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BBC Radio 4 Front Row interview mac supporter Adrian Lester and Deborah Kermode

Fri 14 April 2017

mac supporter and acclaimed actor and director Adrian Lester joined mac CEO and Artistic Director Deborah Kermode on BBC Radio 4's Front Row (13/4/2017), to discuss recent city council cuts and the significance of arts centres in local communities.

Interviewed by Samira Ahmed, Adrian shared his memories of mac and the important part it has played in his career to date.

Adrian commented: [mac made] every difference, I am a product of the Midland’s Art Centre’s ethos of keeping an open door, making sure that young people can access the arts, no matter what their place in society. I remember coming home from school grabbing my skateboard dropping my books, getting down the road in about 10 minutes, and going to the arts centre. And if a room wasn’t booked, they gave me the key, I’d go in I’d have my sound system I could do some dancing, I could listen to people sing, I could watch puppetry, I got to stretch my muscles in an artistic vein, so many hours over my summer holidays. I got the confidence through the Midland’s Art Centre to audition to the Birmingham Youth Theatre, which I got into, we rehearsed there, we performed there. While we were there we could see touring companies for next to nothing. And without that building I would honestly, and I’m not just saying it because we are on the radio, but without that building I would not be doing the job that I’m doing now.’

Deborah added: ‘I think [mac] strongly resonates with so many young people, so many residents, 82% of the people who come through our doors of that million are local residents. And they use us every day. We are a safe haven, we’re warm, we’re open 364 days of the year. We’re open from 9 till 10, and we offer an opportunity for people to be creative and to challenge themselves, to think about themselves differently.’

The interview then focussed the impact of the recent 70% cut from the city council. Asked how this may impact on mac, Deborah said: ‘...it’s the talent development, because that’s the experimental work, that’s the process based work, that’s the work that takes a lot of care, a lot of resource and attention and we don’t want to do that. But there is no doubt we will have to look at that more experimental work.’

Ending on an optimistic note with reference to the future of mac, Deborah said: ‘I think you have just got to be really entrepreneurial, I don’t want to cut, I want to grow and so for us it’s very much about working together across different sectors, health and well-being is so vital to the arts as a really good example and we’ve just got to work smarter with different organisations and different partnerships.’

To hear the interview in full listen here, to read the interview in full download below.

For press enquiries contact Marcia Springer at marcia.springer@macbirmingham.co.uk or telephone 0121 446 3237.

[mac made] every difference, I am a product of the Midland’s Art Centre’s ethos of keeping an open door, making sure that young people can access the arts, no matter what their place in society...without that building I would honestly, and I’m not just saying it because we are on the radio, but without that building I would not be doing the job that I’m doing now.’

Adrian Lester

I think [mac] strongly resonates with so many young people, so many residents, 82% of the people who come through our doors of that million are local residents. And they use us every day. We are a safe haven, we’re warm, we’re open 364 days of the year. We’re open from 9 till 10, and we offer an opportunity for people to be creative and to challenge themselves, to think about themselves differently.’

Deborah Kermode, mac CEO and Artistic Director