365 Days of Shakespeare

That's right – the Bard in a year.

163. Soap Box Moment.

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As many of you know, the Virginia Commission for the Arts is in real trouble. In short, if a certain bill passes, arts funding in Virginia will be decreased by 50%, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts will be completely gone by 2011.

What would this mean for the arts in Virginia?

Well, since we’re already struggling with budgets, it would mean even more trouble there. It’s fine to do a show without a set and with re-used or borrowed costumes (half the time that’s what we do anyway, and Shakespeare in particular rarely, if ever, requires a “real” set). But you still have to pay everyone who works on it. Will we still be able to afford to work with actors who are Equity? Will there be any opportunities for recent graduates? Is it possible that entire theatres may have to close their doors unless drastic, private funding comes through?

You see the problem here.

I’m way late in really talking about this on my blog, so please forgive that. The way I see it is that without art, we may as well be without culture. The arts help to define us as a people – they are how we express ourselves, how we express our reactions to the world. If this government is comfortable with eliminating culture in such a way, then I’m not sure how much I would want to live here. I cannot be without the arts.

“The object of art is to give life a shape.” That quote has apparently been attributed to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I couldn’t find it in my copy. Regardless of who said it or where it is from, it is incredibly true. I hope we can all remember it – the government included.

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Written by Caroline Mincks

March 13, 2010 at 12:49 PM

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