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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  September 13, 2017 4:30am-5:01am BST

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there has been criticism over the slow response. the foreign secretary, borisjohnson, says an unprecedented uk aid effort is now under way. the united nations security council is to discuss the persecution of rohingya people in myanmar. almost 400,000 refugees have poured across the border into bangladesh since the end of august. the prime minister of bangladesh has called on myanmar to take them back. north korea has threatened the us with the "greatest pain" after new sanctions were imposed by the united nations. action came after pynogyang carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test. russia and china have called on the us to resolve the crisis with negotiations. now, as we've been reporting, one of the greatest names in british theatre has died. sir peter hall founded the royal shakespeare company in his 20s and went on to lead london's national theatre. he spoke to hardtalk‘s stephen sackur in 2009. my
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my guest today has been a hugely influential figure my guest today has been a hugely influentialfigure in my guest today has been a hugely influential figure in the my guest today has been a hugely influentialfigure in the performing a rts influentialfigure in the performing arts for more than 50 years. sir peter hall has directed stage greats from 0livier to gielgud. as boss of the royal shakespeare company then the royal shakespeare company then the national theatre, he's always championed state funding for the arts. but with economic hard times come tough questions, our taxpayer subsidies really necessary to foster creative excellence? sir peter hall, welcome to hardtalk.
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thank you. you have had a long career, more than 50 years in the theatre. you work through good times and bad times, what is the state of the theatre today do you think? well, first of all one must use the word subsidy and say, you know, with less subsidy things would be healthier. i've even heard that said from the right. the thing that worries me is if we stop subsidy next week, there's still a subsidy. there's a subsidy that the artists give. i don't think the public has any understanding whatsoever that although a few great stars may be jolly lucky and may earn a fortune, 90% of people that work in the theatre work for appalling money, absolutely appalling, and that i think is the chief worry about the state of the theatre at the moment.
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to be clear about this word subsidy, do you believe that in essence subsidies are bad for the theatre, that they can stifle creativity? no, i don't. i don't at all. one goes around in circles on these subjects. it's very clear to me that the only thing the theatre needs is enough money to have cheap seat prices. i think nick has proved that at the national theatre. nick higham, think nick has proved that at the nationaltheatre. nick higham, who we had on this programme talking about reducing ticket prices. it's worked. the young on saying we mustn't go there, it is arty, it is difficult, like going back to school, not at all. the place is packed with people with their £10 notes. that's progress. but if one looks at where the theatres are most packed, it's not in the sort of serious theatre that nick higham is doing, it's in the west end with the
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musicals, musicals which dominate the west end scene now. correction, the west end scene now. correction, the national theatre has been fa ntastically full the national theatre has been fantastically full on its £10 policy. i mean fantastically.” grant you it's been full but with all due respect, there is one national theatre but there are dozens and dozens of west end theatres which are full night after night churning out musicals, what one leading critic has called turning the west end into a virtual disneyland. i think that's a very good parallel, absolutely. well, i would be the last person to say we should stop anything in the theatre because by its convulsions it makes new work, new ideas. but if you actually think 50 years ago when i started, 55, whatever it was, there was no royal shakespeare company, there was no national theatre, there was no royal court, there was no don
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mark, there was the arts theatre in great newport street where in my early 20s i was trying to run a theatre and that was about the only thing that was in any sense dangerous or progressive. the fact that there is that kind of progress now i think is the chief reason to be pleased. the chief reason to be sad, and it's contradictory, because it always is with the theatre, really contradictory, is that... the subsidy is coming from the people who work in it. that does distress me very much. on getting the feeling you see a huge gulf between the subsidised sector and the straightforward commercial west end. straightforward commercial theatre does its musicals, it does very few of its plays or straight plays, it buys them from the subsidised
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sector. if you were... you are, let's face it, one of the most influential and best—known directors in the country, if you went to one of the producers, the owners of one of the producers, the owners of one of the producers, the owners of one of the biggest theatres in the west end and you said you know what, i really think i can do chekhov in a way that will draw in the punters, with a listen to you and put it on? no, no, no. they used to say," what do you want to do, come on, peter, what do you want to do? " that was then. now it's, who can you get? if they don't mind you can get a big hollywood star, they say, terrific, how old is he, 53, he get away with 30? stockert! how old is he, 53, he get away with 30 ? stockert! we're how old is he, 53, he get away with 30? stockert! we're not simply about attracting people through star values. i work each summer at bath and we do a season, we've done seven festival season is there because there i can do the players i want to do with the actors i want to work
