Plea for Arches

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“When the neighbours asked if they’d be sad to leave, they lied and said yes.”

We wrote those words in April 2003 rehearsing our debut show. We had no track record, no funding, no previous body of work.

But then we found the Arches. Fast forward 11 years and we were back as part of the Commonwealth Games. The Arches isn’t just part of our network, it’s part of our DNA, the fabric that’s made and shaped us as artists.

We wouldn’t wish to pass comment on Police Scotland, or the arrests. We would, however, draw attention to the many incidents that happen under the influence throughout Glasgow any weekend and wonder why the Arches is the chosen target.

The decision to revoke their licence takes the breath away – and with it potentially extinguishes the voice of hundreds of voices within the arts sector.

Name another venue that would have the bravery to programme Nic Green’s Trilogy alongside Felix Da Housecat. Or has hosted The National Review of Live Art alongside Into The New Graduate work.

It’s introduced us to international artists such as Taylor Mac and had the audacity to programme alongside them upstarts like ourselves. Who else in Scotland would have commissioned Little Johnny’s Big Gay Adventure? It represents artistic intelligence and still encourages that we experiment. People make Glasgow. We would argue: Arches make artists.

Johnny McKnight

Artistic director

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