The Week in Arts: Will a curfew make that theatre trip a thrill?

Share
Related Topics

The proposal by the Metropolitan Police that under-16s should be banned from the West End of London after 9pm is being called bad news for West End theatre. Is it now to be officially deprived of that elusive young audience it has been chasing for so long? Of course, some of the anti-theatre brigade might argue that it would be a greater punishment for unruly youths to make them attend the plays. And even I, a theatre-lover, can think of a couple of shows in the West End that could serve as a short, sharp shock.

But in the highest echelons of the theatre world, there is panic. Richard Pulford, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre, said in The Stage this week that he was appalled by the curfew idea for young people unaccompanied by an adult. He went on: "We do everything we can to encourage young people to come to the theatre and there is no reason why they should not do so without an adult - many of today's industry figures cut their teeth doing this. If a young person comes to watch a performance, they cannot avoid being on the streets after 9pm."

It's a tricky one. Having long campaigned for cheap theatre tickets for young people, I always knew I'd have a tough battle against certain short-sighted, greedy producers and management groups; it never occurred to me that I would be stymied by Scotland Yard.

I have to admit I rather look forward to the first arrest of a curfew-breaking theatre-goer. "I swear, officer, I've spent the last three hours at Tonight's the Night, the Rod Stewart musical." "You don't honestly expect me to believe that, do you son?"

Perhaps young people carrying theatre tickets will be granted immunity from the curfew for cultural reasons. Tickets would become prized possessions, with a healthy black market operating in the school playground. Groups of beery youths would sing "here we go, here we go, here we go" as they made for the Donmar.

But there is a serious aspect too, and Richard Pulford touches on it. For some - not that many, but some - trips to the theatre, alone or with friends, are indeed made in the early and mid teens. If (and it's a big if) the curfew comes about, the habit will not be formed.

Cinema owners and managers have not taken fright like their theatre counterparts. They clearly believe that their young clientele will somehow evade the curfew. But then young cinema-goers have always pretended to be older than they are. Theatre-goers have never had to do that until now. Who knows, it might even make theatre-going risky and exciting for that elusive young audience.

A director's cut to sink your teeth into

The "extras" that come with DVD films have tended to include homages to the director, often from the director. But now there is a refreshingly iconoclastic move afoot. The DVD of The Matrix trilogy, that is soon to be released, will include commentary by critics (including the doyen of American film criticism David Thomson) saying why they loathed the film.

Thomson and two other US critics were asked to watch the trilogy together and discuss their antipathy to it. The co-writer/director Larry Wachowski says: "We thought it would be a fun idea to get three critics who hate us to spend six hours bashing the movies." A fun idea indeed, though the films' star Keanu Reeves (left) may not be quite so amused. Will the negative response DVD idea take off? Somehow, I don't see it happening over here. My hunch is that British directors are less open-minded than Mr Wachowski. But Richard Curtis, Alan Parker, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach et al might prove me wrong and include some carping critics from now on.

¿ An obituary of the British silent film star Joan Morgan contained a fascinating fact. During the filming of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, an adviser during the making of the film was the author. Hardy apparently thought movies "something of a fad", but went along with the exercise. It was the first British film to be shot entirely on location, and Hardy's role was to advise the director on different shots of Dorset.

One hopes he was also consulted about the storyline and the characters. It all takes some imagining - the director shouting "action", the actors getting into their roles, and, presumably, everyone's stomachs churning with anxiety over whether they would impress the elderly chap looking on.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: pours or pores, pulverised, ‘in preference for’ and lists

Guy Keleny
Ed Miliband created a crisis of confidence about himself within Labour when he forgot to mention the deficit in his party conference speech  

The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election

Andrew Grice
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect