[Sir Arnold Wesker, playwright.] Two Typed Letters Signed (both 'Arnold Wesker') to Israeli author Aubrey Hodes, regarding his touring festival Centre 42, the English attitude to 'culture outside the commercial framework' and Israeli arts funding.

Sir Arnold Wesker (1932-2016), playwright and author [Aubrey Hodes, Israeli author; Centre 42; New Wave; Kitchen Sink Drama; Angry Young Men; Jewish writers]
Publication details: 
20 Fitzroy Square, London, N1. 17 October 1962.
SKU: 22044

Both 1p, 4to, and in good condition, lightly aged and folded once. Both letters addressed to Hodes at Beit Rosenberg, Keron Heyesod Street, Herzlia-on-Sea, Israel. The subject of the letters is Centre 42, the touring arts group Wesker formed to bring culture to the masses on his release from prison, following a sentence for civil disobedience with the Committee of 100 in opposition to nuclear weapons. The group moved to the Roundhouse in London in 1964. The first letter begins: 'Emersed as I have been in the festivals, I have only just got around to answering your letter and I find in it that you ask me to send some material to a friend in Ramat Chem. I am afraid it is too late to send him material now as he has probably returned. I am sorry about this, but I hope that the enclosed material will give some indication of the scope of the festivals.' The first three festivals have been 'mounted with varying success but the project as a whole has gained a great deal of public attention, though not always sympathy. There is something inherent in the English personality that considers culture outside the commercial framework to be an enfringement of a basic democratic principle.' He concludes: 'Plenty of Israeli theatres appear to have wanted my plays – none of them have yet done so. [sic] God knows why.' The second letter is on Centre 42's stylish letterhead in grey and red, and begins with reference to a meeting between the two men in Israel, and 'Megged's book', a copy of which he has received from the publisher Gollancz. 'Concerning Centre 42 I have sent all the information about us to Dov Vardi and I understand he is going to write about us'. Wesker is sending 'a set of literature' to Hodes, adding: 'However, it strikes me as very strange that anyone in Israel should be interested in this sort of movement, since as far as I understand the Histadruth spends over a million pounds on the Arts and cultural activity in Israel, and this is what we dream of happening here in England. […] We even quote Israel as an example of the situation we should like to see.'