Furlough close down will see more theatres shut

Furlough close down will see more theatres shut

The tapering furlough scheme will see more theatres permanently shut, warns the Theatres Trust today.

Opera company reinvents 2020

Opera company reinvents 2020

Although closed in the Covid-19 lockdown, Grange Park Opera, set in the Surrey Hills, is launching a newly devised summer season this month.

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Bem Le Hunte,  1st June 1983, by Boleslaw Lutoslawski

Former Fleet Street picture editor Alan Sparrow introduces this month’s image

TAITMAIL    Staging the apocalypse

TAITMAIL Staging the apocalypse

Most theatres can’t open before the autumn and those that do will have to operate at 30% box office to meet social distancing requirements, producing an income that would be well below costs. Apocalypse.

Roland Rudd controversial choice as Tate chair

Roland Rudd controversial choice as Tate chair

The PR consultant Roland Rudd is to be the next chair of Tate, succeeding Lionel Barber in January, 2021.

Irish arts needs massive injection of cash support

Call for post crisis investment programme

Turner Prize cancelled – bursaries awarded instead

Turner Prize cancelled – bursaries awarded instead

This year’s Turner Prize has been cancelled, with £100,000 in bursaries being given to ten artists instead.

‘End not yet in sight’ warns ACE chief

‘End not yet in sight’ warns ACE chief

The end of the crisis for the arts driven by the coronavirus lockdown is not in sight, says Arts Council England CEO Darren Henley - and there will be permanent closures.

Southbank may be closed till April 2021

Southbank may be closed till April 2021

With its reserves running dry during the Covid-19 closure, the Southbank Centre may have to close until at least April 2021 and will cease to be a going concern before the end of the year if it doesn’t get emergency rescue funding. 

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE   How artists survive

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE How artists survive

Experts from Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University explore what impact Covid-19 closures have had on the visual arts industry, and its response

Hedge funder Britton heads Tate’s US drive

Hedge funder Britton heads Tate’s US drive

Paul Britton, founder and CEO of Capstone Investment Advisors which oversees funds worth almost £5.8bn, is to chair Tate Americas Foundation Board of Trustees.

Dowden appoints culture tsar to ‘advise’ on recovery

Dowden appoints culture tsar to ‘advise’ on recovery

The government has appointed publisher, philanthropist and entrepreneur Neil Mendoza as Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal to help the sector steer a way through the effects of the pandemic.

‘Theatres facing total collapse’ – Friedman

‘Theatres facing total collapse’ – Friedman

A leading West End producer today challenges the government to prevent 70% of performing arts companies closing permanently by Christmas.

Celeb face masks to support artists & museums

Celeb face masks to support artists & museums

Leading artists David Shrigley, Yinka Shonibare, Linder and Eddie Peake have designed limited edition facemasks to raise funds for artists and museums badly hit by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Helping hand for theatres in peril

Helping hand for theatres in peril

The Theatres Trust is stepping in to help six theatre buildings survive.

Mystery Roman figure to inspire new music

Mystery Roman figure to inspire new music

This tiny and mysterious figure of a Roman household god could be the inspiration for an important piece of new music – for museums.

Call for government to step in and ‘save our cultural landscape’

Call for government to step in and ‘save our cultural landscape’

The chair of Parliament’s culture select committee has written to the culture secretary to demand urgent extra support for cultural institutions facing bankruptcy because of the coronavirus lockdown.

MY STORY  Nicola Moorby, art historian and Turner expert

MY STORY Nicola Moorby, art historian and Turner expert

In February the Bank of England issued the new polymer £20 note, the first banknote to feature a British artist. The chosen artist is J M W Turner with a self-portrait painted in about 1799, and to coincide this week the art historian and Turner authority Nicola Moorby launches a lecture series for The Arts Society Connected with her talk An Artist of Note: Turner and the new £20 note

When art history came to the Palais de Danse

When art history came to the Palais de Danse

St Ives’s Palais de Danse was never a notable building. It started life in the 18th century as a navigation school, and it was only in the 20th century that history came knocking, leading to its Grade II listing today.

Sunderland success with online culture programmes

Sunderland success with online culture programmes

Sunderland Culture has joined forces with the city’s university and local council to deliver a programme of online culture to residents during lockdown.

Northern Ireland employers urged to buy ‘lockdown’ arts

Northern Ireland employers urged to buy ‘lockdown’ arts

Scheme aims to support artists with saleable content.

The Covent Garden look for NHS frontline

The Covent Garden look for NHS frontline

Royal Opera House costume makers are creating scrubs for NHS workers on the Covid-19 frontline.

