40 UK theatres lobby Guardian to reinstate Lyn Gardner blogs

Lyn Gardner. Photo: Nosy Crow
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More than 40 UK theatres, including the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sheffield Theatres and the Royal Exchange, have signed a letter to the Guardian calling on it to reinstate Lyn Gardner's theatre blogs.

Gardner is currently contracted to write 150 blogs a year for the Guardian, however these will cease next month to cut costs.

She will continue to write reviews and features for the Guardian, however the loss of her blog will amount to 130,000 words per year.

The letter reads: "Lyn Gardner’s stage blog is a genuine piece of pioneering journalism. Uniquely insightful and hugely valuable, it is an essential component of the narrative of UK theatre today.

"She has long provided a space to interrogate and discuss the detail of our growing industry from issues of funding to the development of artistic practice and the vibrancy of our theatre ecology."

It goes on to say that her work has created a vital public arena for everyone in the industry, adding: "Such digital platforms are an indispensable stage for critical and creative thinking about our industry. Together we urge the Guardian to reconsider the decision about this blog."

Signatories include Rufus Norris, Gregory Doran and Erica Whyman from the RSC and the Royal Exchange's artistic and executive directors Sarah Frankcom and Mark Dobson.

Others include the leaders of theatres including the Almeida, Bristol Old Vic, Chichester Festival, the Donmar Warehouse, Home, National Theatre Wales and Talawa.

Full letter:

Lyn Gardner’s stage blog is a genuine piece of pioneering journalism. Uniquely insightful and hugely valuable, it is an essential component of the narrative of UK theatre today. She has long provided a space to interrogate and discuss the detail of our growing industry from issues of funding to the development of artistic practice and the vibrancy of our theatre ecology. Through her blog she has created a vital public arena for everyone, from emerging artists and theatre makers, to those of us who are more established and running buildings.  Such digital platforms are an indispensable stage for critical and creative thinking about our industry. Together we urge the Guardian to reconsider the decision about this blog.

Sarah Frankcom (Artistic Director, Royal Exchange Theatre), Mark Dobson (Executive Director, RET), Ramin Gray (Artistic Director, Actors Touring Company), Andrew Smaje (Executive Director, Actors Touring Company), Rupert Goold (Artistic Director, Almeida Theatre), Denise Wood (Executive Director, Almeida Theatre), David Jubb, (Artistic Director & CEO, Battersea Arts Centre) Rebecca Holt (Chief Operating Officer, Battersea Arts Centre), Roxana Silbert (Artistic Director, Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Stuart Rogers (Executive Director, Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Tom Morris (Artistic Director, Bristol Old Vic), Emma Stenning (Chief Executive, Bristol Old Vic), Jon Gilchrist (Executive Director, Bush Theatre), Daniel Evans (Artistic Director, Chichester Festival Theatre), Rachel Tackley (Executive Director, Chichester Festival Theatre), Matt Fenton (Artistic Director/Chief Executive, Contact), Nikolai Foster (Artistic Director, Curve), Chris Stafford (Chief Executive, Curve), Josie Rourke (Artistic Director, Donmar), Kate Pakenham (Executive Producer, Donmar), Dawn Walton (Artistic Director, Eclipse Theatre Company), Richard Twyman (Artistic Director, English Touring Theatre), Ellen McDougall, (Artistic Director, Gate Theatre) Jo Royce (Executive Director, Gate Theatre), Jenny Sealey (Graeae Theatre Company), James Haddrell (Artistic & Executive Director, Greenwich Theatre), Edward Hall (Artistic Director, Hampstead Theatre), Greg Ripley-Duggan (Executive Producer, Hampstead Theatre), Walter Meierjohann (Artistic Director: Theatre, HOME), Dave Moutrey (Director & Chief Executive HOME), Mark Babych (Artistic Director, Hull Truck Theatre), Janthi Mills-Ward (Executive Director, Hull Truck Theatre), Gemma Bodinetz (Artistic Director, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse), Deborah Aydon (Executive Director, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse), London Theatre Consortium, Sean Holmes (Artistic Director, Lyric, Hammersmith), Sian Alexander (Executive Director , Lyric Hammersmith), Rufus Norris (Director of the National Theatre), Kully Thiarai (Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales), Theresa Heskins (Artistic Director, New Vic Theatre) Fiona Wallace (Executive Director, New Vic Theatre), Peter Rowe (Artistic Director New Wolsey Theatre), Sarah Holmes (Chief Executive New Wolsey Theatre), Lorne Campbell (Artistic Director, Northern Stage), Giles Croft (Artistic Director, Nottingham Playhouse), Adam Penford (Artistic Director designate, Nottingham Playhouse), Stephanie Sirr (CEO, Nottingham Playhouse), Elizabeth Newman (Artistic Director, Octagon Theatre Bolton), Roddy Gauld (Chief Executive, Octagon Theatre Bolton), Paul Miller (Artistic Director, Orange Tree Theatre), Sarah Nicholson (Executive Director, Orange Tree Theatre) Matthew Byam Shaw (Director, Playful Productions), Vicky Featherstone (Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre), Lucy Davies (Executive Producer, Royal Court Theatre), David Greig (Artistic Director, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh), Gregory Doran (RSC Artistic Director), Erica Whyman (RSC Deputy Artistic Director), Robert Hastie (Artistic Director, Sheffield Theatres), Dan Bates (Chief Executive, Sheffield Theatres), Rachel O’Riordan (Artistic Director, Sherman Theatre), Steve Marmion (Artistic Director, Soho Theatre), Mark Godfrey (Executive Director, Soho Theatre), Michael Buffong (Talawa Theatre Company), Fin Kennedy (Artistic Director, Tamasha), Valerie Synmoie (Executive Director, Tamasha), Arwel Gruffydd (Cyfarwyddwr Artistig, Artistic Director, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru), Jatinder Verma (Artistic Director, Tara Arts), Simon Stokes (Artistic Director, Theatre Royal Plymouth), Adrian Vinken OBE (Chief Executive, Theatre Royal Plymouth),  D Sawyerr (Executive Director, Theatre Royal Stratford East), Orla O’Loughlin (Artistic Director, Traverse Theatre), Indhu Rubasingham (Artistic Director, Tricycle Theatre), Andy Arnold (Artistic Director, Tron Theatre), Jon Spooner (Artistic Director, Unlimited Theatre), Anneliese Davidsen (Executive Director, the Unicorn Theatre), Matthew Lenton (Artistic Director, Vanishing Point), James Brining (Artistic Director, West Yorkshire Playhouse), Robin Hawkes (Executive Director, West Yorkshire Playhouse), David Lan (Artistic Director, Young Vic) & Lucy Woollatt (Executive Director, Young Vic).

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