To think that we have come to this… the very survival of our theatres is now at stake as the continuing Covid 19 pandemic saps the lifeblood out of so much that we hold dear.

I read in the Press about the fund-raising appeal by Malvern Theatres, something that must surely mark yet another grim milestone on a tragic journey that has already seen the closure of the Artrix at Bromsgrove

and a number of other theatres in peril across the Midlands.

I fear that there may yet be even more bad news to come before this dreadful pandemic is through with us. We therefore now have to ask ourselves how much we truly value an industry that directly, and indirectly,

brings great wealth, both financially and spiritually, to the Midlands.

But, where, I ask myself, are the people with the real money in all of this – the countless celebrity actors and music stars with the incalculable riches who got their first breaks in provincial theatres?

Where are the ageing millionaire rock stars now, the ones who so often in the past have banged on the tables and swore their heads off as they harangued politicians about their particular pet causes?

And where, too, are the big international players who have happily pocketed their fat fees in the provinces and then toddled off back to whatever second, third, or fourth home is appropriate for the time of


Neglected by national newspaper editors, virtually ignored by the taxpayer cash-bloated BBC, we are witnessing the slow, agonising death of the arts in this country.

The great 18th century writer Jonathan Swift memorably observed: “A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.”

Noble words indeed… and ones to which some people should most certainly pay heed.

John Phillpott,