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Olivier Awards 2018: Best actor winner Bryan Cranston takes swipe at US attitude to arts funding

Bryan Cranston at the Olivier Awards 2018. Photo: Pamela Raith

Bryan Cranston has slammed “short-sighted” cuts to the arts in the United States and urged its government to follow the UK’s example.

The American performer was speaking at the Olivier Awards 2018, where he won best actor in a play for Network [1] at the National Theatre.

“I am beyond grateful that I’m able to work in the theatre in a country whose government supports the arts to an extent that it realises that it is not an elective but it is a necessary element to achieve the happiness and health of their citizenry,” he said in his acceptance speech.

“Hopefully that will carry over across the seas.”

Speaking backstage, Cranston argued that, in the United States, there was a trend of “immediately looking at the arts as the first red line” when faced with financial challenges.

“I think it’s very short-sighted, because to support children’s imaginations and ability to grow in a social, emotional way is more important than learning dates of a war,” he said.

Cranston added: “It doesn’t seem to be [the same in the UK].

“There’s challenges everywhere, but by virtue of the fact I worked at the National Theatre and their first and foremost mission is to put on good stories that resonate with audience, and if happens to make money great, but that’s not the first and foremost thing for them.”