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SALFORD COUNCIL AND MANCHESTER FESTIVAL FUN
 

Star date: 29th October 2010 

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A JOURNALISTIC ENQUIRY IN SALFORD 

As we reported yesterday, Salford Council won't waive its business rates for Eccles Community Art Gallery but is spending thousands of pounds on funding a prestigious opera, The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, at The Lowry for the Manchester International Festival.

All the Salford Star wanted to know was how much the opera is costing Salford and whether the Council thought it was wise to sponsor the Manc Fest when it's about to make cuts to public services.

Dead simple questions? In yer dreams!

Click here to read what happened next…


Part 2 (see Part 1 Salford Council Arts Hypocrisy here...)

It was the beginning of October when Salford Star first discovered that Salford Council was co-commissioning a lavish production at The Lowry for the Manchester International Festival…

"the world premiere of a startling new piece for the stage: The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, a biography of the grandmother of performance art re-imagined by visionary director Robert Wilson."

…It's an opera. It's on for five nights at The Lowry next July, and tickets costing up to £39.50 went on sale from 1st October. The production, with a huge cast and creative team, is commissioned by Manchester International Festival and Teatro Real Madrid with Theater Basel, Art Basel, Holland Festival and Salford City Council.

We couldn't find any reference to this at all in Salford Council's events budget or any of its committee meetings. So we asked the Manchester International Festival how much Salford Council had put into the production. They referred us back to the Council.

Here's the subsequent e-mails between the Salford Star and Salford Council. Enjoy!

1st October:
Salford Star:
Just seen that the Council is sponsoring, yet again, the Manchester International Festival, yet this was never mentioned in any list of events that the Council reported that it was supporting this year.

Which Council committee meeting agreed to do this and the date please? How much is being given and for what event exactly? Does the Council think it is wise to sponsor the Manc Fest when it's about to make cuts to public services?

If I could have an answer by Christmas would be well appreciated (that's a joke by the way, please don't take it literally!)

4th October
Salford Council:
The festival is held biennially so the next one is in 2011. No decisions have been made on the council's involvement in next year's event.

Meanwhile an e-mail has arrived from Manchester International Festival with a quote from Festival Director Alex Poots…

 "It's great to be working with Salford City Council at such an exciting moment for the region. SCC are supporting MIF for a third Festival,  this time as co-commissioners of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic at The Lowry, one of the biggest shows for the 2011 event… We look forward to working with SCC on this production and on two large scale family-orientated commissions based in Salford which will be announced at our programme launch in March."

4th October
Salford Star:
[But] they announced it last week - with Salford City Council as one of the funders. If no decision has been made why are they announcing it? …just spoken to MIF and they've confirmed it. So I'll ask again...
 
Which Council committee meeting agreed to do this and the date please? How much is being given and for what event exactly? Does the Council think it is wise to sponsor the Manc Fest when it's about to make cuts to public services?...
Look forward to hearing from you - as soon as possible!

8th October
Salford Star:
Still had no reply re the Council's sponsorship of the Manc Fest - at this rate it will be over by the time someone from the Council decides to comment...
 
12th October 15:30
Salford Council:
Please see below a council comment in response to your query about the Manchester International Festival. I'm sorry in the delay in coming back to you on this but the line confirms our position.
 
Councillor Barry Warner
, Salford City Council's Lead Member for Culture and Leisure said: "The Council has been preparing for some years now to make sure that when the BBC finally moves to MediaCityUK, we continue to make the most of this opportunity to promote Salford and our facilities.  Commissioning a show at The Lowry for the public to enjoy as part of the Manchester International Festival provides us with a great link between the two.
 
"Our partnership with The Lowry makes it possible for us to offer world-class performances to the public and it's an opportunity for Salford to showcase its culture and tourism offerings. Details of the Salford programme for the festival or our events programme for 2011 have not yet been confirmed."
 
12th October 15:42
Salford Star:
Thanks for that at last - but it is absolute garbage. The event that "isn't confirmed" is actually being advertised with Salford Council's name all over it. And tickets are actually on sale, funnily enough.  
Is it possible for Cllr Warner to give us a response to this? By Christmas of course.
 
12th October 15:48
Salford Council:
We have confirmed that we are supporting the MIF event but the details of the full programme for Salford has not yet been confirmed.

12th October 15:55
Salford Star:
If you've confirmed that you are supporting the event at the Lowry then why has no-one answered my question - ie how much is it costing and at which meeting was it decided? 
If the Council isn't saying, then just give me a quote along the lines of... "We're not telling you"

12th October 16:13
Salford Council:
the full Salford programme has not been confirmed so I can't give you a definitive answer on the costs.
 
12th October 16:32
Salford Star:
The event, The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic at The Lowry has been co-commissioned by the Council. Please don't tell me that they don't know the costs? A non-definitive answer will do.

