ALRA admits it 'turned a blind eye to racism'

06 May 2021

A long awaited report by the acting school says it allowed perpetrators of racism to "parade their sense of superiority with impunity" and created a "humiliating, hostile and exclusive" environment for students of colour.

Europe-wide project aims to create network of minority theatres

04 May 2017

(IN CROATIAN) Five minority theatres in Romania, Italy, Serbia, Albania and Croatia will combine to produce a play and a series of workshops in Spring 2018 using European Union funding.

New York opera security scare after powder sprinkled into orchestra pit

31 Oct 2016

The Metropolitan Opera cancelled a performance during the interval as a safety precaution after somebody sprinkled an unknown powder into the pit.

Library scoops £3,000 in the National Lottery Awards

25 Aug 2016

St Helens Libraries’ Cultural Hubs attracted over 2,000 votes to be named Best Arts Project for its work promoting health and wellbeing.

Sturgeon: Culture will be 'very heart' of Scotland's recovery

07 May 2021

Following upset over a two-metre social distancing rule for venues, Scotland's First Minister has asserted the country's commitment to culture.

Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped pilot events in England would also inform a return to higher capacity activities in Scotland.

She said culture will be "at the very heart" of the economic recovery from Covid-19 if the SNP is returned to power. No other details were forthcoming.


UK-born actor faces deportation

07 May 2021

Ace Ruele Aristotles faces deportation to Jamaica despite having only ever visited the country twice.

The 33-year-old actor, who has appeared in Eastenders and New Blood, has successfully challenged deportation before, having served a prison sentence for minor offences in his youth.

As a result of his crimes, his immigration status was changed to limited leave to remain five years ago. Aristotles lost an appeal by the Government that he had a "financial incentive" to reoffend and hadn't demonstrated family ties, despite having children in the UK.

He now has to renew his right to remain every 30 months at a cost of £2,389 each time.

“Why should I pay every 30 months for limited leave to remain in the country I was born in and, if I don’t, be faced with removal? I didn’t immigrate from another country, I can’t go anywhere else,” he told The Independent.




'Red alert': One quarter of festivals cancelled

07 May 2021

The first wave of festival cancellations is the canary in the coal mine as Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage says insurance is "still on the table".

University of Creative Arts to close Rochester campus

06 May 2021

The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) will close its Rochester campus in September 2023, giving most students time to finish their degrees.

Staff will be redeployed to other campuses as UCA looks to move courses to new "centres of excellence" in Canterbury, Epsom and Farnham.

UCA also plans to stop providing further education, focussing instead on degree level courses.  

This is its second campus closure, having stopped providing courses at Medway in 2014.

Berkshire theatre to build flats for post-pandemic income

06 May 2021

The Mill at Sonning is seeking planning permission to turn a rehearsal space into flats.

The development is part of the theatre's post-pandemic recovery strategy. The income from rent would be crucial to the business' survival, Managing and Artistic Director Sally Hughes said.

"This will enable us to preserve the heritage of the buildings and ensure they are refurbished and well looked after, while at the same time using the money to help us through tough times."

The Mill first got permission for the development years ago but rare bats were discovered in the roof and the permission expired before the theatre could begin works. 

If the development is approved, staff and performers will have to find alternative rehearsal space and accommodation - the building is currently providing overnight stays.

Critics confront Serpentine Gallery over green credentials

05 May 2021

The use of 95m³ of concrete foundations to support part of the Serpentine Gallery’s annual pavilion has provoked a backlash among architects for its environmental impact. 

The gallery's artistic director, Hans Ulrich Obrist, pledged last year to place ecology at the heart of its work, but critics say using so much concrete - a major contributor to CO2 emissions - "calls into question the sincerity of that pledge".

This year’s pavilion was meant to be built in 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic. Criticisms of its green credentials have been rebutted by engineering consultants AECOM, who insist the structure has many sustainable attributes.

Recycled primary steelwork,  reclaimed cork and a sustainably-sourced lightweight timber substrate all form part of the structure, but AECOM says some concrete is needed to ensure public safety over the five months of the installation.


Artists shortlisted for Windrush Monument

05 May 2021

Four artists of Caribbean descent have been chosen to develop ideas for a national Windrush Monument at Waterloo station.

Sculptor and painter Basil Watson, multimedia artist Jeannette Ehlers, Valda Jackson, a printmaker and moving image artist, and sculptor and photographer Thomas J Price were selected from a list of 16 candidates.

Each will have to present a maquette, model or drawings and a short film explaining their proposal to the Windrush Commemoration Committee.

Chair Baroness Floella Benjamin said the shortlist represents "a vibrant mix of talented artists, all with lived experience of the Windrush legacy".

"The monument will be a permanent place of reflection and inspiration for Caribbean communities and the wider public, especially children. It will act as a symbolic link to our past, and a permanent reminder of our shared history and heritage for generations to come."

The winning design will be revealed during Black History Month in October, with the monument to be completed in 2022. 

Aberdeen launches funding scheme for cultural activity

05 May 2021

The Creative Funding Awards will offer non-profit organisations grants of up to £10,000 to deliver creative and cultural activities that aid the pandemic recovery.

Aberdeen City Council has opened the programme to performances, exhibitions, networking events "or even something completely new and innovative".

"There are very few limitations on the type of creative project that can be supported."

The local authority is backing Culture Aberdeen's 10-year strategy for the city, and funded activities are expected to contribute towards the strategy's ambitions: releasing creativity, making the city a stage, connecting the city to te world, shaping its future, and becoming "Scotland's creative lab".

