Is (or are the higher echelons of) theatre still controlled by an Oxbridge mafia?

Convener(s): Matthew 

Participants: Various people…. Sorry no names apart from Gemma and Anne 

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

  • Do connections get you anywhere/everywhere?
  • No doubt that Oxford and Cambridge are centres of excellence – they create good thinkers.
  • Does an Oxbridge education give you confidence, assurance, a sense of a right to be in the world?
  • Networks can be created and used very quickly – you can get far fast
  • How can we stop theatre from being nepotistic
  • Some discussion which defined Cambridge as propelling more people to the higher positions in British theatre
  • It’s a broader issue of the establishment in Britain, of old boys’ networks etc
  • Is there a case for people who are more interested in their careers than creating high quality work?
  • Is there an impenetrable layer at the top of the industry (e.g. running the National) which goes almost exclusively to Oxbridge educated people?
  • Taking it back to school education – public school gives you the opportunities that others do not have – the expectation that you will achieve – that the money will be there.
  • Some sense that people who went to Cambridge have to work even harder to justify their position.
  • Is it different for men/women to succeed from Oxbridge.
  • As well as a university mafia, there’s a drama school mafia: RADA, Central

CONCLUSIONS: If you can’t get into the gang, form your own – perhaps we could have a Devoted and Disgruntled Mafia!