'Concrete Inferno' by The World Famous at the National Theatre's Watch This Space Festival, 2012.
Photographer: Ludovic des Cognets (c) National Theatre
It feels like there’s a big downer on cultural buildings at the moment. The notion of constructing something for culture that has walls and doors, and requires people to cross a threshold, is deeply unfashionable. Big capital projects, once a mainstay of British cultural development and the backbone of the national arts infrastructure, are no longer seen as the core element they once were. This seems to hold particularly true of buildings for the performing arts; with museums and galleries there is an acceptance that oil paintings and dinosaur bones and royal jewels need, at least, a roof to offer protection. But where there is a live interaction between audience and artist, where there is participatory involvement and where work is striving to be as accessible as possible, there is more ambiguity about the value, appeal or even necessity of a dedicated building.
To read or download the full provocation paper, click below.