Letter: A year of policy confusion at the Arts Council

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his letter (6 December) about the relationship between the Arts Council and the English Shakespeare Company, Anthony Everitt (Secretary-General of the Arts Council) claims that touring theatres are 'less interested than they were in repertory companies . . . essentially booked for their brand names rather than their programmes'. Meanwhile, in a simultaneous letter to the Guardian, he declares that the council will 'continue to fund . . . the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre to ensure a regular supply of excellent drama for the major touring theatres'.

You see why it's difficult to deal with these people: you can't keep up with the costume changes.

Mr Everitt claims, in a schoolmasterly summation, that the English Shakespeare Company brought its troubles on its own head. Not so. The ESC is a highly professional organisation run by veterans of the favoured national companies, doing its best to plan ahead in a desperate climate with a funding body insecure about its own future, lacking the courage of its small convictions, and not even brave enough to share its problems with its clients, whom it appears to regard as enemies.

Yours sincerely,

MICHAEL PENNINGTON

English Shakespeare Company

London, WC1

7 December

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