Oliver, DCMS Minister must go further than deleting his Tweet!


Yesterday at around 6pm the wife of Joe Biden, Jill Biden who is the First Lady of the United States posted a tweet with the following words

Beautiful and powerful program for G7 spouses today at the @minacktheatre. Thank you to Carrie Johnson and all those who helped put it together—especially all the local children who performed for us!

This was a lovely comment for her to make, particularly as a way of endorsing the important work carried out by the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno near Penzance, Cornwall, TR19 6JU which is run by The Minack Theatre Trust, charity No: 1166799.

Because the wife of Joe Biden is well followed on twitter and so is Minack Theatre there were a significant number of retweets including one from Minack Theatre and Carrie Johnson and a number of responses and understandably Minack Theatre retweeted some of them too. The following few are all able to be seen on the Minack twitter account. This one came an hour later from another theatre in Cornwall called Illayria that referred to both Minack and FLOTUS in their list of twitter accounts.

That’s our office today too! Glad you loved it as much as we do!!

And at about the same time the BBC Spotlight tweeted

‘Jill Biden gave me a big hug’ A group of children gave a special performance for the partners of the G7 leaders earlier

Another hour later and the American Embassy in London posted

With regional theaters & arts venues hit hard during the pandemic in both the USA & UK, it was great for @FLOTUS to see the revitalized @minacktheatre supporting its community,  highlighting #ClimateChange & encouraging #ClimateAction to heal our oceans & planet.

Then two hours later last night a chap called Tim Cooke who is called the Shakespeare CEO tweeted

Wonderful to see our #ShakespeareWeek partners with @ShakespeareBT @minacktheatre in both the limelight and sunlight today. Well done! #minack #cornwall #G7 #dcms @DCMS #uktheatre @zoe_minack

Soon after the Tim Cooke tweet there then came one from a Government Minister called Oliver Dowden who is the Secretary for DCMS and someone who should be in touch with twitter but more importantly he should know very well what his department is doing towards theatres. The tweet is visible above and he stated very clearly

Delighted that @Flotus and @carrielbjohnson were able to visit the stunning Minack Theatre. This unique venue was one of more than 650 theatres helped through Covid with support from the £2bn Culture Recovery Fund, ensuring that it can entertain visitors for years to come.

Now of course 650 theatres is a large number but a Minister would have access to a list of them and using a computer it would be relatively easy for the Minister to double check his instinct. Anyway soon after his tweet Minack Theatre made this very clear statement on their twitter account which still remains.

Sorry @OliverDowden, but this is not true. We did not benefit from any CRF money as we were not eligible to apply. It turned out having a good level of cash reserves meant we had to fend for ourselves and utilise our own reserves.

So at some point later Oliver Dowden deleted his tweet but so far he has not bothered to make any other public comments regarding this mistake. However he has written at least one other tweet albeit regarding the footballer who is injured. Perhaps we can expect a public statement from Oliver Dowden soon that apologises for his mistake and sets out what he can do to help places like Minack Theatre and the many other locations that did not benefit from the Culture Recovery Fund. As things currently stand the Minack response to Oliver Dowden has been liked by over 5,000 twitter accounts, retweeted by nearly 1,600 accounts and there have been over 130 comments made. Let us see how far this will need to go before Oliver comes up with a meaningful plan for Minack and all of the other non 650 theatres!

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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