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Archive for the ‘Art / Politics’ Category

‘Scratch’ and works-in-progress
are a blight on theatre.

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

In early May we spent a week working on a new show called The Capital which is planned to open in 2018. It has a big cast and ambitious set, so it’s going to be expensive. This means it seemed sensible to check the ideas are going to work.

We need some people to commission the show, so we wanted these ‘some people’ to see it in the hope they would be inspired to invest. So, at the end of the week, we performed some things to an invited audience. I think this may officially have been classified a ‘work in progress showing’ which unfortunately may make me a massive hypocrite. Why? because I have just written a whole essay explaining why such things are a blight on the world theatre.

You can read the full essay here, gather your thoughts and then tell me why I’m wrong (or not). I spent a bit of time on it so please do read it and decide which side of the fence you’re on.

Love Thy Neighbour

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017


Presumably the licence plates led to the hire firm and the hire firm pointed to the address and so, within hours, armed police were swarming into a flat and by the morning national news journalists and their dish topped TV trucks had formed a secondary cordon around uniformed officers. The 128 bus edged its way past. A tendril of national news has reached out to us. Its spotlights are set up on our pavements. Continue reading “Love Thy Neighbour” »

If I stay there will be trouble, if I go…

Saturday, March 12th, 2016


So the CBI guy, speaking in a personal capacity said “out” and had was kicked out.

The Bank of England guy said “out” could cause trouble and that caused him trouble.

The Queen is being interpreted as saying “out” but that was years ago before anyone was asking so she can’t have been answering and now she’d say nothing.

So where does Stan stand? Continue reading “If I stay there will be trouble, if I go…” »


Monday, November 18th, 2013

Next Monday the Independent Theatre Council will have their Annual General Meeting. It’s a great organisation, providing lobbying, training and advice on finance, management and legal matters, they negotiate recommended pay rates and provide networking opportunities. Stan’s Cafe have been members since receiving our first ever grant, thanks to the sound advice of guru Mick Yates. This is the first year I am going to the AGM and I urge other members to come along too, to show your support and get your voice heard. Continue reading “ITC AGM” »

A Lot for A Little

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

A couple of days ago I posted a depressing report on an Arts Council briefing. At the end of the briefing they showed this video. The challenge is to watch this and say public subsidy of the arts isn’t worth 17p per week from our taxes.

17p is the VAT on a £1 bottle of pop (see my Juice for the Arts campaign). It costs you 20p to have a piss at New Street Station (actually now the station’s been revamped I don’t know what the pissing cost is).

17p cut by 15% becomes 14.5p so there’s the choice. Do you really want to rip up the country’s culture for the sake of 2.5p per person per week?

We’re Under Attack!

Friday, June 7th, 2013


‘Arty types’ are often not terribly into maths and statistics etc. maybe they even drifted off in their maths classes, but there are some sums that are so chilling they are impossible to doze through.

Today I attended a presentation from Arts Council England. If you wish never to sleep again please do read on by all means.

Continue reading “We’re Under Attack!” »


Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

I try not to mention funding on this blog because there is little so dull as artists banging on about funding. Stan’s Cafe are privileged to be valued enough by society for society to invest in us enriching its culture. This delights us. So this said please indulge me a couple of paragraphs about funding because UK Sport has just announced its elite funding program looking forward to the Rio Olympics. Continue reading “Funding” »

THE Arts Council

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012


Innocent abroad: late night return ruled out public transport as option for yesterday’s Brighton day trip so casually decided to visit Farnham Maltings ‘on the way’ – turns out to be far from ‘on the way’. It was worth the trip though, the Maltings team speak a lot of sense and their philosophy for encouraging theatre seems spot on – the building’s impressive too.

The day’s main event, after catching up briefly on Amanda Hadingue’s adventures with Complicite was dinner with the Arts Council. Continue reading “THE Arts Council” »


Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Today I was invited to the launch of Birmingham’s “Creative City” initiative. A light buffet had been laid on but I knew it would be bad to eat any of it. Half-jokingly I told people I was boycotting it. Continue reading “Politics” »

Juice for the Arts

Friday, July 16th, 2010


OK, following the Theatre Pledge it’s time for a new campaign: Juice for the Arts.

Here is the plan. Currently the arts budget in the UK works out at 17p per person per week. This is the amount of VAT currently charged on this bottle of Juice. So, if enough of us make a pledge to the new coalition government to buy Juice for the Arts once a week then they in turn should promise not to carry through with the terrifying plans the Arts Council briefed all the region’s Regularly Funded [Arts] Organisations on Monday.

I can’t see a downside. The juice is delicious, keeps us healthy (though this Cranberry drink is weirdly non-nutritious), pays for the arts and supports Purity Soft Drinks based in The Black Country. Of course according to this plan when the new higher rate of VAT is introduced next year rather than looking at 25-30% cuts the arts will be looking at a 14% increase in funding.

“OK!” I hear you cry “We’re behind you on your Juice for the Arts campaign, how do we make it a reality?” Well, writing to your MP would be a good thing to do at the very least and if you know someone who isn’t an artist and they write to their MP they would count for about ten of us because “we would say that wouldn’t we”.

For those of you who think Juice for the Arts is a brilliant idea but too visionary for this amalgam of choppers there is something else you can do and it doesn’t even require the ‘bother’ of writing to your MP.

RFOs have been cut by 0.5% this year, it’s almost certain to be 10% next year and thereafter its going to get really very bloody. 25% is imagined to pretty much kill off everyone so it will have to be 100% for some with gaining some kind of reprieve. The provocative suggestion from one of our Board was to kill off one of London’s four orchestras, not just for the +£2,000,000 you’d save but because it would really stir up people who actually have some lobbying power. Anyway, back to it…

There is some good news if you are not an RFO and get money from Grants for the Arts. This money comes not from central government but from the lottery so not only is it not being cut, but there is a chance that it may grow. A while back the Olympics started to take a cut of Lottery cash and the proportion going to each of the ‘good causes’ was cut. The debate is now on, should the division be restored? A consultation is now on and YOUR VOICE is needed to argue for the arts getting back to where it was before. Please stay on-line and do your thing here.
Still reading and not gone and done your thing there? Well about-turn and do it because as soon as the axe comes down on the RFOs they’re going to be scrambling for that G4A cash and it’s going to turn pretty bloody bloody there too.

FINALLY. In my quest to find a quotidian product that costs £1.17 inc VAT I found a Pork Pie which cost 99p and is VAT exempt. This raises the possibility of a counter campaign VAT Pork for Art. Superficially you would imagine the proposed introduction of VAT on Pork Pies to pay the country’s art bill would encounter fierce opposition from the Pork Pie Manufactures lobby but they could be won around with the prospect of millions across the country upping their Pork Pie intake. Craig and I ran trials on Pork Pie consumption in the late Nineties whilst making Nightshifting and then The Hearing of Susan Tuesday with de Montfort University Students in Melton Mowbray and would be happy to endorse this campaign as well.

If you can think of anything better than Juice or Pork Pies which could pull us out of this crisis do get in touch.

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