Dead Men Walking

Dead white men (DWM). This phrase is often heard in my department as we discuss the traditional theatre practitioners and playwrights that have had such a profound influence on what we teach and learn – Stanislavski, Brecht, Ibsen, Strindburg, Meyerhold – even Pinter – the list is long and very white, very male. Of course, I work in an international context, teach international students and teach truly international courses, but we find many of our reference points in the work of these people. Of course we teach theatre traditions and practices from right around the globe and the gender or race of the writer, director or practitioner is irrelevant.

Where am I going with this? Well I would like to share with you a re-imaging of one of my favorite DWM plays, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. If you don’t know the play, you should read it. Hattie Morahan, who recently played Nora in a  production of the play, stars in this short film imagining what a modern-day Nora might look like, 130 years on from the original tale about a woman taking control of her own destiny. Click on the image below to take a look:

I watched it and started to wonder at the longevity of meaning and resonance that the play has and questioned whether there would ever be a time where this classic became irrelevant to a global audience.

On a side note, the film is hosted on The Space which I have used often as source for this blog. It was meant to be a time-limited site, which was part of the Cultural Olympiad celebrations in the UK this summer.  However, thankfully, it has proved so successful that it has secured funding for at least another 3 year. In these times of economic austerity, where the arts are usually the first to face cuts, this is great news.

Left in the dark

This article by Mark Lawson, as part of his Theatre Studies series, which I have blogged about before, really raised a smile from me. I spend a lot of time with my younger exam level students getting them to question whether they really need the 100 blackouts they have included in their 15 minute piece, or whether the numerous tables, chairs and stage blocks that are constantly being dragged on and off, on and off and on again are pivotal to the understanding of their narrative. Eventually, and with my tongue removed from cheek, we have a meaningful discussion about dramatic tension and the narrative arc and how this works and how to best sustain it at a level they really want. They get it eventually, and never look back, with chairs banned, other than for the audience, and exploration of far more creative ways of indicating change of space or place.

Scene changes – the traffic jams of theatre

Theatres can’t keep asking us to hang about in the dark while actors move house. We may as well go to the cinema

All performers hope for applause – but the new London West End production of Uncle Vanya twice feels at severe risk of receiving a slow hand-clap. Because the play is written in four acts and Chekhov has specified a detailed different setting for each, the curtain comes down in the middle of each half and remains lowered for what seems like several minutes while the set is changed. The only consolation for audiences is that the other two transformations are able to take place before we come in and during the interval.

Although Lindsay Posner’s production contains some high-class acting – from Ken Stott, Samuel West and Anna Friel in particular – the staging has suffered indifferent notices, with particular criticism for slow pacing. I’m convinced that this sense of sluggishness is encouraged by viewers’ frustration at having to endure the theatrical equivalent of a traffic jam.

Colleagues have told me of similar complaints against the recent production of Nosferatu by the Polish company TR Warszawa at the Barbican in London, in which black-clad stage managers with head-sets regularly entered to prepare the stage for the next scene. One critic attacked its “infernally slow pace”.

The problem is that viewers literally don’t know what to do during a lengthy change-over. We are technically still within the action, our disbelief theoretically suspended, and yet are witnessing something that is clearly (and often clatteringly) factual rather than fictional. And because we don’t know the extent of the delay – timings of scene-changes, unlike those for intervals, are not listed in programmes – it’s impossible to know whether to risk beginning a conversation with a companion or – for many theatre-goers these days – to check emails or read about the latest catastrophes at the BBC on mobiles and tablets. These furniture breaks are much more disrupting to an audience than they would have been in the 19th century theatre of Chekhov or Ibsen (another playwright reluctant to use the same room for two successive acts), because the concentration and patience of viewers is increasingly shaped by the fluidity of TV or movies.

Ideally, a piece will aspire to the swift seamlessness of screen. For example, Richard Eyre, a director who has moved between theatre and film, is about to open the premiere of The Dark Earth and the Light Sky, Nick Dear’s play about the poets Edward Thomas and Robert Frost, in which (I noted at a preview) 28 scenes are played out during 110 minutes, smoothly flowing between locations and states of reality with a cinematic elegance. Admittedly, Eyre had the advantage over Posner’s Uncle Vanya that this play was written in the light of contemporary sensibilities, but, seeing the two shows in close proximity, it struck me that people can no longer be asked to hang about indefinitely in the dark while the cast move house.

