Covid harmed drama education

group of drama students perform on stage
14 Dec 2021

More than half of drama teachers saw a drop in pupils choosing the subject at GCSE and A-Level following remote learning. 

Dance partnership to 'lift the curtain' for students

10 Dec 2021

A new partnership will "lift the curtain" on the the dance industry for students.

Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Academy of Dance will launch the new programme in February with a series of pre-show talks and workshops for dancers and company staff.

They aim to inspire young dancers and deepen their understanding and appreciation of ballet as an art form.

The academy's Artistic Director Gerard Charles says there is "so much more to studying ballet than simply learning the steps".

"We are all part of a large dance community that includes beginners, experienced dancers and teachers, and we learn from each other. I cannot wait to see how our dancers and teachers benefit from this amazing opportunity."

Flying the flag

A group of people look over a flag in a courtyard
07 Dec 2021

This week is the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To mark the occasion, the UK arts sector launched Fly The Flag in 2018. Kate McGrath shares what has been achieved.

Wales extends creative curriculum until 2025

06 Dec 2021

Wales' action plan for creative learning has been extended until March 2025.

Since its launch in 2015, 84% of Welsh schools have engaged with the creative curriculum, creating 238,000 opportunities for learners.

The Welsh Government will announce curriculum reforms next year that are expected to include expressive arts as one of six core pillars.

Arts Council of Wales Director of Arts Engagement Diane Hebb said the three year extension will support arts-rich experiences in school. 

“The achievements of the programme to date have been extraordinary and evidence continues to show that the impact has been transformational for learners, teachers and schools, and indeed for artists alike.”

Half of creative Kickstart roles filled

02 Dec 2021

The flagship scheme to address youth unemployment has been hamstrung by red tape and low demand, but is still "really positive for our sector".

Breaking down class barriers

four actors performing on stage
01 Dec 2021

Performing arts students from working class backgrounds face considerable barriers to entering the theatre profession. Andrew Muir has set up a programme to address this.

NI schools funded to work with professional artists

30 Nov 2021

Eleven schools in Northern Ireland will each receive funding to hire professional artists.

£15,000 has been awarded by the Creative Schools Partnership, a combination of National Lottery, Education Authority and NI Executive funding, across the schools' proposals.

Projects include screenwriting, dance, photography, filmmaking and music composition. Grants will cover two years' work.

First Minister Paul Givan said: “This successful partnership has already seen hundreds of children engage with the programme within post-primary schools in urban villages areas.

“The young people have benefited from this innovative arts-based approach, which has supported curriculum learning and improved their educational outcomes.”


‘Seismic’ shift towards digital music learning

30 Nov 2021

ABRSM has reported a "seismic" shift towards digital music learning.

64% of children use digital resources to make music, according to the music board's Making Music 2021 report.

Whilst 59% of children and 27% of adults surveyed currently play an instrument, 86% and 43% respectively said they are making music, suggesting a trend towards online tools.

Despite increases in digital participation, 11% fewer children are taking instrumental lessons at schools than in 2014.

Finance remains a barrier to participation. People from wealthier households are 1.4 times more likely to play a musical instrument, with 25% of children and 18% of adults who never played an instrument saying this was due to expense.

The music sector must work to overcome “fundamental and deep-seated barriers” that stop people accessing music, ABSRM Chief Executive Chris Cobb commented.

Scotland’s Creative Learning Plan leans into wellbeing

pupils in an arts class
18 Nov 2021

Children’s mental health will be a “very high priority” under a new blueprint for cross-curriculum creativity.

Gallery partnership to address youth violence

12 Nov 2021

A new gallery at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds will take "a unique public health led approach to tackle the underlying causes of violent crime".

The project with the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit of specialists across police, health, education, justice and youth services is due to open in January. 

It will feature Operation Jemlock - a police operation that confiscated hundreds of weapons and led to some 6,000 arrests over the past year. The partners also plan to work with community groups to tell real-life stories of youth violence.

The unit's director Chief Superintendent Jackie Marsh said engagement is crucial to long-term improvements in violent crime rates.

Dr Edward Impey, Director General & Master of the Armouries, said the institution shows how human experience is shaped by arms and armour to this day: "This is not a purely historical matter."

‘At the Sharp End: Tackling Violent Crime Together in West Yorkshire’ will be exhibited for six months and is expected to engage more than 100,000 people before touring the wider region.