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with. you did a play not so long ago, whose life is it anyway, and you drew in kim cattral, known throughout the world as the star of sex and the city. she's a very good actress. other producers that draw in hollywood actors would sayjust the same. that was not engineered in that sense. we met years ago, we we re that sense. we met years ago, we were trying to do streetcar, and for various reasons the rights went to other people and so on and so on so we ended up with whose life is it anyway, which he was very good at. are you saying most of the hollywood actors brought into celtic it's an berry good stage actors? no, i wouldn't be so silly. a lot of my friends would be very hurt. is it true because you are good on screen in the hollywood movie, does it translate easy to being good on stage? kim cattral is english actually, was born in liverpool, was trained at a drama school, can't
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remember which one in london, and is a stage actress. she had the misfortune to be a television star in this particular case and therefore you can make your point. i couldn't even tell you how long the list goes of people i've been asked to do plays with who i know have had no experience whatsoever of being on the stage. and i haven't done them. because you've had such a long career i can ask you this and i hope it doesn't sound insulting, but you spend so many decades, do you think it is right and proper to think that today's of theatre, and the way it works and we just talked about that, is not a patch on the way it used to be looking back to the nineteen sixties. michael billington, the guardian critic, talked of a golden age in the 19605 were the actors we re age in the 19605 were the actors were fine, the directors were more adventurous, the writers were at their peak, do you remember that
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golden age? indeed i do, that's when i founded the royal shakespeare company. do you accepted was? i think it was a golden age but is not as think it was a golden age but is not a5 golden a5 think it was a golden age but is not a5 golden as it is made out, i know it wasn't. i would like to go back to there because it's not... it's not as invigorating, it's not as 5trong not as invigorating, it's not as strong as things are now. what is good now is very very good and if we had any government policy which actually understood what the arts can mean to this country, it could explode in the most extraordinary way. this really isn't about government. yes it is. surely it's about names, peggy ashcroft and ralph richardson and ian mckellen. and judi dench. ralph richardson and ian mckellen. and judi dench. and john gielgud and all these people, and the writers, pinter and stoppard... most of them, god save them, were still here until a few weeks ago. my point is they we re a few weeks ago. my point is they were perhaps that their creative height in the late 605 and early 705
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and we don't seem to be generating a new generation of people are equivalent in stature.” new generation of people are equivalent in stature. i don't think that's true. wait a bit. there's some extraordinary people coming up. but they have to... a writer has to 5ay, but they have to... a writer has to say, ok, in orderto but they have to... a writer has to say, ok, in order to pay the mortgage i've got to write a television series, i hope to god they'll accept it. he has to do that before he writes his play. certainly if his play has more than three or four character5 he's going to have a terrible time getting it on at the moment, at the moment. but theatre's changing all the time, always has done. usually they say theatre's dying. i don't think it's dying at the moment, i actually think it's much healthier than many people hold out for. the areas that need looking at our seat prices. the general span and look of the audience. on the seat cri5i5, are you suggesting to
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me that as we see in the west end, seat prices that begin at £35, about $50, and go up to £75, £100 or even more. . . $50, and go up to £75, £100 or even more... it's quite likely that will kill the theatre a5 more... it's quite likely that will kill the theatre as we know it today. kill it? yes, it's very, very expensive. seats for two are £95. that's not an evening out, is it? that's not an evening out, is it? that's an investment! very dangerous. i'm interested you talk about writers who aren't so focused on the theatre because they feel they have to partly to earn money write the tv drama or whatever, but isn't the point that many young writers would see that television has more of a ridge and maybe has more to offer than the theatre? look at the case of pinter, he really started on radio and on television, particularly television. it was out of the plays that on television that emerged the extraordinary work that
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he 5ub5equently did in the mid— 605, late 605 and 705. he didn't turn his back on the theatre, he turned his back on the theatre, he turned his back on the theatre, he turned his back on television. the point is, would he do that if he were a young man today? i think he would, i think he would, but it depends on the young man. i tell you what, let's bring it closer to home, the family, you have a daughter, rebecca, who in the last year or two has reached a global audience by starring in some 5ucce55ful films, or co—starring, woody allen, she's done very well with him. she's also done fa ntastically well with him. she's also done fantastically well in fro5t nixon. she's making her name in film and not in theatre. you know why? she 5aid not in theatre. you know why? she said to me not a couple of years, three years ago, i realise that i actually live and work strongly in the theatre doing the things you wa nt to
