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Age and careers in the performing arts

by on August 26, 2014

This was going to be a post about the UK Government’s consultation (which closes this Friday 29 August) about proposed changes to the regulations governing the hours that child performers can work. But other performers whose stories have age-related interest popped up in the news too. So here are my highlights in this area:

  • According to this piece in The Telegraph the Government launched a review earlier this summer into child performers prompted by complaints following Hollie Steel’s tears on Britain’s Got Talent. The review looks at proposals for new safeguards to protect young performers in light of ‘new entertainment formats’ such as the TV talent show.
  • Details of the Government proposals are available here but broadly involve relaxing some of the limits on how long children can work, the timing and length of breaks, latest performance times etc. Interestingly these are very much determined by the child’s chronological age. The Telegraph here debates whether the West End theatre may benefit from these changes. It cites Andrew Lloyd Webber’s decision to debut his new show on Broadway rather than London as due to ‘Britain’s stringent rules on child performers require hiring three or even four actors for one role’ as a result of current regulations.
  • Last night’s Emmy Awards have been declared (as here in The Telegraph) as a ‘triumph for women of a certain age’ – which I think is code for women over 50. This is attributed to ‘a surge in the past couple of years of meaty small screen roles for highly respected – and in many cases, Oscar-winning – women of a certain age’ and the 2014 Emmys as their reward. Winners included Kathy Bates (66), Jessica Lange (65), Allison Janney (54) and Julia Margulies (48). Not sure that in the UK we can make the same claim about a surge in TV roles for women in this age group.
  • The BBC Today programme included a profile this morning (via this link) on Wizz Jones (aged 75), described as an ‘unsung guitar hero’ who modestly describes his biggest achievement as ‘survival’ and his relative lack of fame (beyond those in music industry) as a matter of personality.
  • And of course speculation mounts (eg as here in The Mirror) as Kate Bush (56) is due to give her first live stage performance tonight after 35 years. Will she still have ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ is)?

From → In the news

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