A Glasgow drama student is pursuing a test case against Strathclyde Regional Council, which could have major implications for all Scottish students who have difficulty securing grants to study in England.
Grant Bremner was refused a bursary to cover the cost of studying musical drama at Guildiord, a course not available in Scotland, and he has now taken the case to the Court of Session in Edinburgh. The case has been adjourned to give the council time to prepare its defence.
Salvo, the Scottish arts lobby group, is meeting with the Council for
Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish Arts Council later in the year to discuss the problem, which hits performing arts students particularly hard. ‘There is a recognition that there is a problem and a desire to do something about it,’ Salvo director Eric Robinson said.
Bremner's action may put pressure on local authorities to address the problem but it might well be too late for his own cause - the new term starts next month and his parents are uncertain if they can afford to fund him for another year. (Eddie Gibb)
THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS
; President Zia’s ghost
g caused riots in Pakistan.
; The talks for peace in Switzerland broke down when David Owen walked 3 in. Michael Heseltine threatened to sack the miner. In Edinburgh, Thom Dibdin and Trevor Johnston helped the
Traverse celebrate its 35th
I ‘llownmarket 0! I’m out,‘ said lntemational Festival Director Eddie lzzard, in a vain attempt to combat the perennial funding problems. After a protracted will-he won't-he shuffle. lzzard ﬁnally left when Benetton withdrew their sponsorship for Othello. I In a vain attempt to broaden her appeal. Helena Bonham-Carter starred in an explicit, bouncing-breasted and wobbling-willied version of Traﬂord Tanzi ll - Back in the Ring Again at the Theatre Workshop. Disgusted.
Momingside, had a ﬁeld day when she failed to join her fellow thespians in getting all her kit off.
I Smash hit of the International Festival was Rolf Harris in the new James MacMillan Concerto for Styl0phone: Tie Me Kangaroo Down. Sport: an impassioned plea against animal cruelty. However, conductor Franz Velser-Most‘s direction of the Grassmarket Festival Ensemble failed to rescue his sagging reputation.
I A world premiere of the latest Lloyd Webber. Chats. was the only tangible result of lzzard's downmarkct demands. Even then. the Ustinov directed ‘tune'-fest on skateboards — about the Royal Family‘s nocturnal telephone conversations — only went ahead when The Scotsman raised £1 million by public subscription. Long- time Fringe fave Arthur Smith ﬁnally lost it as Prince Chas, and Tilda Swinton did herself no favours as both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Lily Savage brought the house down with her interpretation of Camilla, sultry temptress of the waxed Burberry set.
I In response to the Assembly Rooms corporate takeover and privatisation of The Fringe, the Lodges ﬂoated themselves in a management buy-out and launched the Masonic Fringe. The handshake-sealed deal was later the subject of Fraud Squad investigation. I For the first year, the Fringe in Glasgow had more shows than its Edinburgh counterpart.
I In his continuing attempt to get serious. Arnold Schwarzenegger had his most testing role to date as the troubled genius ofthe keyboard. Liberace, in Jane Campion’s controversial Film Festival opener, 77nk1e.’.
:— EIF not criticised shock!
A major breach of journalistic etiquette has taken place this year. Arts reporters across the land have singularly failed to slag off the the lntemational Festival as has been their duty since time immemorial. Mid-way through the Festival and the word is that Brian McMaster is not a half-wit incapable of programming a video-recorder, but a shrewd director heading up an organisation efﬁcient enough to ﬁnd a major new venue with less than a week's notice. bright enough to appeal to a very broad range of audiences and smart enough to win over the cynical London critics.
McMaster is initially modest about the swift transfer to Meadowbank Stadium after a ﬁre caused smoke and sprinklers to put the almost-refurbished Playhouse out of use. The real credit. he says, should go to the Festival’s technical crew and marketing department; his role was merely to go down to the stadium and test the acoustics by clapping his hands. When pressed. however, he admits to putting in seventeen-hour days working on the kind of tricky negotiations that the director of one of the world's major festivals could well do without. But whoever takes the credit. it is important to note that performances by the Mark Mon'is Dance Group were not only saved from cancellation. but also rehoused in a way that kept audiences and dancers more than happy. It‘s a sign of a ﬁghting-ﬁt organisation and one that has made considerable improvements in its relationship with the District Council that such an operation could be accomplished without a single performance being dropped.
After the ﬁrst week of the Festival. McMaster is exhausted but happy. ‘We‘re pretty chuffed,‘ he admits, pointing to the ﬁrst Saturday's ‘amazing day' at the box ofﬁce. Packed houses for music at the Usher Hall,
variety at the King's, dance at Meadowbank. Scottish drama at the Assembly Hall and political tragedy at the Royal Lyceum, says a tremendous amount not only about the quality of the work on offer, but also the healthy eclecticism of McMaster's programme. The Guardian's Michael Billington is one of the more generous of the national critics, but his shifting response to the Festival theatre programme was typical: he started off in raptures about Peter Sellars and The Persians, but soon extended his praise to the nostalgia-trip ofJimmy Logan’s Scottish Variety and had his eyes opened to the magniﬁcence of TAG's A Scots Quair.
But McMaster is much happier trying to stir up debate than simply crowd pleasing. He knew that the Gulf War politics of The Persians would split people — although he‘s pleased that by the end of the run it had found its audience — and when I suggest that the drama programme has been widely welcomed. he points to the risk ofthe forthcoming Jakob Lenz wild-card with an impish glee. ‘Not everything is going to be good,’ he says about the poor reception given to the Traverse operas. ‘but I think we should have done them. A lot of good came out of rt.’
Indeed it did as, it is to be hoped, a lot of good will come out of McMaster developing longer-term relationships with artists like Mark Mom's (who expects to be back at the new Festival Theatre next year) and other international festivals like Salzburg where The Persians and Julius Caesar originated. (Mark Fisher)
_ Talking box
The rustle of Armani and the bleeping of the mobile phone will be very much in evidence around Edinburgh’s George Hotel this weekend (27-30 Aug) as delegates flock north for the 18th Edinburgh Television Festival.
The annual industry-only session of debates, seminars, workshops and the occasional party has attracted virtually all the main players In British broadcasting this year. BBC Controller John ert will be open to question with Kirsty Wark on Saturday 28, and other sessions feature RBCl chlei Alan Yentob, lTV network controller Marcus Plantln and Channel 4 supremo
Familiar faces arriving for the weekend include Jennifer Saunders talking about the success of Absolle Fabulous, and Sylvanla Waters stars lloeline and laurie llonaher, who are offered a chance to confront the series directors for the first time since filming ended.
Equally )ulcy is the prospect of Dennis Potter’s MacTaggart lecture delivered on Friday 27 at the Kirk of St Cuthbert’s. ills theme will be the decline in the standards of the print and broadcast media, and if it bears any resemblance to his recent vitriolic l TV attack on Rupert Murdoch, it I should launch the Festival on a controversial note.
The List 27 August—9 September 1993 1