sound and fury

04Apr11

In a rage of rim-shots and raucous feedback, Kindle’s latest project The Furies launched itself at an unsuspecting mac audience on saturday night. A work-in-progress, the Furies was an ambitious undertaking; a re-invention of the Furies myth(via Aeschlyus’s Oresteia), with the Kindles’ rendering their tribal alter-egos as a glammed-up rock quintet. Thanks to their irrepressible energy and some fantastic playing from band rhythm section Phill and Russ, The Furies looks like it will have legs. The sophisticated musical arrangements and vocal extemporisations make for a rich and infectious score, which will take me a long time to shake off.

Barely a week before The Furies, Kindle’s Sam Fox was performing on the same mac stage in Foursight Theatre’s Pertencia, a darkly compelling bi-lingual collaboration with Portuguese company Teatro do Montemuro. I’ve had the great privilege of working with Foursight on last year’s Forever In Your Debt and have collaborated with Pertencia writer-director team Peter Cann/Steve Johnstone, in my own company’s Un-Earth (The Resurrectionists/mac prods., 2004).

On wednesday last (30th March) Arts Council England announced the news of its latest wave of cuts. Amongst the 200 or so regularly funded organisations who now lose their funding, Foursight is one such company. Now, there’s been media babble about “winners and losers”, but as far as I’m concerned we’re all losers. The UK arts landscape has been hugely vibrant in recent times and the current ‘thinning out’ signals a very gloomy picture ahead. I don’t believe publicly funded arts organisation should  be allowed to rest on their laurels; nor should any have a right to funding. Ultimately the work has to ‘cut it’ by demonstrating excellence and innovation. Unfortunately, the strategic overview of these cuts are politically motivated. The fact that the UK Arts are the envy of the world and contribute a significant return on investment is neither here nor there, because the government cannot be seen to be promoting the enlightenment of culture over what’s seen as more ‘essential services’. And for much of the tax-paying public, ignorance of the role of the Arts in education, in social welfare, or even in international relations will do little to help its cause.

When the news broke on wednesday morning, I was in Oxford Playhouse, preparing for that evening’s performance of Stan’s Cafe’s Tuning Out with Radio Z ; its theme that night? Money. Meanwhile, in the theatre’s Main House, long-established touring stalwarts Shared Experience were performing their latest production, Bronte. Whilst Stan’s Cafe are deemed to have been successful in this round of funding (with an apparent increase over the next three years – misleading as it now includes funds previously granted separately through GFA applications) Shared Experience lose all of theirs. As do our friends Third Angel in Sheffield; Theatre Absolute in Coventry. As do venues Green Room in Manchester, VIVID in Brum. As do scores of other arts organisations up and down the country.

[Sam West addresses the TUC Rally March for the Alternative, 26th March 2011, Hyde Park]

What’s patently clear is that Artists will continue to make Art, whatever. They will continue to enrich the cultural life of the nation that we all benefit from. The policy drive towards a future private patronage of the Arts is unlikely to impact on those at the cutting edge, but work will get made and concerns will be different. More politicised, maybe? Against this backdrop, Kindle remind us of the will to make happen. Full of sound and fury… and not signifying nothing.

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5 Responses to “sound and fury”

  1. 1 Frances Jacobs

    Haven’t seen the latest Fury production but hope Kindle will flourish despite non funding. Keep smiling and working guys

  2. Forgive me, Frances, for what might appear misleading details in this blog entry. Kindle have, in fact, received some development money for the creation of The Furies (though their application for regular funding through the National Portfolio was unsuccessful). I wanted to imply that, especially during these uncertain or jaded times, the Kindle spirit demonstrates the vitality of live performance – something that will not ultimately be quashed.

  3. 3 Rebecca

    Again I haven’t seen the latest production but really keen to see the creation of “The Furies.” Kindle are splendid – brilliant musicians and actors!

  4. 5 TC

    It flourishes & thrives in the Musical that dare not speak its name – well sort of :- MacFuries…


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