23 May 2013
Posted in Theatre
‘In Battalions’ authors launch British theatre’s first ever Delphi study
A study has been launched to try to find innovative ways in which British theatres can protect risk-taking on developing new work for the stage, despite Government cuts.
The study is being undertaken by playwright Fin Kennedy and Oxford University doctoral research student Helen Campbell Pickford. The pair recently co-authored In Battalions, a report into how Government cuts were affecting new British playwriting. It showed that Government cuts were creating a climate of fear and instability in the theatre sector, with venues having to cancel productions, produce fewer new plays, commission fewer writers, and cancel a whole host of creative research and development - with disastrous consequences for the next generation of talent.
When Culture Minister Ed Vaizey failed to respond to the report, over 60 of theatre’s highest profile names – including Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Tom Stoppard – wrote to the Minister urging him to take the report seriously. Mr Vaizey did then respond, but dismissed the report’s findings, saying 't is easy to highlight fears and concerns'.
Fin Kennedy said: 'It looks like Ed Vaizey isn’t going to help us solve this problem, so the theatre industry is going to have to do this on its own. Where In Battalions revealed a problem, this study is about finding solutions, together.
'A Delphi study is a research process recognised by the civil service, which helps collate expert opinion on a specialist subject. We’re going to be soliciting ideas from professional theatre-makers across the UK for how we can work together, with the Arts Council, to protect risk-taking on new talent, despite the cuts. We’re looking for practical, imaginative and inexpensive ideas. The results of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review are being announced next month, and all the signs are that arts and culture are going to be badly hit yet again.
'We need to come up with ways to protect our ability to innovate, and nurture the next generation of talent. If we don’t, then it could seriously affect our output in years to come – and as my report showed, theatre is the training base for so many other sectors, so this will end up affecting film, TV and radio too. We have to act before it is too late.'
All theatre industry professionals with experience in developing new writing are invited to take part. Further details can be found on Kennedy’s blog: www.finkennedy.blogspot.com