The perfect solution is a revolve stage (the subject of an earlier piece in this series), but relatively few theatres have these. Some productions of multi-set classics have scheduled what the programme calls a “pause” (a five-minute mini-interval), in which the house lights come up. But this, too, is unsatisfying and confusing, with the gap not long enough for the consumption or removal of fluids and some theatregoers in the middle of rows inevitably stranded coming or going when the action resumes, having misjudged the duration of the interlude.

In my experience, the most successful tactic – common in America – is to project on to the safety curtain or gauze screen historical material or specially shot film relating to the play, using the break as a sort of extension of the programme. Indeed, in these financially tough times, it’s a surprise that playhouses don’t project adverts on to the frontcloth.

More fundamentally, though, we may have to change our attitude to the changing of the set in stagings of 19th-century realist writers. The reason for the dull lulls in Uncle Vanya is the assumption of director and designer that Chekhov demands an elaborate specificity of setting. Surely it would be better to use suggestive, easily manoevered scenery – a single samovar, a solo wicker chair – or there is a risk that audiences will go the cinema instead.


All the world really is a stage

Today I want to share an article that really is a true meeting of the East and West in theatrical terms.  A project by British theatre The Royal Court is about to see the staging of 12 new plays by Indian playwrights in London.  However it hasn’t just been a case  of commissioning new work, it has been about development, mentoring and shaping work with the young writers. In the article by April de Angelis, which I reproduce here in full, you can see what an exciting programme this really is.








Royal Court’s New Plays from India: snapshots of the subcontinent

How do you capture one of the fastest changing places on Earth – and do so on stage? Playwright April de Angelis reports on 12 new plays that should change our image of India for ever

In October 2010, Elyse Dodgson, director of the Royal Court Theatre’s international department, playwright and dramaturg Carl Miller and I arrived at the Jindal guest house in Vasind, in India’s Maharashtra state. Staying with us were 12 Indian writers whose work we’d read but had not yet met. It was an exciting, curious, daunting moment: in three months we would be expecting them to deliver 12 new plays, and in some senses that depended as much on us as them.

One of the first discussions we had centred on the Royal Court’s artistic director Dominic Cooke’s dictum that there are two questions a playwright must address before they start to write: what is a play now (a question of form)? And who are we now (subject)? These questions resonated through the workshop. In an early session, the writers were asked to list the urgent subjects facing their society that they felt were important to address. The results were wide-ranging, surprising and gave an extraordinary picture of the diverse forces at work within contemporary India: Maoism and the red corridor; migration from villages to cities; the clash of modernity and mythology; the influence of western-style celebrity, especially an obsession with youth; “honour” killings; the emotional isolation of modern living; the homogenisation of culture; political corruption; religious identity; low value of life; loss of ethnic identity. Someone mentioned the Gulabi gang (a women-only vigilante group, who wear pink saris and smash up liquor shops because they don’t want their men drinking).

We then asked the playwrights to bring in newspaper cuttings with contemporary stories: these included reports on the plight of street children; the ongoing Bhopal compensation case; female infanticide; the case in which a male student killed himself after being secretly filmed having sex with another male student; the cheap-rates offered to westerners for Indian surrogate mothers. From these the playwrights began to identify subjects they felt drawn to and to investigate ways of telling their story.

There was much amicable debate. Were we trying to impose a template of a play on them? Could we honestly say that the concept of an “objective”, for example, is incontrovertible? No, we couldn’t, but on the other hand we found it to be a useful tool. The plays being written were for Royal Court audiences as well as for audiences in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Delhi, as well as, hopefully, elsewhere in India. Just as we had specified a contemporary Indian play – as opposed to, say, a historic, poetic drama – we were also proposing a vocabulary of playwriting. The playwrights were industrious and wanted to get on with the business of writing. By the end of the first workshop, each had created a proposal for a play and written a first scene. We met with each of them, gave dramaturgical advice, ironed out any potential problems, and said goodbye – for now.

Three months later, 12 plays arrived. Those written in Hindi and Marathi were translated. Stage two commenced. Rage Theatre Company, the creators of the Writers’ Bloc festival, our collaborators, arranged for a group of actors to be involved in another workshop. The plays were read aloud and each writer selected a scene they knew would be in the next draft, but which had problems to be solved. These were then worked on with actors who might improvise the more unclear or unconvincing moments. We all watched and discussed the scenes in their latest incarnation. It was very exciting to see the plays “living” for the first time and many memorable moments occurred: Shernaz Patel playing the ageing Bollywood actress in Siddarth Kumar’s Spunk desperate for the male lead’s, well … spunk, and its magical properties of endowing male children only; the startling image of two Kashmiri children stealing into a morgue to retrieve the football boots from their murdered friend, a victim of state repression in Abhishek Majumdar’s The Djinn’s of Eidgah; an older man risking his reputation as he and a younger man meet and become lovers on the Delhi metro in Still and Still Moving by Neel Chaudhuri.

