Arts Diary

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The Independent Culture
CURIOUS. THE Laurence Olivier Awards that you may have seen on TV this week were missing the moments I remember best from the ceremony I attended. Edited out was Mark Little's hilariously ill-judged opening cry of "Welcome to Planet Luvvie" and the resounding silence from the audience of thespians who loathe the phrase. Also cut was Trevor Nunn's attack on the critics who had questioned his wisdom in putting on Oklahoma! It must, though, have been ineptitude that made the BBC cut Kevin Spacey's emotional reminiscences of coming to the theatre in London as a child, as well as his being overwhelmed at receiving an award from Lady Olivier. What was shown? The one unoriginal part of his speech, thanking the rest of the cast. Who edits these things?

Perhaps they are the same people who dreamt up the new-look Oliviers. In a clumsy attempt to be dramatic, the award of Best New Play to The Weir was not announced until the following week, which meant that it received little publicity. Andre Ptaszynski, president of the Society of London Theatre, is the godfather of the new format. He says dinner jackets and glitz give the wrong image of the theatre. Really? Do the red carpets and outlandishly expensive fashions of the Oscars put people off going to films?

SIR PETER HALL's launch of the Shadow Arts Council at the Olivier Awards was, however, a suitably dramatic moment. Thus was born an anti-government body of the great and the glamorous, including such luminaries as Sir Tom Stoppard (below). They had met in secret the day before, Sir Peter revealed. This was a surprise to everyone, including Stoppard: it was the first he'd heard of it. Sir Peter said the new Shadow Arts Council would be a port of call for the press with queries about the true state of the arts. OK. First question: at this secret meeting, who was the tall, curly-haired bloke impersonating Tom Stoppard?

ARTSPEAK AWARD of the week goes to Mark McCormack's International Management Group, the sports marketing guru that has set up IMG Arts Projects. It says it has been formed "to meet a need for arts management consultants who were also experienced arts professionals with a strong business edge and corporate ties who were willing to provide clients with daily hands- on assistance with performing arts projects such as managing performance venues and performing arts organisations". Ah, you say, that's not artspeak, that's management consultantspeak. But is there any longer a difference?

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