Michael Billington, theatre critic for The Guardian newspaper took part in this year’s Cultural eXchanges programme on February 28th at De Montfort University, Leicester.
Judging by the packed lecture theatre in the Clephan building, members of the public were itching to see Britain’s longest-serving theatre critic, eager to listen and with a list of questions at the ready.
Though just another face in a large crowd, I felt a part of the interview between Mr Billington and Dr Elinor Parsons as he spoke of his career spanning over forty years and his love of the theatre.
Having started his career with The Guardian in 1971, Mr Billington find his regular reviews in the newspapers now bring him into closer (and faster) dialogue with readers thanks to the internet.
Listening to Mr Billington, I felt my love for the theatre take a new turn as he spoke about the future and how financial cuts could mean fewer people would be able to see live theatre. For him, ticket pricing was crucial; he said if tickets were to be charged at the same price as a cup of coffee, the difference in audience numbers would be immense.
I hope Mr Billington will return to take part in next year’s Cultural eXchanges as his presence was appreciated by not only De Montfort University students, but also by members of the public who travelled to see him in person.