Bringing Down the House by Olivia Turnbull has been reviewed for Platform by Eleanor Paremain


Olivia Turnbull's brilliant and timely study into the historical and contemporary fragility of the British theatre, Bringing Down the House: The Crisis in Britain's Regional Theatres, has been reviewed by Eleanor Paremain for the ejournal Platform.


Review Extract

In the aftermath of the December 2007 funding cuts by the Arts Council, Olivia
Turnbull’s Bringing Down the House: The Crisis in Britain’s Regional Theatres is a
well-timed investigation of public subsidy and how it has covertly shaped the national theatre landscape. Giving particular attention to regional theatre, Turnbull illustrates how competing demands and expectations from a number of directions have placed increasing pressure on regional theatres, resulting in many going dark for long periods or closing altogether. For example, she points out that in 1997, after eighteen years of Conservative rule - a period that she labels as ‘the crisis’ for the arts in general and regional theatre in particular - three quarters of provincial producing houses were facing imminent closure (13). Beyond the lamentable loss of these theatres themselves, Turnbull contends that the fabric of British theatre itself is at stake because regional theatre has traditionally been a ‘forum for new and experimental dramatic ideas, a touchstone for local community access, education and entertainment, and as a training ground and employment industry for a large part of the country’s theatre profession’ (14). Bringing Down the House will undoubtedly prove a valuable companion for not only the study of regional theatre, but also more broadly for the analysis of the arts and their relationship with the public sphere. (Eleanor Paremain – Platform)


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