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David Hilditch: 'People would love to see and read many things, but like me they just don't have the time'

By Staff Reporter

The Assembly's culture committee kicked off its investigation of people's exclusion from the arts after DUP MLA William Humphrey complained theatres were off-putting for Protestant working-class communities.

Mr Humphrey told the Belfast Telegraph that he did not go to the theatre often himself, could not remember the last film he saw and did not get time for much reading.

"The concept of 'the arts' is not something which the Protestant working-class community in this city buys into at any great level," the North Belfast MLA said.

"Decisions by Belfast City Council and the regional government on investment in the Lyric and the Mac have been of great benefit, and I welcome them.

"However, I am not so sure that they offer a tangible benefit to the people in Ballygomartin, Ballymurphy or Ballymacarrett."

Now his DUP committee colleague David Hilditch says people are too busy these days to have much time for the arts. So, we put some questions to the former mayor of Carrickfergus:

Q. What was the last play you went to?

A. It was actually in Dublin of all places, and it was in relation to dementia, but I cannot remember the name of it. That was during the summer and then I was up in Londonderry and went to see the musical Les Miserables.

Q. Is that the last time you were in a theatre?

A. Yes. That would have been in October. I would find it generally very difficult to get to many things, particularly with my work as an MLA. The hours don't really suit for one thing.

Q. What was the last book you read?

A. I would be a huge fan of Colin Bateman and have read nearly everything he has written, which is quite a lot. But, actually, I am currently reading the history of Carrick Rangers Football Club which was published recently. Again.

Q. What was the last film you saw?

A. Over the Christmas period I would have watched a few, but I don't get the chance too often.

Q. What would your solution be?

A. The committee is trying to drill down in all of this. Time these days is precious, people would love to do more but they just don't get the time.

People would love to see and read many things, but like me they just don't have the time, says David Hilditch

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