Thursday, 19 May 2016

Recognising The Value Of Britain's Fringe Theatre

My letter below was published in The Stage today


Dear Sir

I read with interest the very detailed British Theatre Repertoire Report 2014 (May 12) and the trends that it highlights.
It is disappointing to note, however, that the only theatres surveyed for the report were the members of the Society of London Theatres and UK Theatre.
In London alone there are approximately 80 Off-West End venues, the great majority of which are not affiliated to SOLT, and which have therefore been excluded from the report.
Off-West End venues not only offer theatre at ticket prices that are typically far below SOLT-staged productions, they also provide an organic base from which, occasionally, shows can springboard up to a more commercial SOLT venue.
Additionally, Off-West End productions offer outlets in which emerging artists are often discovered, and established artists can hone their skills.
The quality of many Off-West End productions is not in question. By way of example only, the Arcola and the Southwark Playhouse theatres frequently mount shows that garner four-star and five-star ratings in Britain’s mainstream national press, and which can play to packed houses with queues around the block.
As and when the next report on the British Theatre Repertoire is published, it needs to be more inclusive.
Jonathan Baz

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