Friday, 23 December 2011

You Say You Want a Revolution

Although the only politics that I really understand are those that have been made into contemporary dance and  I have a severe distrust of ideology because it tends to lead to dogmatic scripts that make an obvious point, I am heartened by the students who have occupied various university building throughout December. That they held G12, once an accessible theatre, made the protests more poignant, a reminder that drama, as a public event, always has a political subtext.

Since students aren't the only ones facing cuts, I am rather hoping that performance communities take the hint, and demonstrate their feelings about this government's attitude to the arts. While I am ambivalent about the importance of state funding - it comes with a hidden cost and a certain complicity - I don't want to see the money that used to get spent on scenery slipping off to support another bank bail out or pay-rise for MPs.

I believe in performance because it is a rare example of a public meeting that offers the potential for intelligent discussion: unlike football, it is more likely to lead to romance or debate than a fight in the car park. Attacks on funding for the arts are, by extension, an attempt to undermine the possibility of dialogue and new communities.

In any case, I have a fantasy about a Performance Demonstration. Can you imagine the massed ranks of ballet and contemporary dancers, burlesque acts, vaudeville hoofers, directors and pantomime stars, musicians, comedians, conceptualists getting together to fight the power?

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