Festival of the Arts

Oral Answers to Questions — Commonwealth Relations – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 1964.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton 12:00 am, 30th January 1964

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what Commonwealth countries are participating in the projected Commonwealth Art Exhibition in this country.

Photo of Mr Richard Hornby Mr Richard Hornby , Tonbridge

I understand that the Question refers to the Commonwealth Festival of the Arts, which is planned for 1965. Invitations to participate in this Festival are issued by the Commonwealth Arts Festival Society whose Director-General, Mr. Ian Hunter, will shortly begin a tour of the overseas Commonwealth to discuss contributions. Until this tour has been completed, the Society will not be able to say definitely which countries will take part.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton

May I ask whether all countries in the Commonwealth are being invited to give exhibits? Is our own financial assistance confined to £80,000, or are the Government prepared to go beyond that sum if necessary?

Photo of Mr Richard Hornby Mr Richard Hornby , Tonbridge

The participants cannot be known until this tour by the Director-General has been completed. All Commonwealth countries through their High Commissioners here have been invited to the Festival. The British Government have promised a guarantee against loss of £80,000, and in addition have given £2,000 towards the preliminary expenses of the Festival. The British Government warmly support the proposal to hold this Festival.

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

In view of the fact that this proposal is highly imaginative and desirable and that a great number of local authorities who intend to participate will help to finance it with quite considerable sums, may I ask whether, if it be successful—as we all hope—it will become a regular feature of our life, and be held at least every five years?

Photo of Mr Richard Hornby Mr Richard Hornby , Tonbridge

I am sure it would be a very happy event if that should prove to be the general wish of the countries participating.

Photo of Mr George Thomson Mr George Thomson , Dundee East

If this proves successful, can the Minister say whether there are plans to do the thing in reverse and arrange a tour in the Commonwealth countries of some of the exhibits associated with this Festival?

Photo of Mr Richard Hornby Mr Richard Hornby , Tonbridge

We had better see how the Director-General gets on. Suggestions such as that made by the hon. Member may well be taken up at a later stage.