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We should Bragg about our arts; SQUARE EYES; Thinking outside the box with Nicola Methven & Mark Jefferies.

Byline: Nicola Methven & Mark Jefferies

LORD Melvyn Bragg has argued going to the theatre, cinema and concerts is important even in these troubled times.

The South Bank Show host said appreciating art, music, literature, comedy and drama helped cultures and communities express themselves creatively not destructively.

He said: "There are terrible things going on in this city and in this country. It would seem that at a time like this the arts are trivial something we should ignore in the greater pursuit of peace and harmony.

"But I don't think that's true at all."

Lord Bragg has unveiled nominees for this year's South Bank Sky Arts Awards, a show he hoped had helped make the arts less elitist.

He said: "We started, 40 years ago, with Paul McCartney and John Lennon and a Dennis Potter.

"We did Dizzee Rascal before anyone else. He got into music at school."

The nominees at this year's event, being held next month, include the late David Bowie for his final album Blackstar, the play Harry Potter and The Cursed Child and Phoebe Waller-Bridge's BBC3 comedy Fleabag. In TV drama, The Crown will again face competitio from Happy Valley and National Treasure.

Lord Bragg said: "The arts have never been so popular. You can't get into a theatre in this city.

"People want to see plays, and concerts of all sorts. They want to watch good television, listen to the radio. There's never, ever been a more important time to recognise what the arts mean to us."

He said despite Tory cuts to the NHS and public services, arts funding is a priority. He added: "You need to feed people's minds as well as mending their bodies."

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 7, 2017
Words:288
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