HowMrBates put­thetentinto tent-er­tain­ment

The Scotsman - - News - Fes­ti­val Diary

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

Pic­ture: Getty

BBC chief Mark Thomp­son in Ed­in­burgh yes­ter­day

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