Times Higher

The Times Higher Education Supplement recently ran a review of Intellect's Bringing Down the House: The Crisis in Britain's Regional Theatres' by Olivia Turnbull.

Here is an excerpt from the review:
'Olivia Turnbull's book demonstrates admirable scholarly detachment and rigour on every page, where the temptation to grind a polemical axe might have been impossible for many writers to resist.

Turnbull has written a painstakingly meticulous survey of the political and cultural war zone that is theatre funding. She points an accusatory finger at the Thatcher Government, which presided over the closure of more than a quarter of British regional theatres in just under 20 years. She justifies this by logical argument validated by convincing evidence and statistics.

This level-headed approach is the wisest for an author to take to dismantle and expose all that lies between the makers of theatre and the controllers of the purse strings. It has the advantage of acknowledging the complexity of the situation while avoiding any accusation of political bias.

The author draws on archival reports and reviews, budgets, documented panel discussions and minutes of meetings. This is hardly riveting material on which to base a book, and in itself is not likely to produce a rollercoaster ride of a read.

However, Turnbull's genius lies in her ability to track the underlying shifts in culture and taste that structure the apparent objectivity of these facts and figures.

The resulting book is a cultural barometer that shows most vividly how attitudes to the arts change in accordance with cycles of financial boom and bust.'

Posted by Intellect at 13:29 (0) comments
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