chapter  9
20 Pages

Programmes and Commissioning

Some examples of programmes and commissioned works have already been given in Part I of this book. The task here is to provide supplementary information about the nature of programmes, to document the changes which took place over the long nineteenth century and to raise a number of questions concerning the imperatives of programming and commissioning. It is important, for example, to establish who was ultimately responsible for the festival programmes and what issues drove decision-making. How did provincial festival programmes relate to those of similar London events? What factors were considered of overriding importance when planning a programme? Was box-office appeal considered to be the dominant force or were festival committees willing to take risks by promoting new works? Did a ‘classic’ festival repertoire emerge over the course of the century and, if so, did it obstruct the introduction of more contemporary styles? How sophisticated was the arrangement of individual items within a programme? Was any thought given to the overall balance of a programme or to its appropriate length? All these issues need to be considered in any discussion of festival programming.