Monday, November 01, 2010

The Welsh National Opera – (60% funded by the English Arts Council, naturally)....

Sunday mornings means wading through the half a forest worth of supplementary woodpulp that comes with the hernia-inducing Sunday Times newspaper. Most of it is pretentious dross, but now and again you can come across a story that buggers belief – this one is yet another for inclusion into the ever-increasing volume entitled ‘The Union Dividend’....

It's taken from yesterday's Culture magazine’s ‘Biteback’ column written by Richard Brooks...
I wonder if the fat lady is about to stop singing for Welsh National Opera. The 'Lady' is the Arts Council, which gives the WNO a whacking £6.7 million a year. Yes, the Arts Council of England, not its Welsh equivalent, which itself hands over £4.5 million a year to the Cardiff based company. Now, I accept that the Welsh company will perform 25 nights in England over the next year, but all operas, staged in places such as Birmingham and Bristol, opened in Wales, so the production start-up costs, the most expensive element, originate there.

WNO's money comes from the Arts Council, West Midlands. This seems unfair on others such as the innovative Birmingham Opera Company which gets only £350,000 a year, or the Warwick Arts Centre, which receives £525,000. Let's hope the Arts Council of England sorts out this daft anomaly and stops being so generous to the Welsh, particularly at a time of severe cuts....

BTW, in case you were wondering, this is supposed to be the English Arts Council’s Raison d'ĂȘtre as posted on their website...
Arts Council England is the national development agency for the arts in England, distributing public money from the Government and the National Lottery...

And as things are now so tough, Arts Council England have posted this page on their site telling us how they will implement 29.6% of budget funding cuts over the next four years.
Liz Forgan, Chair of the Arts Council, said: 'These are severe cuts, made worse by the fact that around 80% of them have to come in the first two years of the settlement. We are determined to lead the arts through this tough period, using all our knowledge, expertise, and brokering skills, and drawing on the resourcefulness and imagination around us'.....

To aid their quest to find money wherever they can (presumably they've already looked down the sides of the reception sofas) I have helpfully emailed them – letting them know where they can save a whole shed full of cash over the next four years from their West Midlands coffers....

To: Liz Forgan, Chair, Arts Council England.
From: Alfred the OK, English Arts lover..

Dear Liz Forgan,
I’ve got a great idea which can save you at least £26.8 million from your English Arts Council budget over the next four years. PLEASE STOP FINANCING THE WELSH NATIONAL OPERA.... Simples!
It isn’t smart, it’s not clever - and it isn’t even English.

Regards, A the OK.

4 comments:

Toque said...

I wrote to them about this issue a while back, the reply is here.

Alfie said...

I'm just staggered by the size of the cash involved... We're not contributing, we are bank rolling it.

No change there then.

BTW, there was a superb editorial in the ST yesterday - all about the Scots unis charging English students story...

The headline was 'Scotland's educational apartheid'....

Letter being composed right now.

Red_Fred said...

Keep right on Alf, all power to yer elbow (or PC)

Daggs said...

Nothing to do with this item Alfred. I just read your response on 'Labour uncut' re, asymmetric devolution.
Absolutely brilliant! well said.