Dame Harriet Walter

Actors Dame Harriet Walter of Killing Eve and Downton Abbey fame, and Stephen Boxer from The Crown, are amongst a group of high-profile arts professionals taking part in a major discussion about the survival of the industry in Oxford this week.

They will be joined by writer and stage director John Caird, artist and theatre designer Tom Piper, Juliette Fritsch, museum and cultural heritage professional and opera, film and TV director John La Bouchardière, and hosted by entertainment PR and branding guru Jim Hawker.

“The number of artists and creatives so far excluded from any packages or support amounts to over 3 million people”

Taking place this Thursday lunchtime, the free event is a partnership between Oxford Festival of the Arts and Magdalen College School and will explore the resilience of the creative sector in the UK and abroad this Thursday from 1-2 pm.

The elite panel preparing to discuss the future of the arts on Thursday

Subjects being tackled include what will the arts sector look like by the end of 2021, whether the Government is doing enough to support the sector, the impact on young talent, and if Netflix and Amazon are supporting the industry.

“I hope the panel will receive lots of questions and that we have an exciting discussion to revisit in the future”

Dr Michelle Castelletti, Director of Oxford Festival of the Arts told us: “I hope this event will open up the discussion about fixing the arts. The creative industry is very important to the economy as well as our health and wellbeing.

Juliette Fritsch

“Yet, the number of artists and creatives so far excluded from any packages or support – amounts to over 3 million people – many of whom are freelancers, the real backbone of the creative economy. 

“With proper support the creative industries will flourish once again, coming back even stronger”

“This is tragic on a personal level and for our industry which was growing four times the rate of the economy, contributed £116 billion in 2019, and created new jobs at three times the UK average, prior to the pandemic.”

On the other hand, Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed welcome new measures to support the creative industries, including £408M for museums, theatres and galleries to reopen. 

Tom Piper at OFA 2019

John La Bouchardière said: “Our sector has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with a large portion of our workforce falling through the cracks of government support. The British create more art than they consume: without flexible access to work and tour in the EU, the sector — and classical music in particular — will inevitably shrink.”

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, or as Michelle puts it: “The sector is resilient, creative and constantly adapting, not to mention the internal enrichment and health benefits it brings.

“With proper support the creative industries will flourish once again, coming back even stronger. I hope the panel will receive lots of questions and that we have an exciting discussion to revisit in the future.”

“How Resilient Is the Creative Industry?’ is taking place on Thursday March 11. It is free, open to all, and you can put questions to the panel. Register here: https://www.mcsoxford.org/supporting-mcs/events/creative-arts-virtual-event/

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