TaitMail       Class action - literally

TaitMail Class action - literally

It’s hard to find a headline these days that doesn’t feed back into the dreadful impact of the coronavirus and the economic freeze which has followed.

Spitfire takes victory bow

Spitfire takes victory bow

The world’s oldest Spitfire Mark 1 on display at the RAF Museum Cosford is being illuminated in red, white and clue as part of the VE D ay 75th anniversary celebrations.

THE WORD Beyond conflict - the spirit of EdFest, 70 years on

Graham Sheffield, director of arts at the British Council, on the bequest to the world
of the Edinburgh International Festival
as it celebrates its 70th birthday with the ‘Spirit of ’47’, a collaboration across this year’s programme between the festival and the council

The cultural maelstrom that envelops Edinburgh throughout August makes it easy to forget the post-war origins of this international festival. The story has often been told of what led to the selection of Edinburgh as the location (not the first choice of city - Oxford apparently was initially preferred); of the local politics which permeated the early discussions; and of the prescient choice of Rudolf Bing, an Austrian impresario from Germany, who fled the Nazi regime to unlikely success in the UK: first as the Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera and thence to Edinburgh, to co-found - with native Scot and Director of the British Council in Scotland, Henry Harvey Wood - and direct the first Edinburgh Inter- national Festival.

This spirit of post-war international collaboration set the festival on a course which has characterised the city in August for the past 70 years, and which infuses not just the Edinburgh International Festival but all of the other myriad festivals which have blossomed from its well-established roots: the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival etc. All contribute to the global standing of this beautiful and ancient city, to its reputation as a platform for innovative, off-kilter arts and culture and its international, welcoming outlook.

An anniversary presents a time for comparisons, and the world of 1947 and 2017 throws up interesting contrasts and parallels. We are more aware of the positive influence that the influx of new, international minds can have on culture and society; and up to speed on the positive impact of the free movement of people and ideas across borders, not just in Europe but globally. We can look back with confidence on the origins of EIF, knowing that the impact that the nascent idea of Rudolf Bing and Henry Harvey Wood would have not just on the first festival, but on all subsequent ones.

At the same time, however, the early 21st century has brought uncertainty on a global scale – often drawing parallels with the 1930s, so far re- moved from that post-war spirit.

We have the fallout of the economic crash and old orders displaced; a tectonic shift in how, why and who communicates and who understands; economic migration and refugees. And dominating UK politics is the decision to leave the EU, raising question marks over the future freedom of movement and ideas, through students, artists and communities. The spirit of collaboration – the spirit of 1947 – which has characterised the festivals in Edinburgh for 70 years, could be in question.

This formed the backdrop for the discussions Fergus Linehan, director of Edinburgh International Festival, and I had around the British Council’s contribution to EIF’s 70th Anniversary programme. We wanted to reflect and reiterate the mission of 1947 within today’s world and with- in today’s arts landscape. “Spirit of ‘47” is the result: ten days of performances, films and discussions, with artists from Scotland, England, USA, Ukraine, Lebanon, Cuba, China, Jamaica, Palestine, Chile, Argentina, Syria, Portugal, Germany, Iran, Pakistan and India gathering in Edinburgh in August, along with the thousands of other visitors from all over the world who travel there.

In 1947 the emphasis was on reconnecting Europe, reconciling former adversaries (and allies) in a new spirit of cooperation and collaboration. The programme for the first EIF was weighted towards classical music and theatre. In 2017, however, both EIF’s and our own horizons are broader.

Spirit of ’47 will see veterans from both sides of the Falklands War talking about their experiences on stage together, in the critically acclaimed stage play by Argentinian director Lola Arias, Minefield. It will provide a platform for the Iranian director Azade Shahmiri to explore a not-too- distant dystopian future, where freedom of expression has finally been stifled, in the play Voicelessness. It will bring a group of displaced Syrian artists and lm-makers together to offer a fresh perspective on how war affects the lives of artists – and it will mark the creation of the “New European Songbook”: unique collaborations between musicians from across the continent, performed and recorded live, for a future, European-wide broadcast.

Edinburgh in August provides a gateway into the arts scene of the UK, and a representative picture of the attitudes of inclusivity, curiosity and optimism that can and must continue to characterise our arts and culture. In 1947 the festival’s founders looked at their shattered world and saw the building blocks of something better. In 2017, amid the turbulence of economics and politics, we should think of those pioneers and keep our eyes and minds open for the building blocks of today.

The Edinburgh International Festival is on until August 28 www.eif.co.uk

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