Scottish Theatres In Revolt

The amateur Scottish theatre association is organizing protests against the Scottish Arts Council for its funding cuts announced last week. “The Scottish Community Drama Association (SCDA), a clearing house for some 200 drama clubs across Scotland that was founded in 1926, was told this week that it will lose its £58,000 annual grant. The money is a tiny fraction of the SAC’s £60 million annual budget, but its loss left the mostly volunteer association shell-shocked.”

Time To Rethink Scottish Arts Funding?

The Scottish Arts Council announces another destabilizing funding cut. Why must we keep going through this? “Aside from the actual funding decisions themselves (and who would deny our neglected creators of children’s drama their new money?), I think it is time to question the whole way in which arts funding is structured in this country. The annual round of funding announcements appears to breed short-termism on the part of the SAC and chronic insecurity on the part of our arts organisations.”

Olympic Artists… What Role?

It’s seven years until the Winter Olympics come to Vancouver. So what role will artists have? “Discussions are just beginning in Vancouver over the role artists can play in the games. Some figure it’s going to be a great opportunity to get money and attention for new projects; others worry they will simply be eclipsed.”

Guillem: Up, Up In The Air

Royal Ballet star Sylvie Guillem has “put most of the classical tutu ballets behind her, declaring that she has lost interest in The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère and the like. With her tall, idiosyncratically limber body and restless nature, she has spent much of her glittering career yearning for new choreographers to use her. With Maliphant, it looks as if she is finally getting something special – and yet the unthinkable is looming. Her contract expires this year. Talks have yet to be held in Covent Garden about this potentially momentous event, and Guillem’s mobile face clouds doubtfully.”

How Women Look On TV (And Why)

A new study of the television, analyzing the 2002-3 prime-time season, “found that women made up 22 percent of all creators, executive producers, producers, directors, writers, editors and directors of photography, a percentage that has remained virtually unchanged for the last four seasons. Meanwhile, on screen, male characters outnumbered females by almost 2 to 1 (62 percent males, 38 percent females). The women were also younger than the men: 70 percent of all characters in their 40’s and 80 percent of those in their 50’s were men. Among major characters, only men held political office or were military or religious leaders. A total of 93 percent of business owners were men.”

Homeless Stage Opera

An opera production produced by homeless people has been staged in Oxford. “”The charity behind the project, Streetwise Opera, helped train volunteers to sing, perform and develop theatre skills. Professional opera singers joined them for last night’s production at New College, which was sold out. The show’s director, Matthew Peacock, said he hoped the music boosted the confidence of the homeless people involved and would help them in life.”

Message To Ben Heppner: Stay Out Of Toronto!

Two years ago tenor Ben Heppner had to walk offstage in the middle of a recital in Toronto because of vocal problems. He got medical attention and stopped singing. Earlier this year he resumed singing and the problems seemed gone. Then this recital in Toronto: As the concert went on, “traces of fragility in the upper third of his voice became more obvious and oppressive. He began the second half with a frank acknowledgment of his problem. He would sing on, he said, for as long as we and he could manage. But it was never the forceful high notes that went awry. It was the sustained medium-volume singing in that upper third of the voice. The sound would waver and shred, and all the sophistication and subtlety of this fine artist would count for nothing. In the end, he sang five of the nine programmed songs, with varying degrees of distress.”