A good friend of mine, who lives in Manchester, regularly complains about the London-centric bias of the UK's print media. I have to say that until now I hadn't taken his complaints all that seriously.
But now, having had the experience of opening a world premiere in a regional theatre, I have to say I can see his point. Press night was almost a week ago, and we are still waiting for the majority of the national reviews to come out. Whilst those we have had (The Stage and The Guardian) have been raves, a quick flick through the arts pages of the other broadsheets does indeed show a distinctly Southern bias. Even a fringe play which opened at the Kings Head after we did, and which 99.9% of the UK population won't ever come remotely near to seeing, seems to get more coverage. And that despite the critics mostly slagging it off!
It's not so much that we need the publicity to sell tickets up in Sheffield - word of mouth and some great local notices have ensured we've almost sold out already, and audiences are regularly standing at the end. It's more a question of respect for work that is easily of a London standard, but which due to its geographical location simply isn't given priority.
Come on arts editors - if you work for a national paper, your responsibility is to a national audience (and I don't mean that place on the South Bank.) I've long argued that the centre of gravity for new writing moved beyond London some time ago, and there are now several regional hubs of identical if not superior quality to a lot of the dross that passes for 'ground-breaking' on London's own tired stages. Do your homework, show that you know the landscape of your own industry, and start giving non-London shows the respect and column inches they deserve.
As it stands, you're in serious danger of looking embarrassingly out of touch.