12th October 16:38
Salford Council:
If you're asking specifically about The Lowry show I'll have to look into it and come back to you.

12th October 16:49
Salford Star:
Yes please!!!

13th October 13:29
Salford Star:
Any joy?

13th October 13:46
Salford Council:
Regarding your query about costs for the commissioning of The Lowry show. I can't provide you with an answer to this as the commissioning process is not complete so it will not have been costed. I'm still awaiting an answer on your query about the committee meeting.

13th October 16:23
Salford Star:
Sorry, still find it hard to believe this - a show has been commissioned and tickets sold without knowing the cost? Even Salford Council can't be that useless can it? Or maybe it is…

And here the correspondence on this particular piece of Salford Council's accountability ended.

As a guide, the Council spent £110,000 on the Carlos Acosta(lottamoney) at The Lowry for the last Manchester International Festival (see here). It would be nice to know how much next year's Manc Fest is costing. But, a month on and we still haven't had any answers…

1) How much is Salford Council spending on The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic?
2) Who agreed to fund it and where is that decision on Council minutes?
3) Does the Council think it is wise to sponsor the Manc Fest when it's about to make cuts to public services?...


Coming soon… The Hazel Blears Rent On Langworthy Road e-mails…

See Part 1 of this article - Salford Council Arts Hypocrisy - click here

 


salford wrote
at 1:29:07 PM on Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Why do you always have to knock anything good the council does to present a decent image to the rest of the world? <<< So Salford looks good on the outside to all, while people/residents recieve sub standard services and pot holes all over the show. But hey at least you look good. Get a grip.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 2:44:14 PM on Friday, October 29, 2010
I was right in an earlier post, it is idiots day here at the Salford Star. Come on how does chucking our money at the MANCHESTER International Festival benefit the people of Salford? I wonder which PR firm mad manc works for? Please do not try to insult the people of this City by making out that the Salford Star is in some way at fault. All we want to know is why we, the people of Salford are paying for such a waste of time & space.
 
Jim Devine wrote
at 2:43:48 PM on Friday, October 29, 2010
Mad Manc "‘The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.’ At least the Star has the balls to do something, get off yer knees.
 
Stephen Kingston wrote
at 2:43:12 PM on Friday, October 29, 2010
Oi Manc (see below)...no-one's knocking anything. This about access to information on the use of public money - you know, things like accountability transparency, democracy and stuff - things that you obviously don't agree with. Dickhead.
 
mad manc wrote
at 1:47:19 PM on Friday, October 29, 2010
I suppose kingston and pivaro would rather put on some poxy pantomime at the lowry instead with pivaro as the villain (nothing new there) and Kingston as baron hard up. Why do you always have to knock anything good the council does to present a decent image to the rest of the world?
 
Mr Grumpy wrote
at 1:47:14 PM on Friday, October 29, 2010
How embarrassing for Salford press office they are pathetic, what are they paid for ? misinformation and vacillation .If the council does have to make cuts it should start with them lot of do nowts down there nobody would know they had gone.
 
Jim Devine wrote
at 12:11:31 PM on Friday, October 29, 2010
Alice is right, this does appear to be a form of theft. Ah well I suppose it gives work to local penguin suit manufacturers,mostly extra large aswell !!!!
 
Alice Searle wrote
at 8:17:57 AM on Friday, October 29, 2010
My question is 'which people in Salford can afford to buy a ticket?' This is an elitist performance and way out of the budget of the majority of people in Salford. When the Council make decisions to allocate such large amounts from the Council Tax, paid by the people of Salford, it should consider whether those people will be able to afford to attend. When this doesn't happen then it surely is a form of 'theft.' Also lets us have some accountability to the payers of the Council Tax. Remember the Council should work for the people it represents.
 
Salford Will wrote
at 5:02:22 AM on Friday, October 29, 2010
Another dodgy council deal no doubt...in the name of #promotion' of the city. But which city? Manchester?
 
Oxymoron? wrote
at 4:00:36 AM on Friday, October 29, 2010
Council intelligence??????? Maybe the question you should have asked is "how much money has been allocated so far for the event?"------------surely even Salford council would not put on an event that they did not know how much it was going to cost (ballpark figure)? With all the cuts and dodgy council spending, maybe insted of bringing Marina Abramovic to Salford they should try to get Roman Abramovich? Sorry-----I just could not resist that one.
 
Jim Devine wrote
at 4:00:05 AM on Friday, October 29, 2010
Dead right Nach, I have thought of a third but better not print it here. Not to answer simple questions is disgraceful and contemptuos. Well done The Star again.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 3:26:40 AM on Friday, October 29, 2010
And John Merry got upset when I questioned the intelligence of the Council. Either the Council think the people of Salford are a bunch of cretins or the Council are so stupid that they themselves do not know what is going on. Hang on I just thought of another; maybe both of the above are true.
 
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