Stars sign petition to save iconic theatre in W12
Well known stars of film and TV have joined the campaign to save the critically acclaimed Bush Theatre
Daniel Radcliffe, Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters have joined the campaign to save the Bush Theatre from a grant cut which threatens its future.
They are among more than 150 actors and directors publicly backing the tiny west London venue's fight against Arts Council England's proposal to reduce its funding by £180,000.
This represents a drop in funding of around 40per cent annually for the Bush Theatre, which is located on the corner of Shepherds Bush Green and Goldhawk Road.
The tiny 81-seat theatre has seen actors such as John Simm treading the boards last spring, while some of Britain's best-known playwrights, including Stephen Poliakoff and Conor McPherson, have premiered work here.
With two full-time members of staff dedicated to wading through the 1,500 unsolicited manuscripts the theatre receives every year, the Bush is one of the few theatres in the country where youngplaywrights can hope to see their writing reach the stage.
If the cut is implemented it would "seriously diminish" the Bush's capacity to do its work and serve audiences, the supporters say.
The importance of writers to the film world is acknowledged by figures such as Kevin Loader, the producer of Enduring Love and the forthcoming Brideshead Revisited.
The letter says: "If British plays and playwrights are to continue to be the envy of the world, they must be supported and championed in this country. London needs a small and properly funded new writing theatre dedicated to discovering new writers and producing new plays."
Simon Callow said: "To destroy [the Bush] like this is an act of wanton vandalism."
Jonathan Pryce added: "I can think of few theatres that have produced such consistently excellent shows as the Bush has."
The Arts Council plans to cut more than a fifth of bodies it funds while increasing grants to others to promote excellence and innovation.
Open Letter from Bush Theatre Supporters
We the undersigned, as supporters of The Bush Theatre, ask Arts Council England to reconsider their proposal to reduce funding to The Bush Theatre. The Bush is a unique and vital force in the development of new plays and playwrights in this country. For thirty-five years it has played a leading role in identifying new talent, developing new plays and producing new work that questions and defines contemporary Britain and our changing world. Last year, over a hundred thousand people saw a Bush production – that success is built upon The Bush Theatre's experienced support and nurturing of playwrights, actors and directors. If British plays and playwrights are to continue to be the envy of the world, they must be supported and championed in this country. London needs a small and properly funded new writing theatre dedicated to discovering new writers and producing new plays. We urge you to reconsider your commitment to playwrights, theatre practitioners and future audiences by allowing The Bush Theatre to thrive, not just survive.
Matthew Byam Shaw
Simon Callow CBE
Michael Codron CBE
Frances de la Tour
Sir Richard Eyre CBE
Sheila Hancock OBE
Philip Hedley CBE
Geraldine James OBE
Mike Leigh OBE
Sir Ian McKellen CH, CBE
Jonny Lee Miller
Rosemary Squire OBE
Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen
Julie Walters CBE
Tom Wilkinson OBE
Richard Wilson OBE
January 18, 2008