Topic of the day – To Edinburgh or not to Edinburgh?

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a valued tradition amongst theatre enthusiasts. As we head further into the warmer months of the year, theatre companies, students and schools begin to hatch their plans for this year’s performances. However 2012 is not like every other year.

The Olympic Games is set to completely take over London during the summer. But with the Edinburgh Fringe so removed from the chaos that will descend upon London, will it really put off the usual suspects of attending this year’s festival? The Guardian reports that the Fringe have been proactive in preparing for this year’s festival – they have decided to bring forward the release of their brochure by two weeks and have already listed 15 shows, including big names such as Jimmy Carr, on their website to entice visitors. This summer an estimated 5 million visitors will descend on the UK for the Olympic Games. Today The Guardian has been asking: Is it worth performing at Edinburgh this year? The West End has already begun bracing itself for a tough summer. Andrew Lloyd Webber has said that the Olympics will cause a ‘theatre bloodbath’ this summer and he claimed that bookings have been 10% below their usual number.

What do you think? Will you be avoiding the Edinburgh festival this year? Or will the Olympics provide you with even more of a reason to head north? Let us know what you think.

If you are going this year, as a performer or a spectator, have you started to think about all the preparation? In Teaching Drama Summer 1 (out 2 April) we will be reviewing Mark Fisher’s The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide. Make sure to get your copy to read our verdict.

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Arts Council and BBC create new online arts channel

Arts Council England (ACE) in partnership with the BBC are to launch a new online arts channel called The Space. The channel will contain work from theatres across the UK. The project will run from 1 May until the end of October 2012.

The Space is described by ACE as ‘an experimental digital arts media service and commissioning programme that could help to transform the way people connect with, and experience, arts and culture.’

53 applicants were successful in applying to create original commissions for The Space. Some of the notable entries include Pilot Theatre Company, Blast Theory and Bristol Old Vic. Two entries which will capture this summer’s Shakespearean festivities are The Globe, who will be documenting their Globe to Globe festival and the Royal Shakespeare Company, who are creating World Shakespeare Festival TV to capture the highlights from this summer’s performances.

Chief executive of ACE, Alan Davey said: ‘The Space is one of our most significant interventions of recent years and I’m delighted to be able to announce such exciting and imaginative contributions from artists and organisations. It will inspire a great generosity of spirit among the participating organisations, with each of them committed to documenting and sharing the journey they all are taking together.’

The Space will be accessible across four different platforms; PCs, internet connected televisions, smart phones and tablets. The resources will also be made available through video on demand on Freeview.

The project has been developed to coincide with the London 2012 festival and the many celebrations happening around the UK this year, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games.  Roly Keating from the BBC said: ‘We believe we can make something really special happen to celebrate 2012’s unique summer of arts.’

To find out more about the participating applicants visit the Arts Council website. The Space ( will launch in May.

The Greenwich Playhouse to close in April

April 2012 will see The Greenwich Playhouse bring the final curtain down after more than 20 years of theatre performances.

The theatre, which opened in 1989, is set to close as the lease has not been renewed by the landlord. The buildings’ owners, Beds and Bars, have chosen to part ways with The Greenwich Playhouse  so to take advantage of the influx of tourists to the capital for this summers’ Olympic games.

The Greenwich Playhouse’s artistic director, Alice de Sousa, said: ‘It is regrettable that the theatre’s landlord who have benefitted for eleven years from generous revenue generated by the theatre’s substantial trade, should have their sights focused on such short term objectives as the Olympics.’

A spokesman for Bed and Bars said: ‘This lease has always had an end date of April 2012. We took the decision last year that we wanted to operate the space ourselves and be in control of what we owned.’

The close will also affect Galleon Theatre Company, who have been in residence at the Greenwich venue since 1995. The Greenwich Playhouse and Galleon theatre company are currently in discussions with the local council to find a new venue for their work which brings 15,000 visitors each year to Greenwich.

Alice de Sousa said: ‘The Greenwich Playhouse and Galleon Theatre Company have over two decades made an immeasurable contribution to our capital’s cultural infrastructure. The Greenwich Playhouse is one of London’s most established small scale theatres. The work shown at this critically acclaimed venue draws annually from all over the world and the immediate community many, many thousands of people. It has staged hundreds of high quality theatre productions which have entertained and created work for hundreds of thousands of people.’

The final production to be performed at The Greenwich Playhouse will be Galleon theatre company’s production of The Duchess of Malfi. 

For information on performance dates and tickets visit:
For information about the venue and its history visit: