Industry professionals in support of music education

Stephanie Childress leading a workshop with Tri-borough Music Hub's Junior String Ensemble
09 Nov 2022

Music industry professionals are ready to support music education provision, writes Lissy Kelleher-Clarke, but the refreshed National Plan for Music Education falls short of suggesting new ideas.

‘Being with’ in theatre

Oily Cart Light Show
02 Nov 2022

A new report from Oily Cart explores making theatre for and with children who have the most barriers to access. Ellie Griffiths summarises the learning for those seeking to make accessible theatre.

Being a young ambassador 'inspired me to bring about change’

Man taking a picture of art installation
31 Oct 2022

A key goal of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK has been to support young people entering the creative industries. Here three of them reflect on their involvement in the festival.

First country house for children opens

26 Oct 2022

The National Trust has opened what it says is the world’s first stately home entirely reimagined for children.

Sudbury Hall, a 17th-century country house in Derbyshire, has been redeveloped into the Children’s Country House after a two-and-a-half-year renovation project.

National Trust staff consulted with 100 young ambassadors, aged up to 12 years, to devise and test ideas for the property.

The Hall welcomed visitors for the first time last weekend. There are almost no ropes or barriers in the property, allowing visitors to explore the space freely, with colour coding to signal what objects can be touched.

The house features activities, games, a photo booth, children’s books and a shadow puppet theatre in various rooms. Children can learn the basics of heritage conservation in the pantry, which features an interactive display of heritage hazards.

National Trust Director of Curation and Experience said he hopes The Children’s County House “will spark a lifelong love of heritage in the children who step through its doors”.

“We try to be imaginative in how we interpret our places: trying new ideas, where it’s appropriate, to engage people’s different interests. But, as we’ve done at Sudbury Hall, we always do this through careful research, and with the utmost respect for the historic fabric we look after.”

Prioritising children’s well-being

Tangled Feet's production of Butterflies
26 Oct 2022

Poor mental health among young people is on the rise. And with it, the broader conversation about how theatre can be a useful tool for dealing with complex emotions, anxiety and stress, as Peter Glanville explains.

A career dedicated to skills development

Image of Sarah Mair Hughes
26 Oct 2022

Sarah Mair Hughes marks a decade with Cultural & Creative Skills this year, topping off the milestone by winning Social Leader of the Year at the Welsh Women’s Awards. Here she shares the steps on her career path. 

Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts scraps audition fees

19 Oct 2022

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) is making all of its auditions free of charge.   

The higher-education provider says the move, which follows the removal of first stage audition fees last year, is in recognition of the current cost of living crisis and is part of its ongoing effort to increase access and diversity.  

It has come into immediate effect for students auditioning this year for September 2023 entry.

LIPA also plans to continue with a commitment of offering travel grants to applicants attending auditions who come from areas where participation in higher education is traditionally low, which has been running since 2011.  

“We want all aspiring performers and creative artists of the future to have the opportunity to undertake world leading professional vocational training so they can further their ambitions and fulfill their potential in pursuit of developing a career in the creative industries,” Principal and CEO Sean McNamara said.

Tottenham Hotspur embarks on youth theatre drive

17 Oct 2022

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) and football team Tottenham Hotspur will work together to improve theatre engagement in young people in the London Borough of Haringey, it has been announced.

The organisations are launching West End in Tottenham, a series of workshops for young people aged 11-18 years old that plan to “celebrate London’s arts and culture and put the voices of N17 centre stage”.

Workshops range from physicality and movement to beatboxing and hip-hop, with participants also invited to attend a West End stage show.

The sessions will take place at the London Academy of Excellence on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium campus throughout the current school term.

Tottenham Hotspur Executive Director Donna-Maria Cullen said dreams of being on stage can “seem so distant” for young people in the neighbourhood.

“West End In Tottenham can change that and open the eyes of Tottenham teenagers to the world of performing arts through a series of engaging and inspiring workshops, held right here on our stadium campus,” she added.

Sessions are available to book here.

Politicians to examine diversity in the talent pipeline

14 Oct 2022

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Creative Diversity has announced its next research project.

The cross-party group of MPs and Peers will examine diversity and inclusion in the talent pipeline, with a focus on the 16+ age category.