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the theatre doing the things you want to do in the theatre you have to have the power that only the screen media can give you, and that's true. but it was also true in the sixties. what does she mean by the sixties. what does she mean by the power? i won't do this script u nless the power? i won't do this script unless i can have let x, i don't work with why, i don't like him, that's power, rather than just 5aying, 0k, that's power, rather than just 5aying, ok, i'll do what the producer tells me. are you sure it's about that, or maybe, you must talk to her about this, maybe in the end 5he to her about this, maybe in the end she feels there's a buzz, if i can put it that way, more in film, tv today than in the theatre. she doesn't, 5he today than in the theatre. she doesn't, she loves both and she enjoys both and she wants to have a life in the theatre, you know, which doesn't in anyway kill her film career, and it's very difficult to juggle career, and it's very difficult to juggle that these days. you speak of the magic word5
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juggle that these days. you speak of the magic words of ashcroft and richardson... my argument there is they stayed in the theatre and stay true to it? yes they were and they fitted in a film between plays. and occa5ionalfilm, which fitted in a film between plays. and occa5ional film, which didn't matter much to them because what mattered to them was the theatre and i'm arguing tho5e to them was the theatre and i'm arguing those sorts of actors don't exist any more. they do, ian mckellen, judi dench, patrick stewart. all of a sudden age if i may say so. yeah, peggy ashcroft was ofa may say so. yeah, peggy ashcroft was of a certain age! no, i don't think... my daughter wa nts to no, i don't think... my daughter wants to be a leading stage actre55 and she feels that to do that she has to be a leading film actress. and she is right. for a whole lot of reasons, box office attractivene55, obviously, sell more tickets if you are known. you also have... it is
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light and magnet. all of the actors gather around. in a good way. in order to feel there is kind of a community centred around one or two people. but rebecca wa5 community centred around one or two people. but rebecca was nine, eight, rising nine when she came with me on channel 4. and i knew then, i swear to god i knew then, that she was an actre55, not a child actre55. a child actre55 actre55, not a child actre55. a child actress is noble and 5plendid. but he or she does what you tell them. and what's interesting about a real actre55 when 5mall them. and what's interesting about a real actre55 when small is a kind of immediacy. at final point on rebecca. that is this word nepotism. you notice in theatre and awful lot of people who are in it and 5ucce55ful of people who are in it and successful in it have parent5 of people who are in it and successful in it have parents or other members of family who are also
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in it. if i may other members of family who are also in it. if! may say other members of family who are also in it. if i may say so, you didn't underline, and are successful in it. the theatre is a wonderfully loo5e, warm and loving community. if it is you are an actor and you want to come in, they will say here is the door, come in. if they hear that your dad is a famous director, they will open the door even wider. you only have to open it and then you come in. if you are no good, if you don't do it, you are kicked out and you will never be asked in again. sure the dobbie "given that you said you you want to see a greater range of people 5ucce55ful you you want to see a greater range of people successful in the business? the fact that it opened more easily for your daughter.m didn't open more easily. you can't 5ay didn't open more easily. you can't say that. how do you know that?” thought that was what you were implying. no, that is not true. i thought she would play... this was in mrs warren's profession, on a young girl who just finished her univer5ity young girl who just finished her university education, and it fitted her in all sorts of ways. i thought
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5he her in all sorts of ways. i thought she could do it, and i was right. if i had been wrong, she would have been wrecked. i perhap5 would have been wrecked. i perhap5 would have been able to stumble on. but she would not have been asked to do it again by anybody. let me talk theatrical politics with you for a short while. it seems to me you have had to amazingly challenging relationships in your career. 0ne had to amazingly challenging relationships in your career. one i would say was with laurence olivier when you took over from him at the national theatre. it was not easy. not at all. he was untouchable. he defined the theatrical tradition. he took over at a time when he expre55ed di5content over being pu5hed expre55ed di5content over being pushed aside. absolutely. how did you handle that? with extreme deference and care and delicacy, i hope. i tried. do deference and care and delicacy, i hope. itried. do you deference and care and delicacy, i hope. i tried. do you think you got it right. i think! got it hope. i tried. do you think you got it right. i think i got it as right as one could in those circumstances.
