In a groundbreaking assault on the present state of our performing arts, Julian Meyrick examines the past, accuses the theatre of being stuck in the 1970s and calls for a national overhaul. 'Before anything else, the profession as a whole must embark on a heartfelt examination bent on answering one vital question: what on earth do we think we are doing? ... Unless we have a grasp of our root involvement in the art form, then we are taking a living artistic medium and reducing it down to a mentally-inert production line of variable product whose purpose is mere self-perpetuation.' The solution, he says, lies in the hands of practitioners. In a closely-observed argument Meyrick shows that the theatre has become hierarchical and competitive; that the once-thriving centre has been eaten away, leaving only the major institutions and the fringe. A culture cannot grow richer without a memory, he says. 'When this doesn't happen the result is stunted growth: a theatre culture which repeats itself, because it doesn't know how to manage its inheritance.' Meyrick proposes a more democratic and collaborative structure, abandoning the funding wars and developing a genuinely national strategy. He analyses why the old ways are paralysing new thought and outlines the first steps towards change.