A truthful, personal and insightful exploration of the state of arts funding and carrying on in the face of adversity, by the renowned founder of Out of Joint.
One March morning, out of the blue, Max Stafford-Clark learned that the Arts Council had drastically cut their grant to his theatre company, Out of Joint, leaving it in danger of imminent collapse. Journal of the Plague Year is his account of what happened next, as he sets out to contest the cut, make the case for public funding of the arts, and continue producing the work for which he and his company are renowned.
Max's journal often takes on an autobiographical flavour, including the unexpectedly moving story of his two fathers, his surreal encounter with the New York theatre world, and the shocking details of what it is to suffer a massively debilitating stroke.
By turns funny, alarming and deeply personal, Journal of the Plague Year offers a fascinating exposé of the often Kafkaesque workings of arts subsidy in England, and the financial and artistic manoeuvrings which are a fact of life for every arts organisation today. It is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the state of our arts, from students to theatregoers, and from struggling arts workers right up to the Secretary of State for Culture.
To listen to Max Stafford-Clark discuss the book with the Royal Court Theatre's Literary Manager Christopher Campbell, click here.
To read an extract from the book on the Guardian's website, click here.
'Fascinating... reads like an unpublished work by Franz Kafka... both horrifying and startling'
'Eloquent... Combative, wry and stimulating throughout'
Max Stafford-Clark continues to be one of the most influential directors of his generation. He established Joint Stock in 1974, ran the Royal Court Theatre from 1979 to 1993, and then set up the extremely successful touring theatre company, Out of Joint, which he continues to run.