The cheek of them

As if it wasn’t bad enough that they are heavily subsidised already with Other Peoples money, Downstage is on the bludge again and being rude about it as well:

Cash-strapped Downstage Theatre wants Wellington ratepayers to provide a $90,000 bailout so it can continue to operate.

Wellington City Council will consider the funding request on Wednesday. If granted, it would allow New Zealand’s oldest professional theatre company to remain open until January – when $298,000 funding from Creative New Zealand falls due.

The council already provides Downstage with $33,000 a year.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the council must be convinced that Downstage could financially stand on its own two feet before any extra funding was approved.

“Downstage plays a critical role in the arts in Wellington… which means we have to look at this urgently,” she said.

Apparently expecting some value for your subsidy is “disrespectful”.

Downstage’s chief executive and director, Hilary Beaton, said it was “disrespectful” to term the funding request a bailout.

The theatre had trained generations of actors and had “greatly contributed to the cultural fabric of the city” which added weight to calls for extra council funding, she said.

“I don’t see it as a bailout. I see it as an investment in the future and a recognition of the past.”

Lucky it wasn’t me responding to them, then they would find out about disrespect. The council rightly wants some performance for their rate-payers dollars. But still the rudeness continues:

But chasing audiences with tacky populist shows was not on the agenda. “We are not suddenly going to do topless lap dancing or commercial British comedy. We are committed to our programme of presenting local crafted work.”

But there would be investigations to ensure there was a financially prudent split between putting on productions at Downstage and hiring it out as a venue.

Ms Beaton said negotiations were under way with several groups wanting to use the theatre. She declined to provide details.

When you have your hand out you most certainly do provide details. Arts bludging must be put at an end. Giving them money just encourages them.


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