Appearing on Publicly Funded PBS, Kevin Spacey Brags He Ran Theatre with...No Public Funding

Actor Kevin Spacey came on PBS's Charlie Rose show to promote his Netflix series House of Cards and talk about his success at running Britain’s Old Vic Theatre. In the process Spacey, inadvertently, taught Rose and his liberal viewers a valuable economics lesson.

On Tuesday’s show, aired on the publicly funded PBS, the Academy Award winning actor told Rose that his time as artistic director of the Old Vic proved: “You can run a major British institution for 10 years without any public subsidy. We get no public subsidy.”

The following excerpt was aired on the August 19 edition of PBS’s Charlie Rose show:

CHARLIE ROSE: And what happened to the director’s gene in you?

KEVIN SPACEY: I still have it. And I will without question, I think, I’ve directed at the Old Vic, you know, theatre. And I think I will once, once I’m done at the Old Vic which is coming up in the next year, that I’ll be done.

ROSE: Why have you marked this time to go?

SPACEY: Well, I made a 10 year commitment, number one. I will have fulfilled that commitment and gone one more year after that, because we kinda look at the first year as a startup year. So I will go 11 years but my association with the Old Vic has been going on 17 years, by the time I leave.        

ROSE: And do you find yourself pretty good at the sort of business end of all this?

SPACEY: I have.

ROSE: The deals and the transactions and building something that can be sustainable?    

SPACEY: I hope I’ve proved that I’ve been pretty good at business with respect to both how my film company is run, with Dana, and how the Old Vic is run. You know you have to remember we, we have successfully proved that you can run a major British institution for 10 years without  any public subsidy. We get no public subsidy. And we have a 1,000 seat theater.    

ROSE: You’ve raised most of it?

SPACEY: You know I sing and dance all the time for a fundraising. That’s why I’m trying to set up an endowment now for the Old Vic for the future so that the next artistic director doesn’t have to spend nearly as much time fundraising as I have.

-- Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.