Their work, delivered alongside partners including YouTube and King’s College London, will analyse formal tertiary creative education as well as programmes outside formal educational settings.

In doing so, the APPG aims to deepen understanding of the pipeline of new entrants from across the country and identify critical points for intervention to ensure the UK’s creative industries are inclusive and equitable. 

The project is expected to report in summer 2023 with recommendations for the creative industries, education providers and policymakers. 

Roundtables will commence virtually in the coming months with evidence also gathered through a global literature review, analysis of ONS data and online submission. 

The group is welcoming email submissions of evidence from those who can contribute "examples of what works" to support diversity and inclusion in the talent pipeline.

“Our creative industries will never reflect, nor benefit from, the full diversity of talent across the UK unless we address stubborn and systemic barriers to inclusion, including the vital issue of pathways, gateways and pipelines,” Co-Chair of the APPG Baroness Deborah Bull said.

Royal Opera House begins teacher training initiative

11 Oct 2022

The Royal Opera House has partnered with The Elliot Foundation Academies Trust (TEFAT) to deliver a year-long scheme for teachers across the trust’s 32 primary schools.

The programme of arts-led learning will offer training sessions for teachers in schools in London, East Anglia and the West Midlands.

There will also be a five-week scheme of work inspired by Royal Opera House productions, as well as virtual rehearsals and workshops livestreamed from Covent Garden.

These will be followed by regional presentations and a final performance at the Royal Opera House in July 2023.

The programme is part of TEFAT’s wider Partnership Investment Programme, which has worked over three years to support teachers in projects that improve children’s language and communication skills.

Hugh Greenway, Chief Executive of TEFAT, said: “It is through arts partnerships like this that we are able to help children, and their teachers, raise their expectations of themselves.”

‘It’s OK to be me’

Primary school children seated on the floor in a circle
05 Oct 2022

Safeguarding young people has become a live issue in schools. Scottish Ballet’s Safe to Be Me® programme is tackling the issue head on, as Catherine Cassidy explains.

European theatres collaborate on inclusive programme

04 Oct 2022

Eight theatres around Europe are participating in a new project that will create texts on diverse and inclusive topics for young theatre audiences across the continent.

Young Europe IV is the fourth edition of European Theatre Convention’s Young Europe project, which has been running since 2008.

It will see the Belarus Free Theatre, which is currently based at London’s Barbican Centre, work alongside theatres in Germany, Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta and the Netherlands.

The new, diverse plays will cover issues from mental health to sexuality to the Israel-Palestine conflict and will be performed in school classrooms across Europe.

A separate strand of Young Europe IV, the Forgotten Plays Committee, will select and revive dramatic work by writers from non-dominant backgrounds that have been overlooked, either because of the background of the playwright or theme of the play.

Artistic Lead on Young Europe IV Paulien Geerlings says the European theatre world currently remains the white, heterosexual, male gaze that determines our experiences.

“Women, BIPOC, the LGBTQIA+ community…everyone needs to see themselves represented in the stories that are told. If there is hardly any representation, and the representation that does exist always confirms the same (often problematic) stereotype, as a person or child belonging to a marginalised group you cannot relate to the multitude of possibilities your counterparts are provided with. 

“That is why it is time for a new repertoire – to stop people from being reduced to the ‘single story’ that they have heard all of their lives.”

An online launch event is scheduled for Thursday (6 October) evening.

What do teachers want from museums? 

Art Assembly 2019, Walthamstow
28 Sep 2022

A new report provides insights into what teachers need to help them use museums and galleries more in their practice, for the benefit of themselves and their pupils, as Sam Cairns writes.

RSC to boost access to arts education

27 Sep 2022

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced a host of initiatives aimed at supporting young people’s access to arts education.

They include Time To Act, a two-year research project into the impact of RSC’s work on children’s language development, literacy skills and sense of identity, agency and inclusion.

The study will be RSC’s first since becoming an Independent Research Organisation.

Elsewhere, the RSC has set the date (18 July 2023) for its first national Young Creatives Convention hosted by the RSC Youth Advisor Board. It has also confirmed an eight-week nationwide tour of schools and theatres with its production of Twelfth Night and added the RSCs young company RSC Next Generation Act’s production of Hamlet to its 2023 programme. 

