Artistic and cultural activity in Britain ranges
from the highest professional standards to a wide variety of amateur
is one of the leading world centers for drama, music, opera and dance. Other
cities are serve as centers of artistic excellence in
their regions. Some 650 professional arts festivals take place each year. The
Edinburgh International Festival is the largest of its kind in the world.
Britain has about 300 theatres intended for professional use, of which about
100 are in London,
including the Royal National Theatre. The Royal Shakespeare Company performs in
Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace, and in London. Sixty-four companies receive
subsidies from the Arts Councils. Contemporary British playwrights who have
received international recognition include Harold Pinter, Alan Ayckbourn, Caryl
Churchill and David Hare. The musicals of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, including
'Evita', 'Cats' and 'Phantom of the Opera', have
been highly successful in Britain,
New York and
around the world.
There is music for every taste in Britain
including opera, choral and classical orchestra's pieces, rock and pop, folk
and jazz, military and brass bands, acoustic and newly emerging musical
collaborations such as music theatre, music video, and music with live arts. In
musical composition, experimentation is in vogue, with composers mixing their
sources: medieval modes and minimalism, quotations from Wagner and from
Debussy, Indian melodies and African rhythms. Since the early 60s with the
emergence of the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and the Who, through the 70s with
Genesis, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and the 80s with Dire Straits and The
Police and punk pioneers like.
Britain's leading symphony orchestras include the London Philharmonic, the City
of Birmingham Symphony, and the Ulster and the
Royal Scottish Orchestras. There are also chamber orchestras such as the
English Chamber Orchestra and the Academy
of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
Opera is enjoying unprecedented audiences and
attention in the 90s due to performances on television as those directed by
Jonathan Miller and well publicised commercial recordings of the classics.
Royal Opera, Covent Gardens, and the English National Opera are the main London opera companies. Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland
have their own opera companies. Scottish Opera has regular seasons at the
Theatre Royal in Glasgow and tours mainly in Scotland and northern England. Welsh National Opera
presents seasons in Cardiff and other cities in England.
Audiences have a wide choice of dance in Britain
including classical ballet, African people Dance, physical theatre, jazz, new
dance and contemporary dance. The lion's share of Arts Council funding for
dance, about 90 per cent goes to support the Royal Ballet (housed with the
Royal Opera in Covent Garden), the Birmingham Royal Ballet, which tours widely
in Britain and overseas; English National Ballet, which performs in London and
regionally; Northern Ballet Theatre, based in Halifax which tours mostly in the
north of England; and Scottish Ballet based in Glasgow. Britain's leading contemporary dance company,
the Ballet Rambert is also subsidised by the Arts Council, as is the London
Contemporary Dance Theatre, which has regular seasons in London and tours. Adzido Pan African Dance
Ensemble is also supported and the KOSH, which combines, dance, theatre and
Recently, South Asian dance and African
People's dance have increased in popularity. Since the 70s and the introduction
of 'animators' (usually a professionally trained dance artist who provides a
range of dance activity within a specific locality) a greater public awareness
of dance is evident. As a result, six new national dance agencies were
established in Birmingham, Leeds, Leicester, London, Newcastle and Swindon to offer training, management support and
creative opportunities for artists. These agencies either
program and produce dance productions themselves or work closely in
partnerships with promoters.
British films, actors and the creative and
technical services, which support them, are acclaimed at international film
festivals. The industry also produces films for television. There are many well
known British performers, three of the best known being Sean Connery, Michael
Caine and Kenneth Branaugh.
There are about 2,500 museums and art galleries
in Britain. The major national museums, many of which are in London, have
world-famous artistic, archaeological, scientific and historical collections.
They include the British Museum, The Natural History Museum, the National
Gallery and the Tate Gallery. Many of Britain's great private houses (some open
to the public) are of prime architectural interest and also contain art