The writers then embarked on their second drafts, which became the basis of productions in their own cities as well as being performed in January 2012 at the Writer’s Bloc festival hosted at the Prithvi theatre in Mumbai, a non-profit making theatre founded by the famous Bollywood Kapoor family and run, like all Indian theatre, on a non-subsidised basis. This, of course, makes life as a playwright extremely hard for Indian writers. In Britain, without subsided theatres such as the Royal Court, new writing would be a pipe dream. Five of these plays were then invited for the upcoming readings at the Court this month.

Purva Naresh trained in classical Indian dance and works as a film producer. Her play OK Tata Bye Bye is a provocative articulation of some of the central schisms in contemporary India: between rural and urban, traditional and modern, western and eastern ways of living, all pivoting on the contentious ground of gender politics. “OK tata bye bye” is the logo you see inscribed on the back of brightly decorated Indian trucks, and the play takes as its subject and setting caste-based prostitution that has sprung up along the side of an Indian highway. This teasing play takes as its premise the collision of two worlds, that of a young, independent-minded sex worker, Seema, who becomes the subject of a well-meaning documentary made by Pooja, an urban educated Indian woman fresh out of film school and her white American boyfriend, Mitch, whose earnest desire to engage with the subjects of this documentary teeters on the edge of voyeurism and exoticism. Pooja is torn so many ways, is she western or Indian? With whom does her allegiance lie? With a white western man, or a rural, lower-caste Indian woman? And underlying it all, the vibrant figure of Seema – refusing to be safely contained within a defining discourse – who worries away at Pooja like a brightly coloured shadow in danger of stealing the show. It is a brilliant and provocative look at sexual politics, identity and the perils of being a modern, urban Indian woman. And with show-stopping choreographic moments.

OK Tata Bye Byeregisters another conflict, that of technological power versus community; asking who is holding the camera? This theme also resonates in Mahua, a play about the enforced loss of tribal lands to a corporate mining company, by the young film-maker Akash Mohimen. As it opens, it has a timeless feel: Birsa, a tribal leader in waiting, in the village of Bihabend in the state of Orissa, commits a minor indiscretion and as a result must marry an “old” woman (she is 30!). This seems to be the set-up for a comedy, but slowly morphs into tragedy as he and his (now) beloved wife suffer the loss of their land and then of their livelihood and identities. The final act of Birsa is both tragic and merciful, underscoring the point that such powerlessness leads to impossible choices.

Back in bustling Mumbai, British-based actress and writer Ayeesha Menon is a contemporary, comic, female Indian voice. The sparkling Pereira’s Bakery at 76 Chapel Road brings the clash of traditional and modern right to the heart of a great city with a diverse cast of characters ranging from the doleful, old-man misanthropist always at hand philosophising home truths, to the young X Factor aspirant whose insistent warblings bring tensions to breaking point.

We see the forces of old and new contending with each other, culminating in the major crisis of the play, the threat to demolish the old quarter for the sake of progress, to steamroller the charm of an ancient district to make way for the sterile constructions of capital. The play captures both the centrality of family to Indian life and the frustrations of those who feel trapped by it and wish to escape the past and tradition – but, having done that, is it ever possible to recapture what has been lost?

Leftovers is set in Pune, written by Saga Deshmukh, a lawyer. It movingly details the difficulties of a family who are left behind in a city that is powering the economic engine of India. It centres on Baba, the patriarch, and his failure to fit into the new order. It is a delicately observed play about the unheard suffering of ordinary people.

Finally, The Djinns of Eidgah by Abhishek Majumdar, is set in the ongoing conflict in Kashmir and tells the story of two children. Ashrafi, a young girl, and her brother Bilal, orphaned by the conflict and struggling to grow up, find themselves in a world defined by violence. They are befriended by a doctor who seeks to steer a path between the warring sides, but the conflict proves too toxic. This play is partly magical in its incarnation of the djinns, ancient spirits which the young girl incants. Perhaps Majumdar’s riposte to our insistence on a contemporary Royal Court play, The Djinns of Eidgah merges old and new in a fusion of traditional Indian theatre forms and contemporary themes.

