Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

Dame Judi Dench fears arts cash being lost to Olympics

Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi returns to the stage early next year

Dame Judi Dench has voiced fears that arts funding is being "siphoned off" to pay for the 2012 Olympics.

The 75-year-old said the state of the arts was "precarious", adding she was alarmed about "huge cuts".

In an interview with The Times, Dame Judi called for funding to be ring-fenced, saying she "mourned" the loss of a number of repertory companies.

The actress is due to appear on stage in Kingston next year in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Dame Judi said she was "doing my bit to keep [the theatre] open", adding she was "concerned that they've taken a lot of the subsidy to the arts away for the Olympics".

Film cuts

In April 2007, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced that the Arts Council England would lose out on more than £100m of its anticipated funding over the next four years to help pay for the London Olympics in 2012.

The move was criticised by Nicholas Hytner, director of London's National Theatre, who warned that cuts would lead to lower standards.

But Oscar-winner Dame Judi, who plays the role of M in the recent James Bond movies, said funding cuts did not stop at the theatre but had also impacted on British film-making.

The UK film council, which help funds British films, has seen its funding slashed by 15 percent.

"Things are not being greenlit as much and it is more difficult for people to get work," said the screen star.

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AFP via Yahoo! Judi Dench says Olympics taking money from arts - 30 hrs ago
Press Association Arts cash 'siphoned off' for Olympics - Dame Judi - 30 hrs ago Dame Judi attacks Olympic funding - PA - 34 hrs ago
The Scotsman Dame Judi attacks Olympic funding - 36 hrs ago

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