Alexia Bartlett, Labour candidate for the Huntspill ward in the Somerset County Council election scheduled for May 2nd, has reacted angrily to today’s news that Somersets flagship theatre the Brewhouse is to close.
“When are those in positions of power going to acknowledge the importance of the arts? The 100% cuts to arts funding throughout the county, and now the closure of the Brewhouse, have made it clear to the electorate that artistic and creative expression have no place in 21st century Somerset. Never mind that theatre and writing has its roots in ancient Greece – the great country which established democracy. Never mind that performance extends back to Sanskrit cultures. Never mind the artistic expressions etched on Stone Age walls. Forget that theatre was witnessed years ago in the Passion plays of Christ. Hey, let’s just forget Shakespeare. Throughout life, art, writing, theatre, music,dance and all means of creativity have been fundamental to people’s emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical well-being. Artistic creativity is recognised medically as necessary for certain cases of recuperation. It is often a social activity, binding together communities and building skills of compromise and communication. And yes, it can be highly academic, requiring abilities of analysis, evaluation and articulation. I should know, I teach ‘A’ level Drama. My students are intelligent, responsive, reflective individuals who are passionate about the arts and theatre. I would hate them to infer that what they regard as important, is actually completely irrelevant to life. It’s not. Art underpins life, and has done for centuries.”