The Big Society beanstalk

In the face of all the current doom and gloom our Producer is preparing us for the worst. At last weeks production meeting she slashed all the departments budgets by 6.9% – thats from the Arts Council she said.When we mentioned that we didn’t get arts council funding she told us firmly that this was about solidarity with the sector – and with that in mind you’ll all being applying for your jobs – she went on – the deadline is 24 January.

‘Thats the day after the get out’ stuttered our production manager..but to no avail for our producer was gone.

Worse was to come this week. ‘In the light of news from Somerset County Council I have deceided to assume our local authority funding will be cut. So thats another 30% off your budgets.’ But we dont get…’ I started to say …’us professional organisations must stand side by side’ continued our esteemed producer ‘its all about a level playing field’

‘Now there is some good news’ she continued. ‘Whats that’ I cried – eager for any crumb. ‘Well you know how every year we loose our talented youngsters to university and drama schools – all our training disapearing in a cloud of dry ice to the big smoke and beyond. Well that wont be happening any more. University is going to be far too expensive for the good folk of Wivenhoe and anyway all the drama schools have been cut’ And without further ado she closed the meeting and off she went into the sunset.

By now the design team are in tears! Bang goes our plan for a Giant mechancial puppet (said one),pyrotechnics are out (said another),we’ll struggle to get custard in the pies (said a third). And then in unison everyone cried


And there descended an austere gloom about all our faces which befitted the age. This went on for some five minutes before our ever resourceful Production Manager jumped up and said ‘I have an idea’.With that he rushed on stage and retrieved his copy of the coalition agreement which he’d been using as a stage weight. He rifled through the pages at a rapid rate – and then cried …

EUREKA its all about the big society. The great British people will make the beanstalk.

By now I’m looking confused and non plussed. But our production manager is already making frantic calls. Within minutes he has two local schools fighting over the chance to bring the beanstalk to life. All we need now is material…

And that,dear reader,is where you come in……will you help Wivenhoe Panto group save itself from the cultural slag heap in the sky? We’re not after your money – we’re after your material (green if possible, no blue or yellow please),ribbon and wool. As much as you feel you can donate and as soon as you can! Donations can be dropped off at rehearsals on Sunday afternoons (the congregational hall in Wivenhoe) between 3pm and 5pm or e mail us on if thats not convenient!

If only the arts infrastructures challenges over the next few years could so easily be solved!

Follow me on twitter @matthewlinley and the panto group at @wivenhoepanto
Jack and the (Big Society) Beanstalk will be performed at the William Loveless Hall from the 19th-22nd Jan.Tickets go on sale at the Wivenhoe Christmas Fair on Thurs 2 Dec. After that get ’em from the Post Office.


2 thoughts on “The Big Society beanstalk

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Big Society beanstalk « Matthew Linley’s Blog --

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