BSC Address

Monday, November 02, 2009

Sad news from the news

I heard today that Terry Grimley is leaving the Birmingham Post after many, many years as Arts Editor. This is a huge loss to the arts in the West Midlands. This once great newspaper, which had national status, is about to go weekly. There could hardly be a sadder tale told of how the mighty have fallen in Birmingham.

It's fair to say that without Terry Grimley - and Fred Norris at the Mail - the BSC could never have survived its formative years.

It's astonishing to think just what we were up against when we started. The Old Rep had been professionally dark for 20 years: we were not only unfunded but charged by the council to use the building, charged for our office in the theatre, charged for the lighting rig which was owned by the Guild. And then we had to fund the productions....! There were just two of us running the company - myself and the wonderful Karen Crouch, with a manual typewriter (and no computer for the first three years). Yet our first Christmas show brought 17,500 people to the theatre - and the first anniversay production of CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF was hailed as the finest show Birmingham had seen for a decade. Who was responsible for making sure the people of Birmingham knew about the BSC and the revived Old Rep? Terry and Fred. Without their support (sometimes their criticism) and above all, their attention to what was going on in Station Street, I cannot imagine how we would have survived the first year.

I hope that Terry enjoys the next stage of his journalistic career. I hope Birmingham will still be able to take advantage of his boundless enthusiasm and priceless knowledge of the arts both locally, nationally and internationally.

And good luck to Diane Parkes, who must now single handedly carry the flag for the arts through the Birmingham Mail.

Things change, and often for the better, but this is a very sad day for Birmingham.


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