Some do support poorer students
Your news story ‘Top actors plan drama school for poorer students’ is misleading. In fact, most of the schools in the government’s Dance and Drama Awards scheme have a significant proportion of students from low income backgrounds.
The scheme was established 15 years ago with the aim of providing talented students, regardless of background, with access to training at excellent drama and dance schools. It enables this by paying 100%
of fees for students from low income backgrounds, and providing a means-tested grant – not a loan – to meet students’ living costs while attending courses. Surely this is worth celebrating at a time when
the majority of drama students are burdened with loans?
The way in which the Dance and Drama Awards are being administered will change in 2013/14. However, all those involved have made sure that the new scheme is even more supportive of students from low income backgrounds than at present.
Schools currently offering Dance and Drama Awards are the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, Arts Educational Schools, Drama Studio London, Guildford School of Acting, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, and the Oxford School of Drama.
The Oxford School of Drama
Sansomes Farm Studios
Dismal dismissal of vibrant scene
I am an independent production manager living and working in Brighton, and read Nicola Merrifield’s article entitled ‘Brighton pub theatre on course for opening in early October’. I am appalled that someone hoping to open a theatre within the city of Brighton and Hove [Mill Goble, owner of Atomic Force Productions] could make a comment of such uninformed, naive flippancy as to say that “theatre-wise, there is not a lot going on for the fringe all year round. Apart from the fringe festival itself, the rest of the year Brighton mostly has performances at the Theatre Royal”.
I can only assume this statement has been wildly taken out of context, and the editor has somehow missed off a section mentioning the amazing theatre programme presented at the Dome, or the significant contributions made in the championing and presentation of performance and live art made by both the Nightingale and the Basement, and the bit about the unpara-lleled support given to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender theatre made by the Marlborough and Pink Fringe, or the continued endorsement of new writing and comedy by the Three and Ten.
While only a selection of the Brighton organisations that programme theatre, in its broadest sense, during “the rest of the year”, these organisations also actively support and champion local emergent and established artists, host residencies and programme work that brings national and international artists to Brighton to engage with our local theatre practitioners, and unanimously strive, with great success, to ensure that Brighton’s theatre scene rivals the rest of the country.
We are not a fringe city. Brighton Fringe, along with Brighton Festival, is merely the synopsised version of the rest of the year.
Independent production manager
Email address supplied
School cuts limit our engagement
If children are not exposed to quality live theatre and music, how can we expect them to be engaged enough to want to participate? (Theatre engagement drops among children, survey reveals).
Ten years ago we, as the Puppeteers’ Company, were giving 300 performances in 250 schools annually to 60,000 children. Our work did not date, we did not go out of fashion, but we became an easy expense to cut. Schools had to ‘prioritise’ and they could only request so much by way of parental contributions.
Even when we had to close the company in March this year, our cost per child was less than that of a school lunch. I was sitting at the back of the audience for one of our last performances, next to a 21st-century 11 year-old – doubtless all Wi-Fi and Wii – who, when a life-sized wolf made out of papier mache and gauze rushed the audience, breathed “wicked”.
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Raise your glass to Peter and Vic
Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle under Lyme – formerly the Victoria Theatre, Stoke on Trent.
Sadly, the extraordinary Peter Cheeseman is no longer with us and unable to celebrate this landmark of his groundbreaking creation, so we, the acting company of 1974-76, are hosting a party to celebrate him and this historic occasion. We are all opening our address books and trying to contact as many former company members, stage management, crew and staff from any era to invite them to come and join us on Sunday, October 7. We already have confirmations from representatives of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
May I, through the pages of The Stage, reach out to the many who have worked and performed at the Vic to invite them to a buffet lunch at the Ship and Shovell, Craven Passage, London WC2 – up the steps from the Charing Cross Theatre and Players Bar, off Villiers Street. The private party runs from 12.30-4.30pm on Sunday, October 7, and the buffet will be £8 per head.
May I ask readers to alert colleagues they know have worked at the Vic, and encourage them to come along and see some old friends from over the years. For further information and catering numbers, please contact me by emailing email@example.com or leave a message on 020 8993 4306.
Wanna tell you about a slip-up…
Growing up in the 1950s, I used to enjoy hearing Max Bygraves’ novelty songs on BBC radio’s Children’s Favourites, and can remember him introducing When You Come to the End of a Lollipop on Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the early 1960s.
That said, I did notice a few errors in Michael Quinn’s obituary of Max (September 13, page 45), who had hits with I’m a Pink Toothbrush and Gilly, Gilly, Ossenfeffer, Katzenellen Bogen by the Sea, but he wasn’t their composer. Dick James wrote Toothbrush and Al Hoffman and Dick Manning wrote Ossenfeffer, as well as Lollipop.
And the comedy series Whack-O!, set in Chiselbury School, starred Jimmy Edwards, not Max. As far as I know, he didn’t make a guest appearance in any episode.
Perhaps Mr Quinn confused Frank Muir and Denis Norden’s BBC sitcom with Max’s role as a teacher in the 1961 film Spare the Rod – something that Jimmy Edwards’ headmaster character seldom did.
Channel 4 used to show Max’s 1956 film Charley Moon on a regular basis, but it hasn’t been on the box for some years.
If they screened again this colourful, entertaining showbiz story, which includes the song Out of Town, as a tribute to a giant of British entertainment, in the words of the man himself, it would be a “good idea, son!”
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