By Alan Bennett
A suite of 4 Alan Bennett performs, with an advent via the writer which describes the history to their writing and function.
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Extra resources for Alan Bennett Plays 1: Forty Years On, Getting On, Habeas Corpus and Enjoy
Theatregoers with busy professional and social lives refuse to be put in this straitjacket of binding advance commitment, so theatres seek to please them with more options and customised choice, hoping they will be rewarded with audience loyalty. Performing arts organisations seek to reduce operating costs by trimming the budgets of new productions (sets, costumes, fees, royalties), but margins are small and very quickly 25 Resetting the Stage affect the essential artistic choices and determine the programming: productions with a smaller cast are imposed, titles with a certain name-recognition are favoured and those without it marginalised; adaptations of literary bestsellers and of well-known film scripts are prompted.
The key function in this context is that of the producer, who gathers the capital with the project idea and makes the most significant business decisions, as well as the artistic ones, in order to protect the investment and ensure its profitability. Artists working in commercial theatre – writers, actors, composers, directors, designers and musicians – are expected to respect this ultimate authority of the producer, who has chosen them and contracted them. Behind individual contracts – except those of the leading artists – are collective tariffs and rules, fixed in negotiations of venue owners and producers with various unions of performing arts professionals.
A financially strained public company tends to poach the commercial-theatre type of repertoire, or yields its stage to a commercial producer for a limited run in order to make some easy money. A minority leisure option All these interventions to close the subsidy versus cost gap in public theatre cannot remove some externally imposed structural factors, which modify the position of public theatre today. Theatre has become only one option in an immense range that consumers have at their disposal to fill their leisure time.