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Kevin Spacey – theatre is more “liberating” than TV

23 August 2013

He was speaking at a question and answer session after his MacTaggart speech at the Guardian International Television Festival, in which pointed to a third golden age of television, largely pinned to the investment by American cable companies in new drama, and his desire to see talented and creative people encouraged and given more freedom.

Spacey, who made a dramatic change to his career in 1999 by quitting films and becoming creative director of the Old Vic, said playwrights, versed in theatre, “have the understanding of a story arc and how to tell a story in two to three hours”. He described theatre as “incredibly satisfying”.

He also encouraged producers, TV executives and agents to go out and explore performances at fringe venues.

“People are too lazy. I heard performers are doing a show upstairs in a pub, or basement, and they can’t get anyone to go to see it. You have to go and find it, take an interest – this festival (Edinburgh) is a very good example. Talent used to come to us, but now the kids are putting it on YouTube, and executives will miss it and the (TV) networks will miss out,” he said.

Spacey is stepping down from the Old Vic in 2015, and added that: “I look at the first four years at the Old Vic as the most challenging artistic and financial job I ever had. To run it without subsidy, a 1,000-seat theatre, is not easy. It was a tough road, tougher than anyone knows”.

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