The company also released educational resources for Deaf young people studying Shakespeare and learning materials for GCSE Drama and English students.

RSC Director of Learning and National Partnerships Jacqui O’Hanlon said the initiatives are about opening up access to arts opportunities and benefits for all young people.

“Ask the young people that we work with, or who work with theatres and arts organisations across the UK, and they will tell you about the enormous value of arts subjects and experiences to their lives and development.

“But they will also tell you that society at large doesn’t seem to value them in the same way. Children’s access to arts is a social justice issue and our Youth Advisory Board want to join the debate and champion their rights, their education and their futures.”

Arts websites 'reduce anxiety in young people'

27 Sep 2022

Study finds first clear evidence that online engagement with arts and culture has a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Royal Academy of Arts offers young persons discount

26 Sep 2022

The Royal Academy of Arts is introducing half-priced exhibition tickets for all visitors aged 25 and under.

The institution says the move is a bid to help make the RA’s exhibitions more accessible. It will run alongside the existing offer of free exhibition entry for under 16s.

An existing discounted membership scheme for young people is being extended to include all under 35s. The RA’s Young Friends Membership, which starts from £65 a year, offers unlimited access to exhibitions.

RA Secretary and Chief Executive Axel Rüger said he is “delighted to be able to offer new ways into the RA especially designed for a younger audience”. 

“With an exceptional autumn exhibition programme and longer opening hours, we look forward to welcoming new visitors.”

Northern School of Art opens £14.5m campus

26 Sep 2022

The Northern School of Art has officially opened a £14.5m campus in central Middlesborough.

The new campus opened its doors to nearly 800 students earlier this month. It offers a range of specialist creative courses including A-levels, diplomas and foundation courses, alongside a Saturday club for six- to 14-year-olds and arts awards for 14- to 16-year-olds.

The Northern School of Art is the only specialist art and design school in the North East and has a another education site in central Middlesbrough, which was rated Outstanding by Ofsted for its education offer earlier this year. 

It also has a degree-level campus in Hartlepool, with its higher education courses validated by Arts University Bournemouth.

Principal Dr Martin Raby said the new campus “provides a landmark building for creativity in Tees Valley, providing even greater access and opportunities for all”.

“In marking this new chapter, we remain as committed as ever to the value of creativity in our society.”

Wakefield performing arts centres join forces

26 Sep 2022

Two performing arts centres in Wakefield have announced a collaboration to develop arts education in Yorkshire.

CAPA College, which provides creative and performing arts training and education for 16 to 19-year-olds will work with Backstage Academy, which offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and short course programmes in the live events and creative industries.

It is hoped the partnership will deliver “incredible new programmes of study, original opportunities for collaborative research and an unprecedented focus on immersive entertainment and performance”.

Each institution’s academic and research teams will be working together to meet the objectives.

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said the initiative will “help our region become more attractive for businesses in these sectors to come here and invest”.

“Our region is fortunate to have two organisations that excel in what they do. I hope that through working together to create a creative arts pathway for talented young people they will present opportunities for people across a range of careers in TV, film, theatre and live events,” she added.

King Charles III and the arts

Charles III with crowd of people in the background
13 Sep 2022

A noted fan of art, theatre and opera, Charles III also has a track record of using the arts to transform lives.

Fund for Welsh music organisations reopens

13 Sep 2022

Music organisations working with young people in Wales have been invited to apply for grants in the second round of a fund run Anthem - Music Fund Wales.

The Atsain fund aims to support youth music organisations to address and overcome specific barriers to music for young people in Wales. Eligible organisations can apply for grants of up to £10,000.

The first round of funding awarded a total of £120,000 to 15 organisations last year and created a collaborative network of beneficiaries to facilitate forums for sharing best practice.

“We’re already seeing young people connecting with music in new ways as a result of projects funded by the first round of Atsain,” said Rhian Hutchings, Chief Executive of Anthem.

“Our grantees are working with young people of all ages, helping them to build their confidence, explore their creativity and find pathways to potential future careers.”

Atsain’s Programme Manager Rebecca Rickard said the organisation welcomes “partnerships between organisations that focus on music, but also youth, community, disability, language, poverty, race and more”.

“It is through partnerships that organisations get a better understanding of the barriers young people face, and how to break them down,” she said.


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