Attention London - what's wrong with the regions?

Joanna Reid, 7 October 2012

Jake Oldershaw, Joanna Reid, Erica Whyman, Neil Darlison, Anna Brickman, Gareth Nicholls, George D Aviv-Riley, Ida Ballerinm, Struan Leslie, others

How is it that shows created in the regions can get booked to play abroad and not in London?

- new work often crosses art forms, something more easily accepted abroad

- most work in the UK requires Box Office as an element so non box office work is even more disadvantaged trying to get into London

- is London snobbish about work that has been seen elsewhere in the UK first?

combined with the pressure for London to host something “new' - and is this to do not only with snobbery but also to do with the pressure of London venues/arts organisations to get audience & media attention in a city that is full of different things to do (and different shows/art forms to experience).

- there is now a lack of small/suitably sized venues to host work (250 seats)

- London as the focus for the arts world is the same issue for other industries in the UK

- commerce etc the HQs/decisions are made in London. Why is the UK so London centric - worse than many other European countries.

- Media and comment is London centred - well intention critics are time limited to leave London to review work, even if their editors were to allow it

Issue of Reviews

the National media is London centric

How can we move to receiving informed commentary about work, rather than relying on reviews?

- artists want to have their work seen in London because it's where informed comment sits, and yet work coming into London will often have less exposure to a wide range of critics/views than in their own town

- we want informed comment on the work so while it's great to have audience members as ambassadors, to be helpful in the sense of a conversation with the artist, the comment does need to be in a context,. Even reviewers are often not good at putting this into a context - the Visual Arts world however seems to get this right where work is often/usually commented upon with the wider context

Is New Media / blogs also London centric? except around the Edinburgh Festival

- probably yes

Festivals/moments of gatherings that bring conversations can get traction and lead to more informed/constructive comment and feedback

London Centric

London audiences and venues don't even know what is going on outside the city

- even artists/peer groups do not leave London to see work because the sense is that if it's any good it will make the journey into London. Yet often the work is most relevant seen in the context of its own region/city. The trick is to create an event that people travel to see eg National Theatre for Wales seems to be achieving this.

- as an audience member - London is not the HOly Grail, we don't want to be ”test audiences“ for something that may then go into the West End.

- London artistic director comment ”XYZ artist has done his/her time in the regions and it's time for him/her to come back to London"

Actors' agents don't want their actors to work outside London

Little movement between London and the regions at the executive/artistic director level too. Leads to iincreased incestuousness in London.

Russia suffers the same problem - Moscow dominates

German model however means that all major cities have their own artistic centres and talent is not drawn to one area at the expense of others

Has Scotland got this right? Edinburgh/Glasgow jostle for pre-eminence, Ensemble is in Dundee also going to get the V&A, Aberdeen and Inverness are also becoming hubs,, National Theatre of Scotland as a model helps promote the sense of theatre being important throughout the country

What advantages does Regional Theatre have over London Theatre?

-often there is more sense of a community - both for the Theatre itself and for artists

- artists have time to see eachothers' work

- there is less sense of competition/oneupmanship outside London

- it's been more enjoyable making work outside London

- London can overstimulate/overlioad with choice is the RSC a regional theatre?

- more than it used to be, connected to both the city and the region, change is internal as well as because of the new building

- architecture can be the focus for relaunching/rebranding organisations eg RSC, Belgrade Theatre Coventry

- for an artist there is a sense of the resources pot being bigger outside London

- regional theatres can and do facilitate conversations with local artists


Support, artists, competition, Media, director, Director, scotland, Regional Theatre, work, support, relationships, executive, Belgrade Theatre, Work, RSC, London centric, Germany, architecture, communities, conversations, facilitate, artistic director, agents, media, WORK, Scotland