Individual residents can also apply for one of ten £2000 awards.

The deadline for applications is Friday June 18 at 5pm.

Alarm at plans to cut higher education arts funding in half

05 May 2021

A consultation on plans to cut arts education funding by £17m says the subjects are not a "strategic priority" for the Government.

2500 socially distanced gigs planned from May 17

04 May 2021

Grassroots music venues are already selling tickets for 2534 shows in anticipation of restrictions being further relaxed on May 17.

The penultimate step of the Government's roadmap to recovery is the last before a return to full capacity shows, but at least 266 venues plan to reopen to smaller audiences, a survey by the Music Venue Trust (MVT) reveals.

More than 4000 shows are predicted to take place across 400 venues from mid-May, and 17,000 full capacity gigs are expected by the end of September.

MVT Strategic Director Beverley Whitrick said it was "incredible to see the enthusiasm for getting live music back".

"These socially distanced shows aren’t being delivered for financial return, in fact precisely the opposite. The grassroots sector is stepping up and putting its own time and money into answering the demand for live music in our communities."

CEO Mark Davyd added: "There are still challenges to overcome, and of course the whole of this programme relies on the Government sticking to its roadmap to allow us to reopen every venue safely."

"Audience safety continues to be grassroots music venues’ main priority, but this is hopefully the start of our much-anticipated road back to normality."

Museum chair quits over Dowden veto of trustee

04 May 2021

Billionaire Sir Charles Dunstone has quit as chair of Royal Museums Greenwich over Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden's refusal to reappoint Aminul Hoque as a trustee.

Dowden's office has not offered an explanation as to why Hoque, a Bangladeshi-British academic who advocates decolonising the curriculum, was vetoed, saying only that "there is no automatic presumption of reappointment".

However, the move is being seen in the context of the Government's attempts to enforce its historical narratives on the UK's museums.

READ MORE: Arm's-length policy at risk in contested heritage debate

Dunstone, the founder of Carphone Warehouse, resigned as chair in Februrary immediately after warning Dowden he would do so if Hoque was not reinstated, The Financial Times reports.

Hoque said he was "shocked, disappointed and baffled" by the Culture Secretary's decision.



Thousands attend Sefton Park test festival

04 May 2021

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage has praised the mini-festival held in Liverpool on Sunday as part of the Government's Events Research Programme.

About 5,000 people attended the outdoor gig in Sefton Park. They were not distanced or wearing masks but were required to present a negative test result for Covid-19 prior to entry.

Their health will be monitored in the coming days, with hopes that a low level of transmission might facilitate the return of large scale events in the summer.

Dinenage said the event was "a milestone" and "a momentous occaison to celebrate".

"There is nothing quite like the collective experience of hearing your favourite act live in the atmosphere of a festival and I hope everyone [had] a fantastic day."

Liverpool's artist studios 'could disappear', report warns

03 May 2021

Studios have been unsure about their eligibility for funding during the pandemic and don't know where to turn for advice.

Arts sector presents £564m bounce back loan risk

30 Apr 2021

The arts could cost the Treasury £564m if organisations default on their Bounce Back loans.

Insolvency consultants Business Rescue Expert have calculated that the arts sector is one of the scheme's lowest borrowing sectors, receiving £940m from 47,741 loans. Only education has borrowed less at £726m.

Arts organisations have borrowed just under £25,000 on average but have the sixth highest rate of borrowing per individual loan at £31,512. 

In a "best case" scenario in which Treasury loses 15% of the loan value, the sector presents a £141m risk, Business Rescue Expert says.

The worst case scenario - a 60% loss of value - presents a £564m risk.

However, this is significantly less than other sectors: retail, the top borrower, could cost taxpayers £4.6bn in a worst case repayment situation.

Bounce Back Loans are distinct from the repayable finance scheme offered under the Culture Fund, meaning the sector's overall debt to the Government is closer to £1.1bn.


Backlash forces Scotland to revisit two-metre distancing rule

30 Apr 2021

The measure could make up to 95% of the country's theatres financially unviable, with only a quarter physically able to accommodate maximum audiences upon reopening.

Empty promises over post-Brexit crisis won't cut it, sector says

29 Apr 2021

300 organisations are calling on Boris Johnson to fix the crisis facing the creative industries in the aftermath of the Brexit trade deal.

An open letter coordinated by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) demands the Prime Minister deliver on a promise he made to the Parliamentarians Liaison Committee on March 24 to take action in relation to visas, work permits, moving goods and people.

"The creative industries need you to deliver on this pledge otherwise work will be lost and businesses will go under," the letter says. 

In the absence of a clear plan, the Government is being urged to negotiate a bespoke creative sector visa waiver agreement, establish bilateral agreements with individual EU member states, provide funding to compensate for the additional costs of creative work in Europe, and reduce the adverse impact of road haulage and cross-trade ruleson pan-European tours.

Signatories to the letter include One Dance UK, the Royal Shakespeare Company, British Arts Festivals Association, Glyndebourne Productions, the Association of British Orchestras, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and UK Music.

Deborah Annetts, ISM's Chief Executive, said it is “extremely frustrating” there has been no real progress towards fixing the crisis facing creative businesses. 

"Unravelling the huge bureaucratic obstacles preventing touring musicians and other creative workers from working in Europe is now an urgent priority as we look beyond coronavirus… empty promises will not cut it."


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