Great news for those who missed the MIFF screenings of A Poor Theatre's brilliant film The Tragedy of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark. Malthouse Executive Producer Stephen Armstrong emails this morning to say: "Inspired by this work, and aware how hard it would be to get a commercial release, we decided to turn the Tower into a boutique screening lounge for two weeks". So it's on in March next year. And kudos to the Malthouse for some smart, imaginative programming.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Festival General Manager Vivia Hickman yesterday answered Age arts reporter Robin Usher's recent criticisms of festival programming in a swingeing defence in Arts Hub. "It is not the Festival's role to replicate what is on offer for the other 49 weeks of the year," says Hickman, "and that is not what we are asked to do."
Hickman isn't afraid of taking the battle into the enemy's camp. The money par:
It is completely appropriate that journalists like Robin Usher speculate about the nature of festival programming. As a major part of this city's cultural life the Festival warrants and welcomes such speculation. But is it appropriate however for a journalist to use the opinion pages of a major daily newspaper to suggest names, or rather to name one person for the role of Artistic Director? It seems misguided and intrusive to campaign for an individual in such a way, particularly when the Festival is just about to begin its recruitment process to fill that very role.
Good question. Perhaps Usher was keen to answer it when, as my spies tell me, he rang Arts Hub "within minutes" of the article appearing.