(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 1/30.)
With a hard Brexit on the horizon, the arts world is working hard to strengthen its ties with Europe. Over recent years the two-way traffic between the UK and Europe has benefited all involved, not just through the sharing of different aesthetics and ways of working but through the joint exploration of questions about what theatre can be. The results have been invigorating.
But at a time when we need to look outwards not inwards, David Hare apparently thinks we need to keep those pesky European directors out and stop them from influencing British theatre culture. A news story in the Observer quoted from an interview in which the playwright claims: “we’re heading in Britain towards an over-aestheticised European theatre. We’ve got all these people called ‘theatre-makers’ – God help us, what a word! – coming in and doing director’s theatre, where you camp up classic plays and you cut them and prune them around.”
He continues: “all that directorial stuff that we’ve managed to keep over there on the continent is now coming over and beginning to infect our theatre. And of course if that’s what people want, fine. But I’ll feel less warmth towards the British theatre if that ‘state of the nation’ tradition goes.”
(Photo: Federation of Children’s Book Groups.)