13 April 2017
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Time we got out more
The tablet calls itself “the international Catholic weekly”, and your Letters page usually reflects the breadth of your readership. Not so your arts coverage.
An analysis of your arts columns in the first quarter of this year reveals just one non-British visit, to an exhibition in Rome. You reviewed 44 other live events, one in Wales and 43 in England. Even worse – 38 reviews (86 per cent) are of London shows, with just five elsewhere.
With the sole exception of Laura Gascoigne (who has left the capital for four of her seven exhibitions), your writers seem to be suffering from a particularly virulent form of “capitalism”. Mark Lawson, your only theatre critic, managed once to get 68 miles up the M1 to Northampton, but covered 18 London shows. Apart from one review of Elgar in Manchester, it would seem that the only music and opera worth hearing is in the capital.
Might I suggest that you encourage your critics to get out a bit more? They will find that the arts are alive and well outside London. Or perhaps you should ask some of your widespread readers to send reviews to The Tablet.
I fear that you might not publish this letter – for I see that, in the same period, only 11 of 152 letters printed (7 per cent) are from correspondents in north-west England, with just one from Greater Manchester. Perhaps we don’t have the time to write to you – we’re all too busy enjoying our vibrant cultural life!
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