Aussie rallying call: Kick suits out of the arts

The 2014 Philip Parsons Memorial Lecture by Sydney theatre director Ralph Myers has been widely trailed for its attack on foreign conductors and its defence of the independent role of artistic directors. Myers’ main complaint is that general administrators are taking over as artistic directors – at least as far Australia is concerned. He wants to disqualify businessmen and MBAs from running festivals.

In one par:

Our theatre and dance companies, our festivals and orchestras are what we have left. We cannot surrender them to the markets. We can’t let the businesspeople and their managers take charge. They’ve got their hands on pretty much everything else in our lives, but we must fight to keep the dreamers in charge of the arts.

We find Myers’s argument weak and generalised,  but some consider it the most important challenge to the arts in Australia for years.

Read the full text here.

 

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  • Some important points there, but I think it a little simplistic to suggest that all businesspeople are evil. There are plenty of avaricious musicians out there who should know better and who cannot plead ignorance of the profession in their defence (I refer to a certain Beethoven festival that failed to pay its freelance orchestra and then hired another one for the following year, and to a certain recently locked-out orchestra whose former manager holds a PhD in musicology). But the principle that arts organisations should not be beholden to the principles of for-profits is an important one to proclaim and preserve.

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