Training programme offers 'alternative pathway into theatre'

10 Nov 2021

A new two-year training programme will offer a “genuine alternative pathway into theatre” for people from underrepresented backgrounds.

Lyric Hammersmith Theatre has announced details of the free programme for aspiring West London performers, Springboard.

Applicants must be aged 18-25, have little-to-no formal drama training, and come from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds or groups underrepresented in theatre.

The programme will start in January, offering 10 chosen trainees a blend of on-and-off-stage learning, including shadowing days across the theatre's departments.

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Emmanuel Kaye Foundation have agreed to co-fund the programme for the next three years, supporting the first cohort of students.

Yorkshire theatre ambition for new culture committee

08 Nov 2021

There are ambitions for a new youth theatre in West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire’s new Culture, Arts and Creative Industries Committee convened for the first time last week (November 4) to discuss the region’s cultural recovery.

Led by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin, the cultural board discussed plans for a “theatre without walls” to include a Yorkshire Youth Theatre.

“We might not be able to have a national theatre, but we can have a Yorkshire Theatre that would be made up of Yorkshire voices, Yorkshire stories, Yorkshire writers and Yorkshire talent," Brabin said.

The committee also considered a Town of Culture competition, previously suggested by former Shadow Culture Secretary Brabin.

Its next meeting is scheduled for January.

Harnessing the power of young people

art night
04 Nov 2021

All arts organisations speak about the need to engage the next generation in culture. Sarah Kaye and Robert Dingle reflect on what works.

£1.9m to transform 500 primary school libraries

pupil sat in a primary school library
03 Nov 2021

New investment into the World of Stories programme will target seven areas highlighted as Arts Council England priority places.

Arts centre trustees signed gagging order under threat of eviction

Stratford Circus protestors
02 Nov 2021

The council, which owns the building, says it was "not required to consult, nor did consult" on the removal.

Former ballet principal jailed for sexual assaults

27 Oct 2021

Yat-Sen Chang, a former principal dancer at English National Ballet, has been sentenced to nine years' imprisonment for sexually abusing young dancers.

He was convicted on 13 counts and cleared of one offence in May.

Four students aged 16 to 18 were affected over a seven year period.

Prosecutors at Isleworth Crown Court said Chang believed his fame and status would protect him. He continues to deny the allegations.

English National Ballet has said it will review its safeguarding practices in light of the case.

ArtsEd admits sexualised culture worsened by 'failure in leadership'

27 Oct 2021

Principal Chris Hocking has resigned so the drama school can show "how serious we are about transforming our culture" this academic year.

Thousands support art funds for young people petition

25 Oct 2021

A petition urging the Government to keep manifesto promises around arts funding for young people has received more than 20,000 signatures online.

The petition comes ahead of Wednesday’s (October 27) Spending Review, which is expected to answer questions surrounding a £270m arts premium for secondary schools first promised in March 2020, and Arts Council England's budget.

Former Schools Minister Nick Gibb said last month that £90m of arts-in-schools funding earmarked for 2021 was under review.

Petition leaders Public Campaign for the Arts are also asking the Government to move ahead on a promised £500m Youth Investment Fund.

The group says youth centres and services facing mounting financial pressures are still waiting to receive any of the fund, first promised in 2019.

Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory stops production

18 Oct 2021

Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory has announced it will stop producing plays after 21 years.

Sited at Bristol's Tobacco Factory Theatres, the theatre company received £50,000 from the first round of DCMS' Culture Recovery Fund but says can no longer produce without further grants.

The grant enabled the theatre to present a new production of Shakespeare's Sonnets and develop a podcast, What Would Shakespeare Do in a Pandemic?

It will use its remaining funds to establish a small annual bursary for theatre students, expected to launch before the end of the year.

"Whilst it is with a heavy heart that we have taken this decision to bring our touring productions to a close, we are delighted that our new bursary will continue to support actors and creative practitioners in Bristol and its surrounds," Chair of Trustees Kerrie Hunt said.

"We are indebted to the talented and dedicated actors, freelancers and management teams with whom we have worked so closely during this time and proud to have helped to foster the next generation of Shakespearian theatre professionals."

ACE invests £2.78m in cross-curriculum creativity

pupil presenting a creative project in class
13 Oct 2021

Eight school networks will develop creativity to inspire long term curriculum change – but not necessarily in arts subjects.


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