Эссе: Concerns about the future of the commercial play

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... But very often they don"t move any further than that. They die with the group doing them, and so there is no play left over to move forward. You might note, for instance, how few productions have been seen of even a show like Nicholas Nickelby. The play that you can take off the shelf and do, is actually not as much in evidence as it used to be. The second reason, possibly, is due to the fact that a lot of theatres are consigning the new writers to the studio end of the business-the low risk end. I would say that studio writing is fine and good, for very new writers. But for writers to survive they have got to come out of the greenhouse at some stage. One of the great benefits I had was to experience commercial pressures: to do more, that is, than just deliver a play. If you are always being sheltered by productions of, say, King Lear, assorted Agatha Christies and Alan Ayckbourn-we always tend to get bracketed together-then in truth, as a writer, you remain playing to small houses in small theatres, or to no houses in small theatres. As one regional director said to me, there"s a lot of very good work being done developing new writers in studio theatres but whoever saw a second production of most of these plays? A writer learns a lot from repetition of his work-at least he does if he is canny. The third, the most obvious but probably the biggest reason, is the shrinking budgets, the move away from government finance, the smaller amounts available for smaller theatres outside London where new dramatists, one hopes, are coming-a play is an expensive thing. It"s easy enough--comparatively easy anyway-to get a small scale production in a small theatre, but it"s that next stage, to play among the big league, that is getting tougher. At Scarborough we spend a lot of time encouraging new writers, but it is not really a matter of receiving a script and saying "this looks good" and just doing it. Often it"s a matter of recruiting and creating a working relationship with an individual who you have a hunch might write a play in five years. In my own case I was lucky enough. I was an actor looking to be a star, who happened to arrive in a theatre where there was one of the most remarkable men I"ve met-Stephen Joseph. ...