Obviously tighter spending is bound to have an effect on theatre in the long run. But it may be a positive one in that commercial producers are less likely to confront us with vacuous rubbish and that audiences will opt for genuine quality.
In fact, the real story of London theatre this autumn is the popularity of first-rate drama. Try getting a ticket for Ivanov at Wyndham's, Waste at the Almeida or Creditors at the Donmar. Pinter's No Man's Land and Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, both directed by Rupert Goold, are also doing excellent business in the West End. As for the RSC Hamlet, starring David Tennant, I'm told that when booking opened at the Novello there were all-night queues snaking round the Strand. Clearly the credit crunch didn't have an effect on them.
You could argue that these are all accredited classics, often garnished with star-names. But David Hare's new play at the National, Gethsemane, has virtually sold out. And it's noticeable that Christopher Shinn's political drama, Now or Later, has had its Royal Court run extended by two weeks because of audience demand.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tough Times? Not For Good Theatre
Michael Billington sees the silver lining in the tightening of the belt: