An important point to note is that these subsidies are granted only if the theatre fulfils a legal requirement that the theatre provide a public service. This public service can take many forms and is often called Social Action (it's what we in Australia would call Community Theatre). The same goes for National Theatres.This is an example of what I mean by community involvement. The other aspect, and perhaps the more important aspect, is being aware of what a community "needs." Which means embeddedness...
There are many kinds of Social Action, ranging from actors and directors running workshops or performing plays in prisons and in hospitals, working with handicapped people, running classes and performing in schools and workplaces and running workshops for specific groups such as new immigrants, the unemployed, single parents, retired people, etc. All of this is offered to the people involved at no cost to them.
What all of this means, of course, is that theatre is obliged to participate in and contribute to the wider social, cultural and political life of the community in which it exists. This is not seen by the theatres as any kind of burden, but as an essential part of the theatre's work; in fact, it is considered one of the fundamental reasons why the theatre exists at all. In France, theatre is considered and has always been considered to be a central part of the social, cultural and political life of its community. What is most important is that the community understand that the theatre belongs to them: it exists for their benefit, to help express their concerns, to celebrate their lives and their culture and, ultimately, to defend and maintain
their right to free and open public expression.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Addendum to Model -- Part 1
Thank you, Alison, for this quotation from Australian playwright Daniel Keene, who, in his graduation address to the Swinburne University of Technology's Small Companies and Community Theatre Course, said about the theatres in France that receive public funds:
Posted by Scott Walters at 9:09 PM