The Albany escapes major arts funding cuts

The Albany theatre in Deptford has been awarded funding from the Arts Council England which should help to secure its future for the next four years.

In total, more than 200 arts institutions across the country have lost central funding from Arts Council England for the period between 2012-2015. The Albany is one of the 695 organisations that successfully secured a grant, with an inflation-adjusted cut of only 2.9% over the period.

In BC's experience, The Albany is an outstanding venue that makes an important contribution to Deptford's cultural landscape and well-deserves its cash.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the story.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

With all the cuts at the moment,it just shows what a good job the Albany must be doing.

max said...

A bad day for Lou.

Anonymous said...

Tell that to all the Arts organisations whose funding is to be cut.

Lou Baker said...

@max

Well I do question why 'the arts' get any funding at all.

The stuff that is decent can survive commercially - the stuff that isn't can go and won't be missed by many.

The problem is that it's all so arbitrary - and I'd rather we spent our money healing the sick and teaching our kids than on some of the very niche and very pointless projects that we do at the moment.

Of course I have no problem with people who want those niche projects paying for them themselves.

Brockley Nick said...

Life is arbitrary, Lou.

And places like Albany do a decent job of teaching kids - unless you think kids only learn in school.

Lou Baker said...

@nick

Not at all. But why should dance be subsidised but not, say, ten pin bowling?

Or why should opera be subsidised but not Bon Jovi at the O2?

Why painting but not creative writing?

I don't for a minute think that kids only learn in school. Those kids who do only learn in school will likely end up with a lousy education.

But the arts only gets so much money because it has celebrity backers. Rich artists, rich actors, rich performers who whine over funding cuts. Yet none of these people have a problem taking hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of pounds at the system for themselves. Sad.

Brockley Nick said...

@Lou - why intervene in Libya and not Syria? Why build the ELL and not the WLL? Etc.

Because we have a democratic debate, elect leaders who weigh up the pros and cons and make decisions about funding and appoint experts who consider individual applications and judge what is worthwhile. Are some of those decisions "wrong" - in my view, yes. But so what. C'est la vie.

Why should the universe exist - why should there be something rather than nothing? And who is to say that something is better than nothing? Only intelligent life. And what do we know?

max said...

I must echo Nick, these are in part cuts to education, I actually know quite well one of the organisations that lost their funding, and their activity is in very large part educational, and excellent, nothing that a school can set up independently, so that's an opportunity for schools that's gone.

Lou, I can't understand your reasoning here.
Are you now saying that those benefitting from free market rates are helping themselves when they're doing well?
I never thought I heard this from you.
You also seem to say that their well off status should strip them of their right to speak in support less fortunate collagues?

James said...

The Albany gets 300k a year from Lewisham Council as has done for the last ten years. It has poor audience figures and very low attendance of its project it is highly subsidised by Lewisham at the cost of other very worthy venues who work without any support from Lewisham or the Arts Council. It recieves a lot revenue from busineses who rent office space and realy needs to look at what it offers Lewsiham per head rather that the local area of Deptford

Vesta Curry said...

@ Nick 20:15

Wow, you surely must have been at the same weed as me - talk about lateral and expansive. I dig it ...

Brockley Nick said...

@Vesta

All we are is dust in the wind, dude.

http://bit.ly/fLdCMD

harry said...

Lou, are you a Bon Jovi fan?

Lou Baker said...

@nick

Your theory is nice. But in practice most of us have no say in the 'democratic' process. In my experience Joan Ruddock is an unhelpful MP. I've written to her twice, have never had a reply. I've met her once - and she was rude to me. Yet my vote against her doesn't count. Because this is a safe Labour seat. She can do what she like with virtual impunity safe in the knowledge that as long as she's her party's candidate she is all but guaranteed her seat.

Around the country all but about 100 constituencies are the same. Yes, you can swap Labour for the Tories in some. For the Lib Dems in others. Some poor sods even have safe SNP seats - (I'd vote SNP if I could, I support Scottish independence - getting rid of that parasitic little country would make England richer). But across the country swathes of voters have no say at all in the so call democratic process. None.

I want arts funding cut to zero. Nothing. Nil. Zilch. Even on this leftist blog there are others that agree with me. We have no say in how our money is spent. We are just forced to hand it over and it is frittered away on countless meaningless projects.

So it is bad news that the Albany has got public funding. Because it means it can carry on doing things that are of limited interest to the community. It means it doesn't have to engage everyone as its revenue is secured. Very sad.

All the while the hard working entrepreneurs of Brockley have to ensure they keep focussed on what the public want - because these heroic wealth creators aren't able to rely on huge state handouts.

