Today, a nationwide, volunteer-led, public campaign begins to support Britain’s imperilled performing arts industries.
The Public Campaign for the Arts brings together people of all ages, all backgrounds and from all parts of the UK, to express the immense value of arts and culture in their lives, and to call on the government to rescue the cultural industries.
Without government support, 50% of music venues and 70% of theatres will close permanently by the end of this year. This will have a devastating impact not just on the UK economy, for which the cultural industries generate over £100billion a year, but on the lives of millions of people who depend on arts buildings and companies for their mental health, social life and community cohesion.
In a series of short videos at CampaignForTheArts.org, to which anybody can add their own story, members of the public speak out about what’s at stake.
Dawn from Hereford says, “Arts centres and theatre are the central places for many people in communities. For the mind, body and soul it’s essential. It’s absolutely essential.”
Mark from Leicester says, “Where I worked, the Haymarket in Leicester, has already closed so I’ve lost my job. I’ve had some mental health problems in the last few years and theatre is like therapy for me. If theatres close it will be so devastating for communities.”
Marion from the Lake District says, “It’s a hub for the community. I cannot imagine life without the theatre there. Most people are being made redundant. It’s desperately, desperately sad. I don’t know what we’re going to do without the theatre.”
Abiola from Hackney says, “The arts mean a great deal to me. It means expression and that means everything. I would like the government to look at ways that the arts can have continued support.”
All of the stories can be viewed now at CampaignForTheArts.org.