expert jury should funding for the Globe be a lottery?

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The Independent Online
Should the national lottery fund the Globe Theatre?

David Mellor

Former Minister for National Heritage

I have visited the Globe site and it is very exciting. Sentimentally, one wishes it well. Being practical though, it is inevitable that there are worries - are the 20th-century theatregoers willing to visit this sort of establishment to see Shakespeare more than once? That, I feel sure, is the root cause of the Arts Council's concern about the future financial viability of the Globe. My heart hopes the Globe are right, my head is bound to share the Arts Council's concern about it in the long term.

Michael Holden

Chief Executive, Shakespeare Globe Theatre

The Shakespeare Globe, we appreciate, is a unique and rather special proposal. We expect 25,000 school and university students to attend our workshops and lectures over the next year; indeed, already 22,000 have come to us.

There are significant capital amounts to be used, as what we are doing is of national importance. We want to stage the works of Shakespeare and his contempories in the Globe's unique, authentic setting. The programme that we're proposing is of a standard that merits funding, so that we can really bring the Bard to the people.

Philip Hedley

Artistic Director, Royal Stratford East Theatre

Well, I don't agree with the rules under which lottery funds are distributed anyway, but I think that under those rules, the Globe theatre should be given lottery money on one condition. And that is that the money is used to keep prices down, so that the theatre has an across- the-board audience. From what I hear at the moment, I'm not sure that will happen. It needs to get children, OAPs, a wide audience in - Shakespeare wrote for such an audience originally. If high prices make the Globe merely a tourist attraction or only of interest to an academic elite, then it should not be given lottery funds.

Dr Nicholas Tate

Chief Executive, School Curriculum Assessment Authority

Obviously we can't comment on Arts Council decisions, but I passionately feel that it is part of every child's entitlement to learn about Shakespeare. Indeed, it is a requirement of the National Curriculum to study the playwright who, while capturing the essence of England, speaks a universal language that cuts through cultural and national boundaries. This is surely what the Globe aims to do, with the added delight and link of it being in its original setting.

Shakespeare is one of the most important figures in literary culture.

Caro Newling

Administrator, Donmar Warehouse Theatre

The Globe should be funded. It provides a very valuable piece in the artistic and cultural jigsaw that comprises the backdrop to British Theatre. Any venture that wants to enhance the creative blood of a country should be actively encouraged, after all, wasn't the whole point of the Lottery fund to help the growth of all artistic endeavour?

The problem is that no organisation can rely solely on the Government for its existence. All artistic projects are having to find alternative means of providing subsidy through independent fundraising. Good luck to them.

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