@harry
No.

mb said...

your response begs the question, are all entrepreneurs hard working or heroic and contributing to the collective good? Are they all creating wealth? Are all those on 'handouts' lazy?

Your betraying your simplistic pigeon holes again. Stop with the pigeons, it makes you look silly.

Brockley Nick said...

@Lou

When will people learn? Democracy doesn't work!

mb said...

...and Joan Ruddock being rude to you? I'd be interested to see how you approached her. If it's anything like the antagonistic tone you use here, I'm not surprised. Also, spending public money is not contingent on always meeting everyones needs or wants.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure cutting Lou Baker would be very popular...

Vesta Curry said...

@ Nick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XczJqembVto&NR=1

Lou Baker said...

@mb

Actually I was perfectly polite to Joan Ruddock when she was rude to me. Admittedly I am not perfectly polite to everyone - but I was to her.

And, no, not all entrepreneurs are hard working. But you do need a certain spark to set up and run a successful business - and if your business is successful you create wealth. As I've said before not all those on handouts are lazy - far from it. Many are the victims of a failed system. A system I'd like reformed but which you blindly defend.

@nick
No system of democracy is perfect but ours is badly flawed. And, no, AV would not be much better. At least if I were dictator things would get done .... Imagine ... you could be my press spokesman. MB could run the department of transport. We'd all be screwed.

Brockley Nick said...

I think the best argument against AV is that if the LibDems don't get it, it will be hilarious.

mb said...

Lou, glad to see you're modifying my argument along the lines I suggest. I don't think the system we have at the moment is flawless, never said it was. I spent 15 years in the private secotor for a company that has more awards for export than you can shake a stick at - I'm a wealth creator YOU use stuff I designed. It also wasted money and had some shockingly bad processes. It's still going strong and spending your money. There are failing organisations that survive in both the private and public realms. They should be looked at on their own merits not because they are inherently good/bad.

I worked for Metronet, believe me none of those share holders (Balfour Beaty, Atkins, Bombardier etc..) are doing too shabily even though they walked away leaving a big financial hole. In fact they are currently thriving.

Anonymous said...

All public spending locally = good news, according to this blog. But don't you ever stop to think, if money wasn't being wasted on say cultural junk, it could be spent on improvements to the built environment and transport, that seem to be central concerns on this blog.

As for teaching kids...what evidence do you have for that. I know local schools don't do a good job, so maybe the money should go there. Much easier to hop between equally smug seats on the fence and your high horse than address the bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

@Mb

You only prove the corrupting role of the state in market mechanisms. If any of these companies did not have the open cheque book of the state at their disposal, then methinks they might have had better financial systems in place.

And would a Central State Committee for Transport have allocated resources any more efficiently? If you want it done, slowly, very expensively, and with maximised inefficiently, call 118, and ask for the state, I say. You can't blame private companies for having snouts, its the state that fills the trough.

mb said...

The PPP contract (which was pants) was negotiated with the market through a tendering process. The market was not prepared to take the massive financial risk of essentially refurbishing a 150 year old tube system while it was still running so their losses were capped. They may have taken the risk but then the cost they would have charged for that risk would have been prohibative.

Sounds like your taklking about various governance safegaurds. I agree, but thats not unique to the state.

The state stopped filling the trough. Metronet went banrupt, they could have bailed them out. The market did it's work.

LOCOG is a state owned company. On time and on budget so far. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link was state funded, on time and on buget. It can work.

Brockley Nick said...

"All public spending locally = good news, according to this blog."

When have I ever said that or anything like it? I'm supportive of much of Lewisham Council's spending cuts programme and - for example - am comfortable with a cut in funding for libraries IF private or third-sector organisations can manage their running. Of course, most local public investment is welcome in that it has specific benefits to the local community. So when a new pavement is built or a road system is changed to stop people being killed so often, I point out and even applaud those benefits. I'm happy that a good local theatre avoids any threat of closure and I'm glad of a new swimming pool. Aren't you?

"But don't you ever stop to think, if money wasn't being wasted on say cultural junk,"

'Cultural junk' speaks volumes.

"it could be spent on improvements to the built environment and transport, that seem to be central concerns on this blog."

Transport is not a top priority, personally - I think Brockley is pretty well served already. I'd like CP to get more trains and a more accessible Brockley Station would be good, but otherwise, I don't often bang the drum for it. But in any case, none of that is locally funded.

Built environment, yes, that is something I think should be a priority and yes, when I have written about public spending priorities, I've made exactly that point.

"As for teaching kids...what evidence do you have for that."

Well, I've taken my children to events at The Albany that have been educational. That'll do for starters.

"I know local schools don't do a good job,"

Says who? The area has some very good schools by London standards - Myatt Garden, Haberdashers, Prendergast to give some examples.

