United Kingdom/ 7. Public institutions in cultural infrastructure  

7.1 Cultural infrastructure: tendencies & strategies

For many years London's commercial (West End) theatres have often relied for their programming on productions of new plays first presented in public subsidised theatres. The obvious reason for this symbiotic relationship is a financial one: hitherto, public funding has enabled subsidised companies to be more adventurous in their programmes. Indeed it is usually one of the requirements for grant-in-aid that companies demonstrate their willingness to present new work, be more experimental, take risks etc. In turn, the subsidised theatre companies (or at least some directors and playwrights etc) have benefited from the commercial transfer and exploitation of their work. There is also a tradition of actors and other performers moving between the subsidised sector, commercial theatre and broadcasting.

In the area of film, public investment in the UK Film Council has enabled a number of commercial and independent films to be made that would otherwise have found it extremely difficult to secure private finance. This is one of the reasons why the Film Council's abolition is causing some concern in the sector.

Arts & Business (A&B) has been running a number of programmes that develop partnerships between culture and commerce, such as the Board Bank which helps arts companies to recruit board members from business. Arts@Work encourages partnerships that bring the skills, techniques and values of the arts into the workplace. Through A&B World, A&B shares its knowledge and experience with other countries interested in developing a private / public funding mix for cultural activity and works alongside a group of international associate organisations. A&B Arts Forum is a membership association for arts fundraisers providing a platform for training, debate, information and networking. A&B Creative Development is a service bringing artists and arts processes into a business context to help stimulate imaginative and innovative thinking, and so achieve business solutions. A&B Training hosts master classes and seminars to help artists and arts professionals develop and apply their business skills. For further information go to: http://www.ArtsandBusiness.org.uk. However, as A&B is to lose its funding from Arts Council England by 2012/13, it is unclear how many of these programmes will continue.


Chapter published: 15-04-2011


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