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there was not an enormous plu5 top. but he was not a well man —— bu5t up. he was not handled properly by the board of the national theatre. they thought that because he was ill it would be better not to tell him that he was going to be replaced until immediately it was going to happen. and that was wrong and 5tupid happen. and that was wrong and stupid and i said so at the time. before he died, did you come to an amicable relationship? yes, it wasn't warfare. i worked with him for two yea r5 wasn't warfare. i worked with him for two years at the national trying to persuade him to open the national theatre. he said he had elements of stalinist tendencies. he did. but he wa5 stalinist tendencies. he did. but he was two edged very much. the other relationship that fascinates me is yours with mrs thatcher. you've indicated you have never been happy with the way the politicians treated the arts and theatre. with mrs thatcher you have a poi5onou5 relationship. she referred to you as
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that awful man and wondered why her government kept giving you money. the quotation if i may get it absolutely right, was the minister for the arts and culture and sport, or whatever he was caught at the time, ican't or whatever he was caught at the time, i can't remember his name, arrived for a meeting after brea kfast arrived for a meeting after breakfast and she was listening to the today programme on upon which i wa5 cavorting and banging about, and 5he wa5 cavorting and banging about, and she said to the minister, i have been listening to peter wall, tell me when we can stop giving money to that awful man. this gets to the heart... you have defended that governments should support good theatre. they are mad not to. it gives them an element of political control. remember, the prime minister before last 5tood control. remember, the prime minister before last stood up and 5aid minister before last stood up and said that life would only be made good if we had education, education, education. i think that was rubbish and i5 education. i think that was rubbish and is rubbish. what we need is
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culture, culture, culture. in the widest sense. not everyone sitting and watching difficult play5 widest sense. not everyone sitting and watching difficult plays by some difficult greek, not at all. but what we need is that expansiveness. and if you see a group of children seeing a shakespeare way for the first time if it is properly done, it will change their apprehension of things. why bother with all of this? we had vladimir a5hkenazy on, excellent conductor and pianist, and he put up a passionate defence for the best music, beethoven, mozart, he said should be given to young people even if they have never been expo5ed people even if they have never been exposed to classical music because he said that is the best and i want them to be exposed to the best. he i5 them to be exposed to the best. he is absolutely right. in a dramatic work you insist young people should be exposed to shakespeare in its original form be exposed to shakespeare in its originalform with the be exposed to shakespeare in its original form with the first and the rhythm. of course. that is
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shakespeare. 0ther rhythm. of course. that is shakespeare. other things are not shakespeare. other things are not shakespeare which people rewrite and adapt. some people would be turned off by that. they will be turned off and then they won't want to go any more. what is the proportion of turnoffs and those who are interested ? turnoffs and those who are interested? you turnoffs and those who are interested ? you would turnoffs and those who are interested? you would like to give ita interested? you would like to give it a chance. you have worked with young people. do you find it easy to ta ke young people. do you find it easy to take young people who have never been exposed to shakespeare? yes, ye5, been exposed to shakespeare? yes, yes, yes, i do. i remember my first meeting with shakespeare, i was ten years old, meeting with shakespeare, i was ten yea r5 old, and meeting with shakespeare, i was ten years old, and we were in the basement of the grammar school i was at, where there was a tiny theatre about as big as this rostrum, and we put on hat5 about as big as this rostrum, and we put on hats and helmets and cloaks and we pulled out our 5words put on hats and helmets and cloaks and we pulled out our swords and we shouted macbeth at each other, and macbeth wa5 shouted macbeth at each other, and macbeth was about witchcraft and about darkness and about plots and murder and sex. and i was hooked on
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shakespeare at that moment and i have stayed that way ever since and iam not have stayed that way ever since and i am not ashamed of it. and i think everybody has a capacity. you are right, not specifically shakespeare. but when we use the word culture, it isa but when we use the word culture, it is a sneer in our language instead ofa is a sneer in our language instead of a celebration and that is dreadful. hooked on it, you say. you are still hooked on it. you are still directing. you are in your late 705. yes. are you addicted to it? yes. yes. i love thejob of being a director. and i suppose it is getting up to 300 now plays i have done. and there is still a big list. i won't get through it.” have done. and there is still a big list. i won't get through it. i am interested in this idea of addiction. you talk about adrenaline and it gives you a rush you can't find anywhere else. does it mean you are incapable of stopping at any point? i would be very miserable if i had to stop and if i had to stop it would because the world said you must stop, we don't want you any
