Academic journal article TheatreForum

Editor's Note

Academic journal article TheatreForum

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

Theatre Forum focuses on innovative performance and new plays from throughout the world. In the USA, however, such work is under threat. Increasingly, it seems, work from the past, using conventions developed to express the emotive life of another time, is crowding out new work that expresses, in newly created forms, the world as it is perceived today. Although timidity and lack of commitment are surely factors in a retreat from the experimental, this conservatism also results from economic circumstances.

While the 2004 budget of the National Endowment for the Arts increased slightly over 2003, the budgets of the state arts agencies are of greater importance to the arts. The combined budgets of these agencies in 2003 ($354 million) was three times that of the NEA. However, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, their budgets for 2004 have decreased 23% ($82 million). Thirty-six states have suffered serious reductions. California's budget, in particular, was cut from about $18 million to $1 million while the funds for Missouri, the only state worse off, were eliminated entirely. In reducing expenses, theatres are eliminating productions and laying off staff. The first productions to go are new plays and the first staff are those associated with new plays-directors of new play development, literary managers, and dramaturge.

Meanwhile, experimental work in other countries continues. In this issue we have an article about a production by the Iranian group Bazi. …

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