Reporting for a Socialist Future
THE GREAT COMEBACK
"We have been relatively quiet for the past year: we are a small group of people who have been creatively and politically busy during this time. After we last spoke to you, a war broke out, the prime minister resigned, and protests, strikes and acts of political turmoil proliferated. You are not alone if you feel like the world has turned upside down. We have been keeping up to date with the changing consciousness, trying to gauge the mood and feelings of workers."
REVIVAL FOR SURVIVAL: CAPITALISM'S DESPERATION IN THEATRE
As Britain enters its third Lockdown, many people ask how this will affect theatre and whether new packages will be introduced in the time venues are not allowed to open. Some are pessimistic, believing that theatre will not survive another blow like this and that this could be the beginning of the ultimate end. Others – like the UK and international producer Richard Jordan – believe that collaboration and determination will help us survive.
ART-RISING'S 2020 YEAR REVIEW
Well, what a year it has been! It is a tumultuous time for people. From panic buying to most of Britain’s economy shutting down for Lockdown one, two, or however many more there will be. One thing we know that is for sure: The way we have run our world is not working. Capitalism is failing us. Welcome to Art-Rising’s 2020 year review where we will speak about the last 12 months and what they mean for the arts sector, future implications, the failure of opposition speaking out against the insanity of this cataclysmic Tory government, the consequences of Brexit and the COVID-19 economy and what Art-Rising will do for the future.
THE CRISIS OF BRITISH THEATRES… VOLUME 2
Art-Rising has been away for a while, and we apologise for that. As the second lockdown has come, we have been busy creating work that we hope to show soon. In the meantime, a discussion should be made about the crisis in the arts at this time and little support being offered is currently the new normal. Cameron Mackintosh came onto the television to tell us all about his "fightback of the theatre", whilst trying to sell his own Les Misérables concert coming in early December...
CAPITALISM’S RISING STAR: THE ONLINE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
From theatre to tv, from the film industry to the gaming world. The online subscription service is beginning to dominate the world. Generations like the millennials and the Zoomers have become the primary consumer for the online subscription service, consuming multiple services that offer binge-worthy content. From the surface, the subscription services look promising. It is cheaper, more sustainable and contains more content than could ever be imagined. So why is this article being written? With the move of the subscription service being inevitable, and eventually compulsory for most platforms. It is time to discuss the intrinsic capitalist nature of the online subscription and how it could provide more harm then good.
WHAT COMES AFTER: A RETURN TO FORM
With theatre venues on the verge of collapse, it is inevitable to wonder what will come after Covid. To answer this, we will now try to make a case for a new type of art and arts’ structure. Art-Rising’s main proposal for the survival of the arts is a network – under the guise of the Arts Council – of state-owned arts venues, companies, and organisations. But whilst we wait for this to become a reality, what theatre and art can be produced if their funding keeps being stripped to the bone?
THE CASE OF LINCOLN DRILL HALL
Last week, the City of Lincoln Council decided not to renew the funding for the Lincoln Drill Hall. This has led to feelings of anger and despair in the local community, with yet another cultural venue being left completely vulnerable and unsupported during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a statement released by Lincolnshire Live, the Labour-led council expressed that they “believe the Drill Hall is not financially viable in its current form”.
THE TORIES’ SECRET PRIVATISATION OF THE BBC
The promised arts package devised by Oliver Dowden and the Tories was delivered too late, as suggested by the Guardian “‘Government's £1.57bn UK emergency arts fund 'too late for some'”, and its effects are yet to be seen. Actors, theatre technicians and Front of House staff have been made redundant in commercial and subsidised venues alike. The situation has become dire for all venues across the board, with the RSC recently announcing they have also started redundancy consultations.
THE PRODUCERS: “ESSENTIAL” REDUNDANCIES, LEADING TO “ESSENTIAL” PROFITS.
