HowMrBates putthetentinto tent-ertainment
SPIEGELtEntS – mirrored tents – have blossomed on the Fringe this year, vying in a kind of polite tented rivalry for the Fringe hordes. Over at Charlotte Square, the Edinburgh International Book Festival has been hosting its “Unbound” late-night free events in one.
the Assembly’s new Princes Street Gardens has a version, the newcomer in town, where the venue hosted The Scotsman’s Fringe First show yesterday. the atmosphere of intimacy and entertainment they create is catching.
the granddaddy of them all, however, is the Famous Spiegeltent of David Bates. He rented, ran and then bought the tent, nearly a century old, and took it to George Square, where it became an institution. He proudly relates that it is the one in which Marlene Dietrich herself sang.
Yesterday, Bates won the total theatre Award for his “significant contribution” to the Fringe. the Fringe chief executive Kath Mainland paid a personal tribute.
“this man has changed the face, not only of the Fringe, but of festivals in the UK and other places in the world,” she said, as “an artist motivated by much more than money”.
“As a theatrical producer and accomplished musician, David Bates is responsible for bringing many artists to the Fringe, including Meow Meow, Camille O’Sullivan and Ali MacGregor. He has played a significant role in the resurgence of circus, cabaret, burlesque, contemporary vaudeville and new variety.” tHE BBC has warned viewers that it “will lose established stars” as a result of a series of massive cuts.
And last night Director General Mark thompson flagged up that the corporation’s top brass will not be exempt from the axe with major job losses on the horizon.
Speaking at the Edinburgh International television Festival, Mr thompson said “top talent” pay will be reduced, adding: “Sometimes we will lose established stars as a result. when we do, we will replace them with new talent”.
the corporation recently lost two of its most high-profile stars, Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles, when they moved to ItV.
He also said the number of senior managers would be reduced by at least a fifth by the end of 2011 and the senior management payroll will fall by at least a quarter.
He said: “If we can go further, we will and we will look for reductions at every level in the organisation up to and including the Executive Board.”
the audience at the James Mactaggart Memorial Lecture were warned to expect “significant movement” on executive pay and told the next round of discussions with the government about the licence fee “will be a moment for realism”.
A large part of Mr thompson’s speech comprised a robust defence of the corporation and broadcasting in general, with Mr thompson hitting back at what he called “exaggerated claims about waste and inefficiency” aimed at the BBC.
the BBC has come under fire from both inside and outside the corporation in recent years.
It has been widely criticised for the large sums of licence fee money paid to its stars and top managers.
Staff are currently being balloted on whether to take strike action over plans to reform its pension scheme and its rivals
BBC chief Mark Thompson in Edinburgh yesterday