Talking Moves bonus episode: Arts Funding in Crisis with Nicholas Hytner and Tarek Iskander

Talking Moves | 27 July 2023

In this special bonus episode, we talk to two artistic directors about the current funding crisis ravaging our arts sector.

Back in May, when the Greenwich Dance team was having funding applications repeatedly rejected, we were relieved to see renowned theatre director Nicholas Hytner‘s Guardian article “The arts in Britain are teetering on the brink. Here’s my plan to save them”. Here at last someone was talking about the dire situation the arts are in – just as importantly – coming up with ideas about how to do something about it.

And it turns out someone else had also been thinking constructively about arts funding models. Way back in 2020, Tarek Iskander, Artistic Director of Battersea Arts Centre, proposed a National Arts Service, using his experience of working in the NHS as a starting point.

As we begin to see a general election on the horizon and the possibility of a new government starts to feel possible, we invited them both to talk us through their intriguing provocations. We ask at this time, when we are emerging from a pandemic, suffering the effects of a cost of living crisis and dealing with the repercussions of Brexit, how do we inject more funding into the cracks appearing in the arts? And as we navigate our own precarious funding situation, we ask if not now – when?

Who's Who

Sir Nicholas Hytner. A white man with short grey hair and blue eyes. He is wearing a blue shirt.

Sir Nicholas Hytner

Nicholas Hytner is Co-Founder of the Bridge Theatre where he has directed Young Marx, Julius Caesar, Allelujah!, Alys, Always, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Ladies, Beat the Devil, A Christmas Carol, Bach & Sons, The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage, Straight Line Crazy, The Southbury Child and John Gabriel Borkman. From 2003 to 2015, he was Director of the National Theatre where his productions included Henry V, His Dark Materials, The History Boys, Stuff Happens, Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2, The Habit of Art, England People Very Nice, Much Ado About Nothing, One Man, Two Guvnors, Timon of Athens and Othello.

Musicals include Miss Saigon in the West End and on Broadway, 1989; Carousel at the National Theatre, 1992, and Lincoln Center Theatre, New York; and Sweet Smell of Success on Broadway, 2002.

Films include The Madness of King George and The Lady in the Van.

Television includes Talking Heads for the BBC.

Opera includes Handel’s Xerxes for English National Opera and Giulio Cesare for Paris Opera; Mozart’s Magic Flute for ENO and Cosi Fan Tutte at Glyndebourne; and Verdi’s Don Carlo for the ROH.
Tarek Iskander. A head and shoulders shot of a brown man with dark hair and a blue blazer and shirt

Tarek Iskander

Tarek is Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre.

Previous roles include Director for Theatre at Arts Council England and Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio.

Tarek was also one of the founders and Associate Artistic Director of the Yard Theatre in Hackney.

Prior to embarking on a career as a director and writer, he held a wide variety of senior management roles in the National Health Service.

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