Maria Miller. The name sounds familiar. She’s the culture secretary, right? Well, Tabard is beginning to wonder whether she really exists. Because word on the street – well, in Theatreland – is that many creative leaders from around the UK have yet to meet the woman who oversees all aspects of the arts.
Indeed, at a recent National Theatre event, attended by the heads of 23 regional venues from across the UK, much of the talk was about how many of these people had never met this mythical Miller.
Danny Boyle, speaking to The Guardian, wasted no time saying how this made him feel. “Not one of those [artistic directors] has been even approached by this woman,” he said. “That is outrageous. This is the cultural life of our country. She is the minister of fucking culture. I mean, come on.”
The director added: “It’s a disgrace – it is these artistic directors that are spending the taxpayers’ money. And she’s not met them. They are the people spending the money – she should be talking to them.”
Quite. Well, it seems things were no better at a recent reception held at Downing Street. Some theatre leaders who attended, keen to meet Miller, tried to find her but failed. She was there, apparently, but just wasn’t very visible.
Tabard has a suggestion. If Miller is going to play hide and seek with people, she could at least make it a little fun. Perhaps she could dress up Where’s Wally?-style and have everybody try and locate her. At least that way she makes being elusive more entertaining for the rest of us.