Incorporating the Variety Artistes' Federation
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Oct Meeting - Renaissance Man "Mike Bradwell"

26 September 2012

Further details are listed in the minutes from Secretary Ross Foley on Mike's chequered career so far. He was a founder member of Equity's Fringe Committee & likened it to Monty Pythons Life of Brian in parts!

Mike spoke with passion & eloquence on the history of theatre & what has brought us to where we are today, with such insight as:

  • We have in our capacity the ability to change minds & change the world. From agit prop to the RSC.
  • Only the artists can tell the truth now, who can trust politicians & journalists.
  • In a totalitarian regime - first thing they do is imprison the artists - ie Pussy Riot
  • In 1968 - people were setting up their own companies, Womens Theatre, Gay Sweatshop & in these days of austerity & minimal work opportunities, this is happening again.
  • We have seen an upsurge of Marketing Depts - brought in with the last Conservative Govt. Boards in theatres moved from Creatives to Corporate to get more Corporate funding.
  • New Labour didn't get rid but embraced it - adding "measurable outcomes" which stunted theatres even more. The Bush was told it did not have enough racial mix in audience & funding cut accordingly.
  • Artistic Director role slowly erased from theatres.
  • ALL major theatres in this country are sponsored by a Brand - BP, Coutts, KPMG, Shell, Barclays.
  • We have to redress the balance between EXECUTIVES & CREATIVES.
  • We must define what we do & WHY we are important - we ARE as important as hospitals & prisons. There IS a parallel between the Arts & with Health & Education.
  • Social media is all well & good for spreading the word - need to use it but it stops people in a room & talking
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