Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ken's Plan for World Capital of Culture; Leading Light: Kevin Spacey in Speed-the-Plow at the Old Vic. Today He Was Joining the Mayor to Speak about Arts Opportunities Leading Up to the Olympics High Art: Paris's Louvre Showtime: Broadway, New York Hi-Tech: Shanghai Loves Media Nightlife: Tokyo Has Most Bars

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ken's Plan for World Capital of Culture; Leading Light: Kevin Spacey in Speed-the-Plow at the Old Vic. Today He Was Joining the Mayor to Speak about Arts Opportunities Leading Up to the Olympics High Art: Paris's Louvre Showtime: Broadway, New York Hi-Tech: Shanghai Loves Media Nightlife: Tokyo Has Most Bars

Article excerpt

Byline: LOUISE JURY

LONDON'S international cultural dominance is confirmed today by a reportthat compares it with four rivals.

The capital emerges ahead of New York, Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai in the auditof the cities for everything from books to nightlife.

The report, prepared by the London Development Agency, came as Ken Livingstonewas today being joined by Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey and writerBonnie Greer to announce a raft of measures to boost culture in London.

Spacey was speaking out on the opportunities for the arts in the lead-up to theOlympics while Greer was explaining why she left New York for the biggercultural thrills of London.

Mr Livingstone was announcing practical measures to support the arts in thecapital, including a [pounds sterling]1.4 million fund to offer small to medium-size grants forarts bodies and protection for live music venues.

Today's report, LondonA Cultural Audit says the capital's vibrancy contributed strongly to itssuccess as the financial capital of Europe because it made people want to liveand work here. Other cities, including Paris, New York and Shanghai, hadnoticed London's buzz and were now struggling to compete, it added. JudithWoodward, the

Mayor's cultural adviser, said: "Clearly London is ahead but we can't rest onour laurels.

Paris, for example, is aware that it has fallen behind and [President Nicolas]Sarkozy and the Paris mayor have called for meetings with architects to see howto give it a boost.

We need to look at what new projects and developments we need to strengthen thecultural offer." She said the report implicitly made the case for privateinvestment in the arts, adding: "It shows how important culture is for thesuccess of the city as a whole." The audit also demonstrated the need forcontinued public support, describing London as a "city of museums"whereas museums are a relatively new phenomenon in Japan..

It said London could boast more than 100 theatre productions a week from theWest End to fringe venues and there were an estimated 32,000 musicalperformances a year, including at two of the biggest world venues, the O2 andWembley. …

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