Thursday, January 17, 2008

Arts Council Cuts: Please Sign Queer Up North Petition

Stephen Petronio, whose Company are due to to UK premiere a dance collaboration with Antony and the Johnsons as part of the Queer Up North Festival in Manchester in May, was a guest in several seasons of training and masterclasses we organised as Physical State International more than a decade ago. A company incidentally which lost its funding in bizarre circumstances.

Arts Council cuts now threaten QUN's very existence. Please sign the QUN petition. And tell your friends. There are also a good few Number 10 petitions on related subjects. This one is straightforward and universal. There is a selection of QUN media coverage right here.

Clearly the Arts Council wishes to innovate and be dynamic. But they have many mouths to feed. Including some huge great sacred cuckoos. And limited nourishment. And so their appetite for change can only be sated on a one out one in basis. Which has led to a lot of belly-aching, much of it justified.

Clearly ACE could restrict and even cut the largest institutions who are most able to raise private sponsorship, most able to charge hefty ticket prices, with the most extravagances to trim. But the rich get richer and all that.

Clearly ACE could go back in to bat for ever higher settlements from the DCMS and with more justification in terms of the cultural industries' importance and their inspiration and support by the funded sector.

But if they cut new and exciting events and companies to make room for other new and exciting events and companies they are being pretty weak and pretty foolish if you ask me.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST: QUN have been one of the charities I've supported over recent years, running the Great Manchester Run for them in 2005. I have been a Trustee of Walk the Plank which is an Arts Council Regularly Funded Organisation for around a dozen years now.

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