Monday, December 14, 2009

Red Shift

Emma invited Nisha and myself for dinner last night, to meet some other friends of hers. They were Jonathan Holloway, and his wife Jane. Jonathan is AD of Red Shift. I first saw his work as long ago as 1983 (!), when he directed The Duchess of Malfi at the Edinburgh Fringe. It was a really important production for me then - formative in terms of my early voice as a director - so it's nice to be able to tell the director in person!

Much in common. Jane used to be General Manager of Opera Factory, so they know David Freeman, Susannah Self, Janis Kelly.... Jonathan is involved with Central and Middlesex.... It's kind of amazing we've not met before. It's particularly interesting to hear how he's fared with running a company over a quarter of a century. For a long time, Red Shift was an Arts Council RFO (regularly funded organisation), and was a client of the national office, running long tours on the small to medium scale. Then everything was devolved to the regions, and touring became far less of a priority. Jonathan decided he wanted to move into more specific forms of theatre anyway - and actually gave up RFO status as a pre-emptive strike against a likely cut. Now, like us, they rely on project grants and partnerships. Interestingly, he regards it as a liberation. Strange to hear when RFO status is regarded as your holy grail....

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