National Theatre to cut back on productions after a pandemic slump
The National Theatre is cutting productions due to money troubles. Still struggling with the aftermath of Covid, the NT says it will “reduce activity levels in order to ensure financial stability” for the next three to four years.
Accounts show the theatre’s income for the year to March 2022 was £80.8 million, down from £100m pre-Covid. Audience levels were down by 20 per cent, while the theatre only staged 464 performances, around half as many as normal. During the pandemic, content went online on NT Live.
The Southbank based venue, inset, says it is struggling with the impact of inflation and energy costs too, as well as Arts Council funding cuts of nearly £1m a year. Some redundancies have been made. What would the National’s founding director, Sir Laurence Olivier, have thought?
Sorry is the British way
PR guru turned producer Matthew Freud won an Oscar for his first animated film last night. Instead of thanks, he made British apologies, saying “sorry to my children, my girlfriend and colleagues” for being absent during production. His sister Emma, who worked with her partner husband Richard Curtis on films like Notting Hill, was proud but a bit jealous: “We spend 32 years making films and no Oscars. He makes one and gets a ducking Oscar”.
Rishi stays away from his California pad
PM Rishi Sunak is in sun-soaked California for an international summit. He should feel at home there — Sunak’s property portfolio includes a sea-view penthouse worth £5 million-plus in Santa Monica, where he once planned to live with his wife Akshata. Even though he was a couple of hours down the coast in San Diego, we understand Sunak stayed elsewhere. Someone else will have to pick up the post.
Rupert claims he doesn’t watch Succession
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has claimed he doesn’t watch Succession, the series inspired by him and his family. It features Brian Cox as sweary Logan Roy, head of a backstabbing clan. In emails to a reporter from platform Semafor, Murdoch said he’d “never watched it”. It’s not clear if he was being serious: Murdoch also said Elon Musk was doing a good job running Twitter. The fourth and final season starts later this month.
Elton still rocks at the Oscars
Londoner’s Diary 13th March 2023
Elton John and comedian Tiffany Haddish were all smiles at the singer’s 31st Aids Foundation Oscars viewing party. Heidi Klum wore a yellow dress, perhaps inspired by Sesame Street, while designer Donatella Versace and Vogue China editor Margaret Zhang mingled with Sharon Osbourne and playwright Jeremy O. Harris. At the awards proper, activist Malala chatted to Rihanna, while her husband Asser watched on, intrigued.