SOS updates ~ theatre notes

Monday, May 25, 2009

SOS updates

Lately I've been getting emergency notices for a couple of cultural institutions close to my heart. As someone who gets around to quite a bit of theatre, it's hard to miss the importance of Victorian College of the Arts graduates for the cultural richness of Melbourne. They're everywhere, and they're a major reason our independent theatre scene is so interesting. The rumbles on the implications of the VCA's merger with the University of Melbourne have been gathering for some years now, but now it's hitting crisis point. This month, college staff have been saying straight out that the VCA is under threat, and a recent series of articles in the Age has been highlighting the alarm.

Full background, and links to more stories, are on the Save the VCA website. Read it. And then sign the petition.

Meanwhile, Salt Publishing has been sending out distress signals. Salt is my publisher, and so I have a certain personal interest; but beyond that, Salt, a press founded by Australian poet John Kinsella, has one of the broadest and most innovative lists of new writing in the English-speaking world, publishing poets, playwrights and prose writers available nowhere else. Among many other things, they have been intrumental in bringing Australian writing to a wider international readership. It would be nothing less than a tragedy for contemporary literature if it went under.

Last week Chris and Jen sent out a circular, in which they frankly asked for help.

As many of you will know, Jen and I have been struggling to keep Salt moving since June last year when the economic downturn began to affect our press. Our three year funding ends this year: we've £4,000 due from Arts Council England in a final payment, but cannot apply through Grants for the Arts for further funding for Salt's operations. Spring sales were down nearly 80% on the previous year, and despite April's much improved trading, the past twelve months has left us with a budget deficit of over £55,000. It's proving to be a very big hole and we're having to take some drastic measures to save our business.

Here's how you can help us to save Salt and all our work with hundreds of authors around the world.


1. Please buy just one book, right now. We don't mind from where, you can buy it from us or from Amazon, your local shop or megastore, online or offline. If you buy just one book now, you'll help to save Salt. Timing is absolutely everything here. We need cash now to stay afloat. If you love literature, help keep it alive. All it takes is just one book sale. Go to our online store and help us keep going.

So that's the message. Those of you who have unaccountably failed to purchase my book, the beautifully designed Theatre, can remedy their sins now. Or you could catch up on my previous collection, Attempts At Being. But if your library is already bursting with Croggon, there are hundreds of other very tempting options. British playwright Howard Barker's new book of poems, Sheer Detachment, and The Poems of Sidney West by Spanish poet Juan Gelman (described by Nobel prize winner José Saramago as "One of the greatest poets the world has today") immediately catch my eye. You can get the only collection of Daniel Keene plays published in English, Terminus and Other Plays. Or just browse Salt's excellent list of writers until something strikes a chord. Here's the Salt website. Go for it. Just do it now.


Geoffrey said...

I am now awaiting the arrival of "Theatre". I hope everyone gets behind this endeavour.

Alison Croggon said...

You're a champ, Geoffrey. In this case it's really true that every little bit helps.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... has it got pictures?

Paul Martin said...

And FWIW, I ordered Daniel's Terminus and Other Plays. No idea when I'll get the chance to get around to it, but it sounds like a good read.

Anonymous said...

Have just bought 'Theatre' - it looks like a great read. Thanks for letting us know about the plight of Salt.

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks! I do hope you enjoy it. (And it really is a very beautiful book to look at - a nice picture on the front, Anon, by the wonderful US artist Paul Cava, though being poems, the rest of the pictures will be in your head). Though don't forget the rest of the list. There are some amazing things in there!

Kate Foy said...

hope this helps. Sent out widely via my Friend Feed/Twitter etc.


Josh John said...

I bought Jamey Dunham's The Bible of Lost Pets out of curiosity. I hope this catches on, I'll spread the word!

Alison Croggon said...

As swine flu demonstrates, that viral stuff sure catches on. Thanks, and i hope it works!

TimT said...

Don't be distracted by their cunning marketing spin, everyone. Don't buy one book, buy two.

PS off to look at the authors now.