"So maybe the money should go there."

Yes, I have had plenty of arguments with people on here who say that money spent in the state education system has been wasted. I think education should be a higher priority than the NHS, personally.

"Much easier to hop between equally smug seats on the fence"

What fences have I been sitting on? I thought you were complaining about all the firm opinions I've been expressing?

"and your high horse"

Which particular high horse is that?

"than address the bigger picture."

Bigger than local arts funding? Or bigger than arts funding for England? Or bigger than education? Or bigger than how to restructure the entire economy, as has been debated ad nauseum with George Hallam and others on several other threads?

What big picture am I missing that you can see from your high horse?

Anonymous said...

The Albany theatre should benefit from the re generation of Depftord so that should help attendance figures.

Lou Baker said...

@mb

Refurbishment of the tube has been a disaster. As you say many, if not most, of the companies involved in Metronet are thriving. Get the state involved in arranging contracts and it's a big f*** up. Believe me no private company would ever allow a sub-contractor to screw up so massively and get away with it scott free. The fact is that these companies should, at the very least, be banned from ever doing any public sector work ever again until they have repaid the losses, with interest.

I'm pretty sure the Channel Tunnel Rail Link wasn't delivered on budget. They had to go cap in hand to the government to ask for more.

These grand schemes - of which I'm a big supporter - need full state backing. And, yes, private contractors need to be involved. The problem is that too often the government takes all the risk and the private contractor gets fully paid regardless AND they have no risk on their part. That's just wrong.

@nick

The Lib Dems are in a pickle over AV - they really are. It is not a proportional voting system but, for them, it's better than what we have. I, for one, think it'll be a disaster. Most people won't understand it and it'll mean David Dimbleby will have no work on election nights as it'll take so bloody long to count the thing that we might not have a result for days.

mb said...

Lou, I was talking about HS1 the link to St Pancras. Which I believe was OK, the Channel Tunnel itself went wildly over buget. Although remember that was basically private, so again what does that prove?

One of the problems with rail is that its very specialised, there are actually not that many companies to choose from for the big contracts. They can fail on one contract and do briliantly on another. There was much bluster about never using Balfous/Atkins or Bombardier again...guess what? Metronet (a private company) let the contracts to their own shareholders. It failed. Tubelines let it's contracts on a more competative basis. It failed. Tubelines, before it finally shuffled off, was largly run by Bechtel. They are known for their delivery performace throughout the world. They failed. No one comes out of it looking especially brilliant.

By the way. I'm sitting in an office now (and working with) some of these private companies who are sub-contracting to other specialist companies. The same old problems are occuring. It's not just a public sector thing, it just isnt.

Lou Baker said...

No - but if they lose their shareholders money, I don't care. If through incompetence they screw up and go bust, I don't care.

If their incompetence costs taxpayers money (my money) I care. Surely that's not hard to understand?

The difference between all this is choice. If I encounter a private company which screws up I can stop having anything to do with that company and go elsewhere. That's my choice.

With state funded stuff it's not my choice. My money is consistently given to companies that have failed and I can't stop that happening. That's the point.

Mb said...

If you have a pension you should care. They're blue chip companies, your pension is probably partly invested in them.

Sometimes money is given to companies that don't fail. Like the DLR builders, Atkins and Balfour had a hand in them. Complicated isn't it?

Lou Baker said...

It's not complicated at all. Successful companies should be rewarded with more work, failures should not. Those who built the DLR extensions have done a good job and should get more work.

Those involved in Metronet did not and should not. And it should be constantly reviewed.

As for pensions - it's part of the risk I'm afraid. Decent providers spread the risk so one or two failures won't ruin your investment.

Mb said...

So we're agreed that a publicly funded, TfL sponsored project, the DLR, funded and audited by a public body can deliver good value for money? Who'd have thunk it? So was the ELL. Hell we're getting good at this.

Miss L said...

Working in the voluntary sector (in mental health) and having had several emails this week from people who were either working their last day today due to redundancies or worse still whose whole organisation was closing down, I find it hard to get excited about arts funding.

People seem to be more upset about some arts organisations losing their funding than they are of day centres for the elderly closing down and advocacy organisations for minority groups disappearing due to these cuts. I would like to see the arts get funding too but if it's a choice between keeping a day centre (or even a library!) open or keeping a theatre company running, the choice for me is easy.

Anonymous said...

Is this Tory Central?

Eh? said...

Tory central? Well some on here believe that the blog is a green/lefty propaganda machine, you think it's somewhere right of Sarah palin.

Don't confuse the open comments section with an editorial policy. The comments are the opinions of their authors.

Please support BC by clicking here when you shop with Amazon

Brockley Central Label Cloud