Phill Jupitus and Thom Tuck in Coalition. Inset: Councillor Robert Khan
Photos: IDIL SUKAN
Published: 25 May, 2012
by WILLIAM McLENNAN
YOU may ask yourself what the hit BBC music quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks and the man selected to fill the newest council post have in common.
The answer, of course, is actor and comedian Phill Jupitus.
Islington Labour councillor Robert Khan, who has been announced as the council arts champion, is also a budding playwright and his comedy Coalition, starring Jupitus, Thom Tuck and Jo Caulfield, is being prepared to hit Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer.
Councillor Khan seems to be well connected: the actor Diana Quick starred in a rehearsed reading of Coalition – about a fictional Lib Dem leader who sees his party freefall at the 2015 General Election – at Leicester Square Theatre earlier this year.
She became involved via Cllr Khan’s co-writer Tom Salinksy, whose partner is the comedian Deborah Francis-White.
Cllr Khan said his new role will be to promote the arts to a wider audience and provide a boost for businesses and resident in the borough.
He said: “The purpose of the role is to be an advocate for the arts in Islington, I think I’m right in saying we have the second biggest theatre scene outside the West End and it’s about asking what the council can do to help.
“It’s how can we remove the barriers to cultural advancement and how we can give disadvantaged kids a leg-up through the arts and creative industries.”
Thousands of cheap theatre tickets may soon be available for young people in Islington if plans to provide subsidised tickets go ahead.
The scheme would see a private sponsor footing some of the bill to make going to the theatre more affordable. The Old Vic in Waterloo runs a similar scheme and releases 10,000 subsidised tickets for under-25-year-olds each year.
Cllr Khan added: “A lot of people that go to the theatre tend to be a bit older and tickets can be really expensive, so it would be great if we could get younger people involved.”
He hopes to take the arts to a wider audience.
He said: “It’s for kids on the estates, people from disadvantaged communities – how can we use the arts to give them a leg-up.”