Call to make arts free for week a year

Report calls for all arts to be free for one week a year

Publicly funded arts companies should perform for free for one week every year, a new Government backed report has urged.

To include everything from the Royal Opera House to community theatres, culture secretary James Purnell has supported the proposal writing in its forward, ‘This review will mark a real shift in how we view and talk about the arts in this country.’

In his recommendations, report author Sir Brian McMaster, former director of the Edinburgh International Festival states, ‘One of the biggest barriers to audience engagement is the notion held by many that the arts are simply not for them.’ He adds, ‘To help overcome this and building on the experience of free admission to museums and galleries, all admission prices should be removed from publicly funded cultural organisations for one week.’

The proposal was not without opposition though, as it follows almost 200 organisations losing their Arts Councils subsidies due to lack of funding, leading the Conservatives to label the Government’s arts policies ‘inconsistent.’

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