It is fascinating to look back at the whole process and see the way themes and ideas from the initial stages of the workshop have threaded through to the unique and original plays that exist now. Each play provides a prism through which it is possible to have a glimpse of India today. It’s clearly a great time to be an Indian playwright.


If you are interested in finding out more, you can here as well as watching interviews with the playwrights in their own languages, Hindi and Marathi.


Noises Off

This week, theatre critic and blogger, Lyn Gardner has written two short pieces that got me thinking. The first, Should there be more heckling in the theatre?, essentially deals with interruptions, be they by mobile telephones, snoring, or people expressing their disquiet at the play they are watching, while noting that the revered silence audiences in the ‘west’ are expected to adopt has not always been the case.

The second, Fail safe: how good can come of bad theatre, discusses the notion that when actors and directors are actually involved in a show, it’s rare for them to acknowledge that it might be anything less than brilliant.

Both of these are connected for me and basically deal with how audiences are expected to behave. If you live in Asia, as I do, you start to develop a different (and I have to say, more refreshing attitude) to what it means to be an audience member. If I go to a professional venue in Hong Kong to watch Beijing Opera, I expect the audience to talk through the production, perhaps walk in and out or even eat their lunch – its just what happens. Similarly, if I go to see Cantonese Opera at one of the temporary stages that spring up around town (and country) at various times of year, it is much more of a community event, with villagers popping in and out as they fancy. In neither of these contexts do the actors or fellow audience members feel annoyed or slighted by such actions.

In the West however, very different responses ensue and I would like to share two examples with you. A number of years ago my school ran overseas theatre trips to London and on two separate occasions I remember being party to an incident. On the first occasion, having arrived in the UK only hours early, we went to see a wonderful, lyrical and powerful play called The Island by Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona.

The play is an apartheid-era drama, inspired by a true story, is set in South Africa’s notorious Robben Island prison. It focuses on two cellmates, one whose release draws near and one under a life sentence, who spend their days at mind-numbing physical labor and at night rehearse for a performance of Sophocles’ Antigone. There were 25 in our party and we had front row seats. It was superbly performed and directed, yet, all but one of us (a student) fell to sleep – jet lag – and were woken by very loud applause at the end. I felt acutely embarrassed for the actors who had to witness their front row snoring away while they acted their hearts out. However, it isn’t this that sticks in my memory. It is being shouted at by a rather elderly member of the audience and being told how rude we were and that we shouldn’t be taking children to the theatre if all they were going to do was sleep through the play. I tried to point out that in fact we had made a huge effort to see the production, having flown 8000 miles to do so, but the irony was lost on the shouting individual.

The second occasion, a year later, back in London with another group of students, we went to see Jumpers by Tom Stoppard.











Now, Jumpers explores and satirizes the field of academic philosophy, likening it to a less-than skilful competitive gymnastics display. It raises questions such as What do we know? and Where do values come from? As you might imagine, it is a very challenging play to watch even if you are a philosophy major. So my students who were philosophy students were whispering quietly to their friends in an attempt to help them understand what they were watching. Again, but this time at the interval, some embittered old harridan started to shout at my students, telling them how disrespectful they were being and when I went to defend them, she started to shout at me too. This time my reply was anything but polite and I told my students to carry on as before.

Now all of these are small tales, but they do highlight the relationship, the pact, that exists between the audience and the stage in the ‘west’. I often have conversations with my students about whether it is acceptable to leave a performance before it finishes. We usually disagree. Generally my students think it is rude and disrespectful to the actors whereas I tend to believe that given I have paid to see the performance, I have the right to leave if it doesn’t reach my expectations. Admittedly this is something I have developed as I have got older, but with reference to Gardner’s second article above, if the actors/director refuse to admit that what they have produced is less than satisfactory, its up to me to be my own judge of what constitutes quality theatre.

There is another side to this which is highlighted in the article Showstopping: why Broadway audiences applaud too often by Mark Lawson which deals with the American phenomenon of the “entry round” – the enthusiastic and often over lengthy applause at the moment when theatre-goers recognise a famous actor. Interestingly Lawson comments that

Such reactions remain very rare in the UK. Indeed, in London productions featuring Judi Dench or Ian McKellen, it’s possible to calculate precisely how many American tourists are in the house by counting the number who put their hands together for the celebrity entrance, and are then silenced by disapproving shushing from Brits.

