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Samuel West
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Samuel West posted a blog post

Does Culture Matter? Speech at the Association of British Orchestras fringe meeting, Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham Town Hall, 29th September 2014

Does Culture Matter?Speech at the Association of British Orchestras fringe meeting,Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham Town Hall, 29th September 2014Asked to prove the value of culture, I sometimes do a sneaky inversion. Imagine a world without it. Imagine throwing a switch which at a stroke removed all creativity from the world. No bedtime stories; no Wallace and Gromit, no soap operas – the writers that wrote them never got started. No comedy gigs, no orchestras (what would they play?…See More
Sep 29
Samuel West posted a blog post

Welcoming Sajid Javid, the new Culture Minister

Congratulations to Sajid Javid and good luck in the new job. I look forward to buying him a cup of tea and seeing him at lots of the UK’s brilliant cultural events. And I hope he'll forgive a few thoughts on what might lie ahead.Someone who’s come from the Treasury will understand how much the tiny fraction of our public spending invested in the arts does for the country, both here and internationally.  We’re one of the fastest growing and most successful sectors of the UK economy, punching…See More
Apr 9
Samuel West posted a blog post

My Theatre Matters: article in The Morning Star, 29th October 2013

     “In order correctly to define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life. “ TOLSTOY, What is Art? - translated Aylmer Maude.Where does theatre belong, in a healthy society? It’s one of the last great unmediated experiences - it’s not edited, or packaged, or spun. It allows children to stare. It allows adults to believe (or not).  Surely theatre shouldn’t just be a dream-palace, but a mirror; a…See More
Nov 2, 2013
Samuel West posted a blog post

This, at last, is naked: the Conservatives see culture as commodity.

A postscript was added on 6 May 2013.*****Maria Miller yesterday gave her maiden speech as Culture Secretary. The main thrust was this: that the arts must play their part in our economic recovery by proving their profitability. At first glance the speech seems encouraging, but look closer and it's impossible not to see it as a threat to cut arts funding further. Of…See More
Apr 25, 2013
Samuel West posted a blog post

Why Westminster Council cutting their arts budget is unpatriotic

Westminster Council today confirmed they are to cut all of of their £350 000 arts budget. This is a cruel, joyless decision. The Council wants to make cuts of £30m from an overall budget of £900m - that's about 3.3%. Even though Westminster's arts budget is tiny (only 0.04% of their total spending), most of those working in the arts wouldn't balk at a 3.3% cut; it’s their fair share, after all. But 100% represents unusual punishment. By making these and other cuts, Westminster will take over…See More
Jan 30, 2013
Samuel West posted a blog post

Writers, musicians, actors and artists from the North East ask Newcastle City Council to drop its 100% arts cut

A group of writers, musicians, actors and artists with strong connections to the North East today wrote an open letter to Newcastle City Council asking them to abandon plans to cut the city's arts budget by 100%.*****  As artists with strong connections to Newcastle and the North East we are extremely alarmed that in the context of the £418m capital development programme to stimulate the retail and leisure sector Newcastle City Council have proposed a 100% cut to their Arts budget which will…See More
Dec 17, 2012
Samuel West posted a blog post

Lee Hall: Guardian article about the 100% cut in Arts funding in Newcastle

Lee Hall has written a piece for the Guardian about the Newcastle cuts. The Arts pages reportedly found it too technical, so he asked me to post it here. *****Like most people connected with the Arts, I was stunned by Newcastle Council's announcement this week to cut the entire Arts budget for the City (£1.6m). It seemed a completely unnecessary draconian gesture, but in the context of the £90m deficit trumpeted by the Council, one wonders if it's inevitable no matter how strong the cultural…See More
Nov 24, 2012
Samuel West posted a blog post

Lee Hall letter about proposed Newcastle library closures

The writer Lee Hall has written an open letter to the leader of Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes, about the proposed closure of the majority of Newcastle's libraries. He is yet to receive a reply. Here's the letter: OPEN LETTER TO NICK FORBES, LEADER OF NEWCASTLE  CITY COUNCIL Dear Nick Forbes I am writing to urge you in the strongest possible terms to rethink the recently announced programme of library closures. I can see the council is in an invidious position. The Coalition's programme of…See More
Nov 20, 2012
Samuel West posted a blog post

Speech at Shift Happens, a conference organised by Pilot Theatre, Theatre Royal York, 5th July 2012

When I was artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, the first play I directed was The Romans in Britain.  I’d wanted to revive this for many reasons, but one was that the first line of the play is "Where the fuck are we?"It seemed like the right question to ask at the beginning of an artistic tenure.  I’ve been asking it ever since.  If we’re lucky enough to be in work as actors, or to be able to make work as directors, it’s a question which we should ask.So where the fuck are we?  Well, we’re…See More
Jul 10, 2012
Samuel West posted a blog post

