what if" scenario sound not a little like the US today?

And in case the thought of the head of state actually giving a major address on "the state of the arts" at all just fills you with anglophilic envy...apparently Blair hasn't been making exactly a habit of it either.

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