He also outlines another source of disruption that he witnessed in a production of Glengarry Glen Ross.

A group of people sitting near me had clearly come only to see (Al) Pacino, and then become grumpy at his absence from the second and third scenes of the first act. Their response to this was to chat loudly and use their mobile phones silently but flashingly until he came back on.

I could go on. But I suppose basically I’m just blogging about something that has always intrigued and fascinated me. Brecht’s notion of the ‘spectactor’, the breaking of the fourth wall, the actor/audience relationship and the role that it plays in the creation of dynamic, meaningful theatre.

A Black Day

I was going to keep this post until tomorrow, but I can’t wait.

Pulitzer prize winning American playwright Bruce Norris has been forced to remove the performance rights for his play, Clybourne Park from Berlin’s Deutsches Theater after he learned that they planned to ‘black-up’ a white actor to play the role of an African-american – in a piece that that explores race as one of it’s central theme.

Clybourne Park takes place in Chicago, in 1956 and 2006 and deals with the aspirations of black Americans in both of those times.  It has toured the world and has been widely celebrated. I can’t quite believe that in the 21st Century it still might be considered appropriate for a white actor to be cast in a role, whose skin colour is central to the experiences of the character and context of the play as a whole, and then be expected to ‘black-up’.

You might think that such a trick should be unthinkable in a nation with the historical racial sensitivities of Germany – and, indeed, it would be unthinkable in most countries. However, ‘blacking up’ remains a relatively common practice in German theatre and is often justified on the basis of directorial prerogative. Indeed German director Thomas Schendel, commented that “blackface is a part of the theatre tradition”.

Norris has said:

Normally I don’t meddle in the cultural politics of other countries, but when my work and the work of my colleagues – other playwrights – is misrepresented, I do.

However Norris has now called on others to boycott productions of their work by German theatres that continue this asinine tradition. A zero-tolerance position is the only position to take.







Y.You cabn

You can read more here. A quick search of the blogosphere will throw up even more comment. This is not the only case that has been highlighted this year in Germany, The Schlosspark theatre did the same with a production of I’m Not Rappaport by Herb Gardner. This production featured a white actor in black-face in the role of Midge Carter.

You can read Norris’ open letter to the Dramatists Guild of America here .You might even sign the petition.

Finally, I offer you the New York Times review of Clybourne Park which says more than I can here. Slashing the Tires on the Welcome Wagon ‘Clybourne Park,’ by Bruce Norris

Post Colonialism?

My post yesterday about the casting controversy in the UK has elicited some interesting responses and became a focus for discussion for one of my TA classes this morning.

I have been digging deeper and have come across a comment piece by Anna Chen, a writer and performer who lives in the UK, entitled Memo to the RSC: east Asians can be more than just dogs and maids: The Royal Shakespeare Company’s casting for The Orphan of Zhao seems to hark back to an age of British imperialism.

I have reproduced an edited version here:

It’s no fun being bred out of the cultural gene pool. Watching TV, theatre or film, I’m on constant alert for a glimpse of someone who looks Chinese, for the slightest resemblance to an estimated 499,999 others like me living in the UK.

So it was with a sense of “here we go again” that we learned that the esteemed Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is mounting the classic play The Orphan of Zhao in the way prize trophies usually get mounted: gutted and stuffed. This 13th-century Yuan-dynasty masterpiece may be the first Chinese play, to make it to the hallowed RSC, but the only parts given to actors of east Asian heritage are two dogs. And a maid-servant. Who dies. Tragically.

Yes, out of 17 roles in the classic known to Eurocentrics as “the Chinese Hamlet”, a grand total of three have gone to Asians. Another dog is played by a black actor, making you wonder exactly what the RSC is trying to say.

All director Gregory Doran came up with is that the blizzard of complaints is a case of “sour grapes”, and that the critics should “get real”; not the most eloquent response you might expect from the intellectual heavyweight described as “one of the finest Shakespeareans of his generation”. Any finer, and he might appreciate why casting Asians as dogs and a maid – the latter dying in the most tiresome Madame Butterfly tradition – might elicit consternation. Quite rightly, “blackface” was long ago laughed out of court on the grounds that it not only challenges credulity but is also both ludicrous and demeaning to all parties concerned. Yellowface, however, apparently remains acceptable and credible. Why?

