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Show your support for local theatres
A major campaign, My Theatre Matters!, has been launched by Equity, The Stage and the Theatrical Management Association. The campaign has grown out of concern about the threats to funding of many theatres across the UK, particularly from local government. Sheffield Theatre, for one, is facing a council cut of £100,000, only weeks after being names regional theatre of the year at the Stage 100 Awards.
The campaign aims to encourage theatres to mobilise their audiences to voice their support for their local venue and tell their own stories about why their theatre matters to them. Harnessed into a national campaign, these local voices can give real weight to the argument in support of public funding for theatre. Actors will be delivering curtain call speeches in theatres asking for support from audiences and the campaign will receive prominent and branded coverage throughout the year and will be spreading the word through social media and a dedicated website.
Latest signatories to the campaign include: Hugh Bonneville (Twenty Twelve, Downton Abbey); Kevin McKidd (Trainspotting), who with 51 Moray-based artists and arts professionals has signed an open letter to Moray Council, arguing for a rethink of the recently announced 100% cut to its arts budget; and David Haig (The Madness of George III).
David Edgar, president of the Writers' Guild, said of the campaign: 'Regional British theatre was one of the great success stories of the 2000s – particularly in its production of new plays. There’s now a real prospect of all that going to waste. Playwrights join directors, actors and other theatre-makers in defence of the network of local and regional companies which is at the heart of Britain’s great theatre achievement.'
A free event on 18 April in London
Facilitated by writer Jenifer Toksvig, and featuring a panel of representatives from the Writers’ Guild, the Musicians’ Union and the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, this free event for writers and composers will address issues such as: acquiring rights, agents, commissions, contracts, copyright, development, optioning, percentages, productions, publishing, recordings, royalties, showcases and workshops. A representative of the Arts Council will answer writers’ questions about applying for Arts Council funding for the development of new work.
The Guild and the Musicans’ Union are running a survey in tandem with this event, the data from which will be used for the sole purpose of strengthening support for writers of musical theatre in the UK, in the continuous development of fair and reasonable guidelines for all aspects of the business. Complete the survey
6.30-9.45pm, 18 April, The Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA
Doors open: 6.30pm
Panel presentation: 7pm
Drinks and networking: 8-9.45pm
On March 20th at Chapter in Cardiff there will be a Welsh language special event where Guild members will be able to discuss current and future drama output on S4C with the new drama commissioner, Gwawr Martha Lloyd.
She will meet members at 8.00 pm in the committee meeting room for a question and answer session.
By Alannah O’Sullivan
Robert Adams OBE was an extraordinary man. A paratrooper in WW2, he was also a first-rate runner who coached Ghana’s first athletics team and brought them to Britain after the war.
Working back in the UK, he soon became managing director of various firms, the most well known of which was A. H. Mackintosh Furniture in Kirkcaldy. He was awarded an OBE for his services to the industry.
His charitable works are numerous and, on retirement, he created a whole new profession for himself in writing, becoming chair of the Writers’ Guild in Scotland in the 1990s. One of the good friends he made through the Guild was Alan Plater.
Bob’s wit was legendary and he was sought after as an after-dinner speaker. His plays, The Roup and Scrappy, have toured Scotland. He recently had two books published and had just completed a new play based on his experiences in wartime. He was a truly heroic individual and will be sorely missed.
The funeral will be held on Tuesday, 12 March at Dunfermline Crematorium.
Ian Buckley on why he felt compelled to put his Communist father's story on the stage
Being the son of a Savile Row tailor, and visiting his small Soho workshop over many years (including stairwell and toilet-cleaning duties!), I got to know the trade of high-class tailor very well.
I also got to know Soho very well. The reason? My father worked from a small, somewhat dark, workshop in a well-proportioned Georgian terraced house that had seen better days. When I knew it in the early 1960s, it was full of tailors like my father, working in their often cramped little rooms, for prestigious high-class gentleman tailors whose grand shops were in Savile Row.
My father's employer was one of the most prestigious of these: Henry Poole. Dad's actual workshop was in Broadwick Street, off Wardour Street and, wonder of wonders, it was in the same house that William Blake, the great English poet, had lived in. It had the blue plaque to prove it! Unfortunately this national treasure has not withstood the march of progress. In its place now stands a squat, ugly block named William Blake House - they haven't even bothered to replace the blue plaque.
Like many tailors my father was, and still is, a strong communist (as is my mother). Fighting against Hitler led him to believe communism was the only system that could withstand fascism. He was also a strong trade unionist, joining the NUTGW (National Union of Tailor & Garment Workers) and fighting for better conditions for his fellow tailors. He combined his communist party duties with his obligations as a trade unionist all his life.
All welcome - 12th March, Manchester Met University: John Dalton Building, Oxford Road
Gail Renard, Chair of the Guild's Television Committee, will be speaking to a joint Merseyside and Manchester WGGB branch meeting on Tuesday 12 March from 6.30 - 8.30pm.
Gail will discuss the latest happenings on the current TV scene including the new BBC agreement and how the Guild is protecting you and your future income in the digital world. There will be an open Q & A where writers will be able to share their recent work experiences.
Both WGGB members and non-members are invited.
To sign up for the event visit: http://wggbbbctv.eventbrite.co.uk