Editorial: Back to the Future
From Planet 233

by Emily Trahair

In this issue, Ffion Jones questions the value of recent publicly funded theatre to celebrate the 70th anniversary of an NHS which is now so critically underfunded, and Mererid Hopwood takes a long view over four years of commemoration of the First World War. These features allude to a more widespread ‘anniversary industry’ whereby public funding for culture and heritage is commonly concentrated on a secular calendar of feast days for particular people or events, and from which the commercial sector can often make a buck. Whether programmes of events and activities to remember Dylan Thomas, Kyffin Williams, Roald Dahl, the NHS, the First World War or women’s suffrage; whether inspirational, fatuous (remember the Tesco poppy pizzas?), radical or reactionary, these activities have something meaningful to say about the society we live in. As do which anniversaries are deemed memorable, and which not.

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