Had Doran remembered the lessons learned by director Peter Brook when he cast a range of ethnicities in his well-intentioned 1980s film and stage adaptations of the Indian epic Mahabharata and was forced to face his own ideological assumptions in the ensuing row, he might have trodden more sensitively instead of crashing in like a 19th-century colonialist after our tea and silks.

Only last year in the US, La Jolla Playhouse felt compelled to hold a public debate after it was caught having cast a mere two of the roles in the Chinese story, The Nightingale, as Asian, and one of them was a bird.

Cheekily, the RSC targets Chinese audiences (and their growing disposable wealth) in their marketing – with adverts in Chinese and a poster featuring a Chinese kid who looks nothing like the actors playing the main roles in the show – so we know it can make the effort when it wants to. Playwright David Henry Hwang of the Asian American Performers Action Coalition which fought in the Nightingale battle, says: “By producing The Orphan of Zhao, the RSC seeks to exploit the public’s growing interest in China; through its casting choices, the company reveals that its commitment to Asia is self-serving, and only skin-deep.”

Once again: why? The RSC casting is something of a litmus test, indicating how a failing superpower asserts its cultural dominance when its economic base is disintegrating. It may no longer operate under cold war rules to consciously exclude representations of the upstart Chinese, or feel pressured to depict us as Fu Manchu monstrosities . But, as George Orwell pointed out, you don’t need a whipped dog when a well-trained one will do.

Such minds are hard-wired to eliminate an entire group’s cultural representation, and they don’t even realise it. Amanda Rogers of Swansea University, says: “As a national company they have a responsibility to represent all sectors of British society. There is a real paucity of east Asian representation in this country, and when we do see it, it is usually confined to minor or stereotypical roles.”

One danger is that, the more a minority is presented as a blank canvas, the easier it is to project all sorts of rubbish on to it.

It’s a shame that James Fenton, with his progressive track record, allows his adaptation of The Orphan of Zhao to be cast along colonialist lines. As a component of the establishment’s entertainment wing shaping our perceptions and feelings, the RSC continues to airbrush us out of the picture, ready to be re-inserted into the frame only when villains are required. Whipped dog, well-trained one or puppet: you have to ask the old question: cui bonio?

The La Jolla Playhouse Chen refers too (and referred to in some of the links yesterday) is based in Los Angles and suffered the same fate earlier this year when it mounted a musical called ‘The Nightingale’ set in ancient China with a cast of 12, only 2 of whom were of east Asian decent. You can read more here in the LA Times. However, La Jolla’s reaction was more immediate than the RSC and they held an open, public discussion which was generally well received for opening up the debate about cultural casting. You can watch the opening 10 minutes of the debate (and then the rest of it) here:

Fascinating. Theatre and cultural politics – never too far apart!

The Orphan of Zhao

For the last few weeks I’ve been following a really interesting debate that has been getting the theatre world chatting right across the globe. The Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK are about to stage a production of the the Chinese play The Orphan of Zhao.  The play, from the 13th century, is often referred to as the ‘Chinese Hamlet’, and the RSC production is a new translation by James Fenton.

Fenton writes here giving a wonderful background to the play.

However, controversy has arisen because out of 17 actors cast in the piece, only 3 are  of  South East Asian origin and they play two puppeteers and and a maid. The debate and back lash has been harsh and forced the RSC on the offensive about their casting policies.

The media across the world has got involved, from The Huffington Post to the LA Times to the UK Guardian.

What I find even more interesting is that the ‘blogoshere’ has joined the debate in a very vociferous and intelligent way and I wanted to share some of that too: Madam Miaow, Dangerology and Theatrical Geographies all write passionately about the debate.  The latter blog is particularly interesting and worth a read. Even Twitter and  Facebook are not immune to the uproar.

I’ll let you read through and make your own mind up, but I have to say it is the first time I have come across the term yellowing-up and it is disturbing.

Finally, I want to include an interview with the director of the show that was made before the storm hit.


Paradise Lost

An unsual post for me!

So. In a world where virtually every job description mentions the word ‘creativity’, and where global accepted educational practice has creativity at its heart, the British government do this!

Wretched shame on them in every way I can think!

I left the UK over 17 years ago and became an international school teacher because I was utterly disillusioned having lived through the Thatcher government and witnessed the arts wither on the vine. But this is abominable. However, I tend to keep my council as I believe I have no right to comment other than in the context of having a world view – say, Obama versus Romney – but this is pure dogmatism.

Read. You decide.

Arts leaders voice deep concerns over lack of cultural subjects in Ebacc