Royal Court Theatre & Vampires (a bite too far)

It seems new Artistic Directors always have to have a fresh and original new target audience. Seven or so years ago, Dominic Cooke was saying that he’d like to give theatre back to the middle classes. And before that there were plenty of attempts — such as Theatre Workshop — whose task had been to bring plays to the proletariat. Now Vicky Featherstone has found her prey… teenagers.

Why does the management of a theatre always have to bring in a new audience? Surely the only task of a theatre head is to commission good work and once that happens teenagers, common folk and the bourgeoisie will all come pouring in.

“Well it’s all good and well you saying that Mr. Brady, but have you thought for a second of the latent implications in what you’ve just said? What is this good work of yours, and how can it exist without an audience? Surely it makes sense to target a certain group if it means more of them will come to the theatre and experience it?”

Yes yes yes yes. All true. But look at the means by which they’re bringing the teenagers in, they’re putting on an adaption of a Vampire movie! That’s totally against the ethic of the Royal Court! It’s not new work! Where’s the new writing!? Come on! It’s what Britain does well! Films get enough airplay, they need no encouragement, and this one (Let the Right One In) has already had a Hollywood remake! Is that where the Royal Court is getting its artistic strategy from now? Los Angeles? What’s more, it’s a clear attempt to follow a fad, vampires are in at the moment, “let’s catch the Twilight crowd” that’s what they’re saying. That’s not what George Devine founded the theatre for, the Royal Court exists to buck trends, not be swept away by them.

“It might be good though.”

Oh pack it in.


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