Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Get Thee to an Old Folks' Home

Nice article by Mark Lawson on possible signs that ageism in the arts may be on the wane...

I do wonder, though. I'll never forget the time I was teaching in a Glasgow comprehensive, not long out of college. I was twenty-three. We had cosy little individual staff rooms and the people in mine were a riot: swearers, drunkards, anti-establishment cynics who held parties in the school after hours - you know, you've seen them on Teachers. Well, I was telling them a story about some really stuffy people, and I described those people: straight-laced, tradition-bound, no sense of humour - well, what did I expect, they were all over thirty!

There was a gulping silence, and then everyone in the room said, 'Well, thanks!'

Well, of course I knew if I thought about it that they were all over thirty, but I didn't think of them as over thirty, for this reason: the image in my head of thirty-year-olds was pretty dire, and they simply didn't fit it. But such images are pretty hard to shift, and I do wonder sometimes what images are in the heads of the young people who seem increasingly nowadays to be running our arts organisations (and of course, in the theatre especially, funded to look for work by even younger people)...
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