Cameron Mackintosh, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ambassador Theatre Group and Netherlander Theatres. In the last couple of months, all these high-profile figures and companies have been leading redundancy consultations which recently resulted in thousands of theatre staff been made redundant. These companies have amply profited from their staff’s hard work, who in return have been subjected to poor workers’ conditions, low pay and even abusive behaviour, methods used by these ‘entrepreneurs’ to bully and exploit their employees. Now, they have the audacity to make them redundant.
THE TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS OF THE ARTS COUNCIL: THE CASE FOR A NEW PROGRAMME OF SOCIALISM
The Arts Council is a subsidy package for arts venues. It provides money to all types of artistic ventures by adhering to the so-called “arms-length.” As a result, it cannot be biased towards those it decides to fund. Yet, the Arts Council has had difficulty in respecting this policy.
HAMILTON THE MUSICAL: A CELEBRATION OF NEO-LIBERALISM
With the original Broadway production recently making its debut on Disney+, another confirmation of its continuing popularity and capacity to still attract and fascinate thousands of people, it is useful to examine Hamilton and the implications it has on the theatre industry. This musical has been widely praised for its storytelling which is heavily intertwined with political and revolutionary themes, and for using the stage as a platform to discuss race and gender politics. There is a lot to praise the work for, but it has nonetheless many issues when examined closer.
THE WHITE CREATIVE’S PRIVILEGE: MISCONCEPTIONS OF BAME OPPORTUNITIES.
Before the horrible murder of George Floyd and the BLM protests, many white actors expressed a certain exasperation with the amount of castings advertised specifically to BAME artists. They claimed to feel excluded from jobs for being white and argued that minorities were being given first choice in the theatre industry. Many people would dispute this, but it is a common occurrence that white actors tend to lean towards racist language when discussing topics such as BAME casting calls.
‘CAPITALIST THEATRE’: THE EXPLOITATION OF COMMERCIALISED THEATRE
In an interview for the Daily Telegraph dated 21st May, Sonia Friedman announced that the theatre sector has lost £330 million in revenue and that 70% of British entertainment will be out of business by the end of the year. Friedman is not the only one to haven given this staunch warning: Cameron Mackintosh recently gave notice that the theatres will be closed until 2021 due to social distancing measures, and the Really Useful Group, owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber, published a report asking for government funding to help support theatres whilst giving an examination of South Korea’s lockdown easing procedures and how we should model ours to that. All these scenarios might become true. Suggestions of what the future holds might become a reality. But there is one question that should we keep asking and, up until this point, it is yet to be answered: what will happen to theatre workers?
CORONAVIRUS & THE WORKFORCE: TIME TO JOIN A TRADE UNION
Coronavirus has exposed massive holes in the artistic industry, and the government has offered little support, as reported by The Stage in the article Coronavirus: Half of arts workers borrowing to survive crisis – BECTU. Artists are now relying on bank loan to survive the crisis.
LABOUR PARTY AND THE ARTS: A VISION TOGETHER
The Labour movement has had a fascinating and historically healthy relationship with the Arts. In 2019 the Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, developed an Arts Manifesto that presented a plan to give appropriate funding and support to the artistic community. This manifesto was also supposed to produce a “cultural renaissance,” conceiving art within local communities. Unfortunately, due to the results of the 2019 general election, this did not come to pass...
“MY INDUSTRY HAS BEEN DECIMATED AND THE AFTERMATH WILL BE CATASTROPHIC.”
NEO-LIBERALISM’S IDEOLOGICAL DEVOLUTION FOR THE ARTS IN BRITAIN DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK.
The Guardian article ‘'Stressed, sick and skint': how coronavirus is hitting arts workers’ gives an account of the situation experienced at this current time by those who work in the artistic industry, and explores the damming effects to the halting of the economy for a self-employed worker and the people who work in technical and administrative capacities...
SOCIALISM WITHIN THE ARTS: THE NEED FOR A 21ST CENTURY MOVEMENT
The Arts, especially in the past twenty years, have become irrelevant in engaging with socio-political issues that involved class. A lazy approach has been adopted when tackling subjects of a socio-political nature, furthermore, undermined by capitalist affiliations which helped reaffirming the status-quo...