Launch of The Arts Index, House of Commons, 5th December 2011

This is a speech I made to introduce the Arts Index, a publication from The National Campaign for the Arts, of which I'm a trustee.The Index is an annual health-check for the arts, compiled using figures from Arts and Business, Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council Northern Ireland, Creative Scotland and The Department for Culture, Media & Sport. We’re very grateful to them for their contributions.Thanks too to Don Foster MP for sponsoring the launch.A free summary of…See More
Dec 6, 2011
Tara Murtagh-Stewart commented on Samuel West's blog post Speech on arts cuts to the TUC’s March for the Alternative, London, 26th March 2011
"well said!  "
Mar 28, 2011
Samuel West posted a blog post

Speech on arts cuts to the TUC’s March for the Alternative, London, 26th March 2011

This is a speech I made at Hyde Park.  Some of the arguments may be familiar.  It was very last-minute and it had to be heavily cut - the TUC only allows speakers three minutes, and they're very strict! Speech to the TUC’s March for the Alternative,London, 26th March 2011 “I do not want art for a few, any more than I want education for a few, or freedom for a few.” William Morris said that. Early trade unionists were quite clear about how a 24-hour day should be divided: eight hours of work,…See More
Mar 27, 2011
sandra Munoz Alvarez left a comment for Samuel West
"Hello Sam, I was really moved by your speech at the York Garden Library. Have you seen the video I made for the library. I am a resident of the estate and my son and I are fervent users of the library so i really want to fight to save it. I took the…"
Feb 14, 2011
sandra Munoz Alvarez commented on Samuel West's blog post Speech against library closures, 5th February 2011
"Such a great speech, well done"
Feb 14, 2011
Samuel West posted a blog post

Speech against library closures, 5th February 2011

I wrote this in protest against plans to close the the York Gardens Public Library in Wandsworth. It was given at their Read-in on Saturday 5th February 2011. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.I grew up in Wandsworth, just up the road.  I learnt to read early, and I’ve loved it ever since. At school we had a little lending library, mostly full of old Puffins, where I took books out, and even occasionally was allowed to buy books of my very own from the age of seven or so (that was…See More
Feb 7, 2011
Louise Barrett left a comment for Samuel West
"hi there Sam, I wanted to say a massive thank you to you for coming to Somerset for the 'gathering' or protest...it meant sooo much to have someone who can get right in there with the media...thank you thank you x"
Nov 4, 2010

Samuel West's Blog

Does Culture Matter? Speech at the Association of British Orchestras fringe meeting, Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham Town Hall, 29th September 2014

Does Culture Matter?

Speech at the Association of British Orchestras fringe meeting,

Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham Town Hall, 29th September 2014

Asked to prove the value of culture, I sometimes do a sneaky inversion. Imagine a world without it. Imagine throwing a switch which at a stroke…

Continue

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 17:00

Welcoming Sajid Javid, the new Culture Minister

Congratulations to Sajid Javid and good luck in the new job. I look forward to buying him a cup of tea and seeing him at lots of the UK’s brilliant cultural events. And I hope he'll forgive a few thoughts on what might lie ahead.

Someone who’s come from the Treasury will understand how much the tiny fraction of our public spending invested in the arts does for the country, both here and internationally.  We’re one of the fastest growing and most successful sectors of the UK economy,…

Continue

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 17:00

My Theatre Matters: article in The Morning Star, 29th October 2013

     “In order correctly to define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life. “ TOLSTOY, What is Art? - translated Aylmer Maude.

Where does theatre belong, in a healthy society? It’s one of the last great unmediated experiences - it’s not edited, or packaged, or spun. It allows children to stare. It allows adults to believe (or not).  Surely theatre shouldn’t…

Continue

Posted on November 2, 2013 at 15:11

This, at last, is naked: the Conservatives see culture as commodity.

A postscript was added on 6 May 2013.

*****

Maria Miller yesterday gave her maiden speech as Culture Secretary. The main thrust was this: that the arts must play their part in our economic recovery by proving their profitability. 

At first glance the speech seems encouraging, but look closer and it's impossible not…

Continue

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 12:30

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At 14:49 on August 9, 2012, Sotia Teneh said…

Good day,                        
How is everything with you, I picked interest on you, after going through your short profile and deemed it necessary to write you immediately. I have something very vital to diclose to you, but I found it difficult to express myself here, since it's a public site.Could you please get back to me My E-mail address (sotia_teneh4@yahoo.co.th) for the full details. Have a nice day.
thanks                
Sotia Teneh.

At 17:47 on February 14, 2011, sandra Munoz Alvarez said…

Hello Sam, I was really moved by your speech at the York Garden Library. Have you seen the video I made for the library. I am a resident of the estate and my son and I are fervent users of the library so i really want to fight to save it. I took the initiative to interview local people in order to give them a voice.

you can see the video here:  http://www.sandramunozfolio.moonfruit.com/#/save-york-garden-library/4548085697

They might show the video at the council meeting on the 28th before the councellor vote. I hope it will change the mind of few of them if they have a heart. The little boy at the beginning and at the end of the long version is my little one and he loves his library very much.

Thanks again for a great speech.
At 23:38 on November 4, 2010, Louise Barrett said…
hi there Sam, I wanted to say a massive thank you to you for coming to Somerset for the 'gathering' or protest...it meant sooo much to have someone who can get right in there with the media...thank you thank you x
 
 
 

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