About Global Financial Crisis and Recession: Impact on the Arts

Thursday 30th July 2009

Arts Council England
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Grim news from various Cassandras in the arts world. As the economic downturn morphs into a legacy of tax rises and budget cuts, it looks like our necks are well and truly on the block. In Global Financial Crisis and Recession: Impact on the Arts, a recent report by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, the effects of the crisis include slumps in sponsorship and cuts in grants. In theatre, the aesthetic consequences will be less new work commissioned, less adventurous programming and more crowd-pleasing pap. But while this is now the orthodoxy of our view of the results of economic downturn, I can’t help thinking that, led by the arts bureaucrats, we are turning into a bunch of whingers. Isn’t there another way of looking at cuts? Surely, a period of austerity is also a time of opportunity. Aren’t times of scarcity also a challenge? After all, the last great burst of creativity in new writing for the British theatre was the mid-1990s, a time of funding cuts. Come the next round of cuts, let’s avoid whining; instead, let’s make new, inventive and thrilling work on a shoestring…

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