The theme for this month’s issue of Actoring Magazine is Britain and the World. I chose this theme because it felt particularly relevant to East 15 and the politics of today. In a month, Britain will vote on whether it wants to remain part of the EU. It’s a huge decision, and one that doesn’t just have to do with laws and economics. It’s a decision that is making people consider and question how Britain connects with the rest of the world.
East 15 is very connected to this question. It is hailed as the “international drama school” – and so it is. As of next year, a quarter of the undergraduate student body will be made up of international students – all of whom would be very affected by a decision to leave.
Looking at it in another light, Britain’s influence on art is enormous and far reaching. Shakespeare has been translated into dozens of languages, and has been the inspiration for movies and plays such as West Side Story and The Lion King. Winnie-the-Pooh is read by almost every child, and David Bowie and The Beatles are favourites across the globe.
The rest of the world has also made an indelible impact on British culture. George Frideric Handel, one of Britain’s most famous composers, was German, but lived in Britain. So was Hans Holbein, now famous for painting Henry VIII. T.S. Eliot moved to Britain from America, and the man who created the Mini (a very British car!) was originally Greek!
So what would the art world today look like without Britain’s influence? What would Britain’s art world look like today if the rest of the world wasn’t allowed in?