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more. so far they haven't said that. but they will in the end. it happens to all of us shortly. even in this late stage of your career you are involved in a new theatre in kingston just involved in a new theatre in kingstonjust outside involved in a new theatre in kingston just outside london. involved in a new theatre in kingstonjust outside london. we began by talking about the economic climate. i wonder whether you are really confident. you have pulled out the rose theatre theatre, shakespeare's theatre, whether you believe one founded today can look forward to a really solid and bright future. i think it's future is no brighter than any other kind ofjob orany brighter than any other kind ofjob or any other kind of business. it is desperate. but there is a joke going around the profession, actors are saying, now everybody sees what it has been like for us, because they work for nothing. and they see everybody now reduced to the same kind of level. i don't know... addictions and... it is very hard when you have had... i mean, iam
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not at all saying i am like picasso. but i haven't been able to give up because i don't want to give up. and i don't carry on because i need the money. i don't carry on because i wa nt money. i don't carry on because i want fame or whatever that is, or notoriety. i mean, i have gone through many persona, as one does. i am sure you know only too well. and that's part of the process of actually having an obsession, which i think is the most blessed thing you can have, myself. when my children say to me what shall i do when i grow up? i am really worried. because i don't know what they should do. they have to find out what they should do. and i certainly don't say, well, come into the theatre. i certainly don't do that. i see the opposite. sir peter wall, we have to leave it there. but thank
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you very much for being on hardtalk. hi there. wet and windy weather will continue to push eastwards over the next few hours. we've already had some fairly lively gusts of wind around our most exposed coastal areas around england and wales. gusts of around 50mph or 60mph typically, and the met office has issued an amber weather warnings, strong winds expected to reach 75mph in places. the warning across parts of north wales, north england, lincolnshire and norfolk as well. this is the first named storm of the season, eileen, and the strongest winds will be on the southern flank of the storm as it works out into the north sea before those very, very strong winds batter the north—west of europe. it will be blowy to start the day across a swathe of north—east
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england, across yorkshire, lincolnshire and across into norkfolk as well. the wind gusts, given the trees have fallen leaf, will bring down branches and maybe knock down a few trees so the potential for localised transport disruption, maybe some power cuts as well. through the rest of the day it will stay pretty blustery nationwide with those north—westerly winds dragging in plenty of showers across scotland, northern ireland and across the north—west of both england and wales, but nowhere is immune from catching a downpour. some heavy and thundery at times, feeling quite cool across the north of the uk, temperatures up to 18 degrees in london but feeling a bit cooler than that given the strength of the wind. then as we go through wednesday night, there'll be further bands of showers pushing southwards across the country. temperatures dropping away despite the winds, we could still see lows getting down to single figures. then for thursday, we're looking at another unsettled day with further showers coming in on those strong north—westerly winds. given the north—westerly wind flow, the showers always more likely across the north and west of the uk. the fewest showers likely towards the south and east
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but again, nowhere immune. temperatures still disappointing for this stage of september. we're looking at highs ranging from 13 degrees in the north of scotland to around 18 degrees in the london area. will there be any improvements towards the end of the week and the weekend ? not really. high pressure builds to the west of the uk and thatjust sends more of a northerly wind flow down the uk. again plenty of showers, particularly flowing down the north sea, some of those could be heavy with some thunder mixed in at times. some chilly northerly winds feeding all the cloud in as well. now, we are approaching mid—september, is it too early for thermostat wars with your partner? well, maybe not. because on saturday we're looking at highs again reaching around 12 or 13 degrees, but cooler than that in the wind. even 17 in the south—east, there'll almost certainly be an autumnal chill in the air. that's your latest weather. this is bbc news, i'm david eades. our top stories: american, french and british military forces join recovery efforts after hurricane irma leaves tens of thousands homeless
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and millions without power. mynamar under pressure to protect civilians and allow 400,000 rohinghya refugees to return from bangladesh. and flying into syria, the russian military gives the media a rare tour into aleppo. we have a special report. in business, ten generations on. apple releases its anniversary iphone. it has better cameras, can do augmented reality and it recognises your face. but is it worth the wait? and also is it worth the high price?
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