The excellent playwright Fin Kennedy, together with researcher Helen Campbell Pickford, has put together a piece of research, entitled In Battalions ('When sorrows come, they come not single spies / But in battalions.' Hamlet 4.5).
The report challenges the current Arts Minister Ed Vaizey who has asserted that the cuts in arts subsidy is having "no effect" on British theatre. In Battalions suggests that they are already having a very significant effect, particularly on the development of new plays but, in fact, on new work generally. The report finds significant cutbacks in productions, commissions, residencies, development time, cast sizes, touring, and more.
Ed Vaizey got the report two months ago. He has not responded. So Fin has got together an open letter to Ed Vaizey, requesting a formal response to the report, and he's managed to get it signed by a fantastically impressive list of writers, directors, managers and actors, including Caryl Churchill, Vicky Featherstone, Michael Frayn, Dennis Kelly, Mike Leigh, Helen Mirren, Mark Ravenhill, Simon Stephens, Tom Stoppard, and, perhaps not quite as impressively, me. The letter has got good coverage from the Guardian, Independent and Equity.
It's a powerful, worrying report and a stirring letter. I'm pleased and proud to be adding my voice right now.