A message for the national – burried in my insuffolk questionaire!

The web site insuffolk are running a series of q and a’s with arts leaders from across Suffolk. You can read responses to their questions from a whole range of people here ( see below for a full list of participants so far).

Now readers of this blog will know I have a tendency to go on a bit, and needless to say I did…so my responses (quite rightly) suffered the wrath of the editors red pen. As one cut –  a message for the incoming AD of the National Theatre (see if you could bring any show to Suffolk what would it be below) – I would really like to see happen, here’s my text in full!

What was your Suffolk arts highlight of 2013?

Grimes on the Beach, an amazing one off experience on so many levels.

What would your Christmas present to the arts in Suffolk be?

For me what every good arts experience does is send a shiver down my spine …so my Christmas wish would be that more people in Suffolk get the opportunity to experience those shiver moments.

Arts in the regions should get a bigger slice of funding in 2014 because…

In many ways I think that’s the wrong question. In difficult times the arts world has to, and is, accepting its fair share of the ‘pain’. I do think though that all of us in the East (arts organisations, audiences, politicians) should be arguing for a fairer share of investment in our region (which often appears bottom of the league in terms of overall arts investment (1)). And generally arguing for a wider acceptance of the arts as important.

And why should we be making that case? Because culture is a very good thing in its own right. Because culture defines us, makes us what we are. Because imagination and self-expression are essential to our well being. They also happen to be key tools in so many walks of life which is why the current eroding of arts education is so short sighted. And finally because it makes financial sense (the arts sector turns over a wopping 12.4 billion a year and generates more per pound invested than health, wholesale and retail and professional business sectors , see here)

These arguments apply as much in Ipswich and in Westleton (or any Suffolk village or town) as they do in London, the South East and our major cities.

If you could bring any show/artist to Suffolk in 2014 what/who would it be?

As a student I studied Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach

which started me on many extraordinary journeys which continue today. I’d love to see the current international touring version of the show here in Suffolk, perhaps at the Hush House where Eastern Angles return in September 2014 with Ragnarok – Doom of the Gods.

90trackersAnd with rumours of the National Theatre’s London Road becoming a film, how about more work that is relevant to place, from the big national companies starting life in the regions? I’m a huge fan of the poet Tony Harrison and, in 1990, the National Theatre’s The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus came to Salts Mill (just up the road from my Leeds home) prior to its London run. So I’d love to see, for example, Rufus Norris (the incoming Artistic Director of the National, who also directed London Road) commissioning work that happens in the regions and is screened live into London via NTLive.

One name in the arts to look out for in 2014

Other than Eastern Angles you mean?.(who have been a name to look out for for the past 30 years….)

At Womex (the World Music convention) the most talked about show of the expo was by Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and kora player Seckou Keita. Both live and on disc (Clychau Dibon) the pair’s musical journey together is simply beautiful. I’ve always loved work which crosses cultural boundaries (which is why I’m very much looking forward to Eastern Angles’ Spring 2014 show Palm Wine and Stout) and this collaboration is a perfect example of that. Earlier this month the album won the Roots Critic’s Album of the Year. Demand a copy in your stocking and expect to see them at a festival near you next year!

You can listen to, and buy the album here

You can choose this years’s Christmas No 1 …what would it be?

Well I’d love Love At First Sight, the love song between Plain Jane and Mr Rochester from The Brontës of Dunwich Heath and Cliff  but as we are not going to be releasing it that will be a vain hope! So if I can’t have that I’ll plump for the Cambridge-based, Kathryn Williamsesque Pollyanna Band who’ve just released their first single, Silent Night

Happy Christmas!

Matthew Linley is General Manager of Eastern Angles

Other respondents to the In Suffolk questionnaire include:-
Joanna Carrick (Red Rose Chain), Matthew Abercrombie (John Peel Centre), Meg Reid (Felixstowe Book Festival), Rob Salmon (New Wolsey Theatre), Emma Roodhouse (Ipswich and Colchester Museums),Sara Newman (IP Art Festival), Stephen Foster (BBC Suffolk),Amit Lahav (Gecko), Bryony Rudkin (Portfolio holder culture) and Haley Field (artlink).

(1) The arts index has recently been updated, but not unfortunately with regional breakdowns.

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