he Parliamentary Select Committee for the Department of Culture Media
and Sport will be visiting Lichfield on Monday 21st February to visit
the new Lichfield Garrick Theatre. The Parliamentarians who will be
visiting include the Committee’s Chairman, The Rt Hon Sir Gerald Kaufman
MP, Frank Doran MP, Alan Keen MP, Chris Bryant MP, Rosemary McKenna MP
and Michael Fabricant MP who, as well as being the MP for Lichfield and
Burntwood, is also the senior Conservative MP on the Committee.
Michael Fabricant says: "As soon as the Committee decided it would
conduct an inquiry into ‘Arts Development in the Theatre’, I was
determined that the Committee should visit Lichfield. I am delighted
that I was able to persuade them to do so. The Lichfield Garrick is one
of the most innovative medium sized provincial theatres in the country,
thanks to the vision and encouragement of local councillors and the
artistic direction from Paul Everitt. Yet the Theatre receives little
funding from the Arts Council. I am concerned that the Arts Council
finds little room for new kids on the block and reserves the bulk of its
resources for more long-established theatres. That policy squeezes out
new entrants like the Garrick. I will be questioning the Arts Council
"Next Monday, fellow Committee Members will be questioning Paul Everitt,
Artistic Director, closely about the Lichfield Garrick’s policy for
performances and his plans to engage those who are not regular
theatre-goers. They will also want to hear from Councillor David Smith,
Leader of Lichfield District Council, whose vision it was to create the
Theatre against stiff opposition from some quarters. The Committee will
want David to outline the genesis of the Theatre and his long term
vision for its development."
As part of the inquiry, the Committee has already taken evidence from
London West End theatres and production companies and will be visiting
the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Back in London, they will also question Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State
for Culture Media and Sport.