Arts ‘set back 15 years’ by funding cuts – Stephen Daldry

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The arts industry has been set back 15 years by funding cuts and proposed changes to the national curriculum, theatre and film director Stephen Daldry has claimed.

Daldry, who also served as executive producer for the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, voiced his concerns during the Empty Space… Peter Brook Awards, which took place this week at the National Theatre Studio to recognise the achievements of UK fringe venues.

After being presented with the Peter Brook special achievement award, Daldry said: “It is rather astonishing in the same breath [as my celebrating the Olympics] that our secretary of state for education thinks it appropriate to get the arts out of the national curriculum as a core subject, and of course Arts Council England is going through another spending round and, more tragically perhaps, there is the decimation of the regional institutes due to the shocking amount of arts funding that has just been cut widespread across the country.

“So we’re back to where we were 15 years ago, where we are having to fight for old principles, fight for the old ideas and ideals of a country that should be at the forefront of what we expressed at the Olympics… so unfortunately we will have to stand up and argue for it all over again.”

Daldry was joined by Cultural Olympiad director Ruth Mackenzie, who echoed his thoughts.

She said the industry had “absolutely… relied upon” the ability for “generations to develop their skill in schools and in subsidised theatre” in preparation for the Olympic events.