With The Fringe Festival just around the corner, every hour I am not in rehearsal, I have to work. We're talking 13/14 hour days, 5 days a week - half the day in the rehearsal room, the other half in the office or tutoring. Now, don't get me wrong, I feel lucky to be working and to be off to the Festival, I just wish there was more money appointed for the arts and those curating it.
I read, as I'm sure many of you did, that infuriating article in The Telegraph about cutting arts funding. 'Dickhead' McPherson is adamant that unfunded theatre companies will "work on their craft unpaid, in their spare time, while supporting themselves with day jobs as waiters or whatever". The supreme arrogance of this statement bewilders me! Now, before I go off on one - I'd just like to mention that I am fully aware that it's more than like that MePherson wrote this article with the sole intention of getting "lefties" pissed off... But it worked. so here we go.
First of all, McPherson clearly has NO FUCKING IDEA of the physical and mental toll that low-paid, manual work has on a person, or the very real effect such circumstances have on a person's drive and ambition. To even use the words "spare time" is a stinging insult! The time it takes to make a show & the sheer exhaustion of trying to survive on £7/hr are simply mountainous - "spare time" he says... It doesn't exist. What about those artists with families? those with commitments? Those whose time is valued not just by themsleves, but by others? Do they not deserve to be artists? is art just a pleasant pass-time for the semi-idle? I don't think it is...
I have a recommendation for McPherson; read Polly Toynbee's 'Hard Work' - it will inform you of the toils of living on a meager income and the effect it has on our ability to better ourselves. Then read her articles - they will teach you a thing or two about being a respectable journalist. You really need both.
But, all things considered, the bullet-to-the-back-of-the-head for me was that McPherson published this tripe while the Government's 'slaughterhouse' cuts are still ringing in our ears. How can a supposed theatre critic, a supposed supporter, add such an insult to such an injury? Exuent Magazine posted an excellent article, hinting at what must've happened behind closed doors at The Telegraph before they sent this bollocks to print, it's worth a read... and it's funny.