In the years to come, Ben Lawrence predicts an artistic revolution. In his latest piece for The Telegraph, Lawrence nails his colours to the mast, examining what he refers to as the “the primary duty of the arts in this country” in response to the global pandemic.
For want of sounding too “Pollyannaish”, Lawrence states that: “Above all, the arts should uplift us.” He considers the way in which the world has been nourished by the arts sector, even in a pandemic which serves to distance us in ways previously unimaginable. He cites the artistic renaissance which came about in the late Forties and early Fifties as indicative of the way we respond to crises in the past.
He considers that: “The cliché about the arts is that they should hold a mirror up to society. This is true, but right now they must do something very different in the short term.” As society changes, so too, must the way in which the arts respond to it, reasons Lawrence.
Lawrence too, defends the different range of artistic platforms seen across the country, citing theatre as one of the best ways to respond to the outbreak of Covid-19 with immediate effect. Slightly scathingly, he muses: “Playwrights must deliver the requisite fluff in the Covid aftermath (although aftermath may be too hasty a word) but they should also move and touch us.”
His conclusion is more a call to arms than the rest of his piece, he states: “Culture at its best is not a sideshow – it’s a life force.”