Theatre in Education - Supporting theatre in education and recognising the importance of the art form in education are among a set of Europe-wide recommendations for policymakers to support the sector. The recommendations resulted from the European Theatre Forum 2023, which saw 200 representatives from the European theatre sector gather at JK Opole Theatre in Poland.
The event was organised by the European Commission with the aim of looking at how the sector can address key issues including mental health, the climate crisis and the potential impact of artificial intelligence. While they are primarily addressed to the European Commission, the guidelines are also aimed at national funders and policymakers. The European Theatre Forum included representatives from UK-based theatres in receipt of government funding, including the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh and the Young Vic in London.
Solidarity - Actors Imelda Staunton, Brian Cox and Rob Delaney were among those to speak at an Equity protest in London, which the union believes to be its largest-ever rally, in solidarity with actors’ strikes in America. The protest in solidarity with Equity’s sister union SAG-AFTRA took place at Leicester Square on 21 July and was attended by around 450 people. SAG-AFTRA is currently in negotiations with AMPTP - the engagers association for film and TV producers in the United States - and recently began strike action.
The union is seeking pay increases and improvements to working conditions, as well as looking to secure protections for its members against the potential impact of artificial intelligence and its use in the screen industries. Addressing those who turned up to the rally, Delaney referenced the impact previous strike action had in the past, including securing payments for creatives involved in films made in the 1930s and 1940s that were then shown on television in the 1950s. He added: "We’re going to withhold our labour and we’re going to win. We’re going to get our slice of the pie that we made up the friggin’ recipe for and wrote the cookbook for."
In a speech at the rally, Succession star Cox said that the idea of his image being manipulated by AI was "weird and a little bit scary". He added: "This is going to happen to everyone. Nobody is exempt from this. If you’re in a film or on a TV show, that’s when they’ll get you and that’s what we have to stop."
Actor Rakie Ayola also gave a speech, stating: "[Somebody actually said to me]: ‘Actors aren’t contributing to the economy in any effective way’. My response to that person was: ‘If you truly believe that, I hope you’re not one of the millions of people paying a monthly direct debit to a chosen streaming channel, because unless you’re only watching sport or factual television, you’re an idiot.’ The fact is, millions of people do believe that - even as they sit watching hours and hours of TV drama every single day."
Pedal Power - Bristol's College Green was turned into a pedal-powered outdoor cinema last weekend. The Cycle Cinema is part of Bristol's Summer Film Takeover - a programme of nine free film events presented by Bristol UNESCO City of Film (BUCF). Forty static bikes generated electricity, which helped power the event.
Farewell - Vince Hill, the singer best known for his 1967 hit Edelweiss, has died at the age of 89. Over a long career, Hill performed with singers including Tony Christie and Cilla Black and presented programmes on television and radio. Hill became a singer after winning a talent contest at 15, but also worked as a baker, truck driver and miner before finding success.
Singer and songwriter Raymond Froggatt has died aged 81. ‘Froggy, the Shropshire-based musician, had success in the 1960s providing top-ten hits for The Dave Clark Five and Cliff Richard. The performer "never lost his love for music" and continued to tour with his band in later life while writing and performing his own songs.
Tony Bennett was "singing at his piano" just days before he died, his representatives have revealed. The legendary New York pop and jazz singer died on Friday aged 96. A statement posted on his Twitter account said: "Tony left us today but he was still singing the other day at his piano and his last song was Because of You, his first #1 hit. Sir Elton John, Carole King and Hilary Clinton were among those paying tribute to the star on social media.
(Jim Evans)
25 July 2023

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