London’s Theatre Museum Gets A Boost From Its Musical Neighbour
Covent Garden’s Theatre Museum is the National Museum of the Performing Arts, a unique and special place. But it is currently under threat of closure. An urgent rescue bid is being considered by the Museum’s nearby neighbour, the Royal Opera House. Success in this venture is not only essential for the greater good of both parties, but also offers encouragement to those who see that to survive the arts must work together.
The national Theatre Museum in Covent Garden has been under serious threat for a while now. If anything, my conviction – shared, of course, by many others – that this would be a disaster, grows by the day.
But it seems that a way may now be found to put things right. The Museum Theatre’s nearest neighbour, the Royal Opera House, is looking to see if it can take over the running of the Museum, before it is closed and its contents get mothballed in the V & A in South Kensington.
Performing arts working together
We must hope this ‘rescue bid’ between close neighbours, and in a fantastic setting, is successful. Not only does it make huge sense in terms of synergy in a given locality – with perhaps the greater push towards full use of this unique set of resources which could follow – but it is also a story which needs to be shared, with a big message… Together the arts, and especially the performing arts, can flourish. Set apart, this isn’t so easy.
It’s a lesson we almost learnt the hard way in Liverpool’s Hope Street a decade ago, when we had to lauch the CAMPAM slogan – Once lost, we will not get it back! CAMPAM was the Campaign to Promote the Arts on Merseyside. In the early 1990s we fought and won a long and weary battle to make sure that Liverpool didn’t lose its Everyman and Playhouse Theatres, or indeed the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
History doesn’t need to repeat itself. The Theatre Museum and the Royal Opera House, side by side in Covent Garden, were surely made for each other. I really hope the matchmaking drama we now see before us has a happy ending, soon.
The Theatre Museum, London
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