Classical music inaccessible to less affluent families

17 Nov 2021

A three-year research project aims to improve diversity in classical music, where women remain underrepresented in top roles and 95% of orchestral musicians are white.

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.

LIPA makes first acting auditions free

08 Nov 2021

The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) is making its first round of acting auditions free.

The school is also making all first round auditions self-taped, having moved auditions online during Covid-19. 

“We found that asking for a self-tape submission last year enabled us to meet a number of individuals we wouldn’t otherwise have connected with, and I think that’s reflected in the makeup of this year’s first years,” said Head of Acting Will Hammond.

Fees for second round in-person auditions and in-person dance auditions are being reduced from £40 to £30.

LIPA says the changes are reflect efforts to increase access and diversity. 

It will continue to offer audition fee waivers and travel grants to applicants who come from areas of the country with lower rates of higher education uptake.

£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.

Online opera course to take students 'behind the scenes'

03 Nov 2021

A new online initiative for opera lovers from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) aims to shed light on the complex workings of the opera and musical theatre industry.

Opera 360 will include short courses led by RWCMD tutors, offering "behind the scenes" knowledge of working in the industry.

The college is also offering a full Opera 360 Masters degree, which can be applied for through UCAS.

James Lea, course leader of Opera 360, said: “We wanted to offer a course that allows people to see how opera is brought to the stage.

“The myriad formats in which opera is produced, and its ability to reach diverse audiences, are subjects worthy of serious study.”

Opera 360 will launch in September 2022.

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.

UNBOXED 2022 offers innovation - and employment

21 Oct 2021

Once derided as the Festival of Brexit, the eight-month mega event will "prove the naysayers wrong".

Arts and higher education: a successful partnership in action

three people in discussion
21 Oct 2021

Creating and sharing new knowledge - through teaching, learning, impact and public engagement - lies at the heart of relationships between universities and cultural organisations, Professor Katy Shaw and Claire Malcolm write. 

An explosion of creative energy

image of Little Amal
21 Oct 2021

Universities often lack the resources for large scale art programmes, yet the University of Kent has launched an ambitious creative season. David Sefton explores the relationship between academic institutions and the arts.

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.

Voice acting school joins LIPA

13 Oct 2021

A voice academy founded mid-pandemic has joined the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA).

Bristol Academy of Voice Acting (BRAVA) will work with LIPA students in the final year of the BA Acting programme to develop their skills not only in voice acting but in marketing and branding so they can make the most of what the commercial voiceover industry has to offer.

BRAVA Founder Melissa Thom has worked as a voice actor for clients including Google, Amazon, Unicef and Bauer and on several video games.

"The projected healthy recovery and growth of the UK ad market by the end of this year means there is an imminent demand for highly trained voice actors," Thom said.

"We look forward  to working with students at LIPA to help them add voice acting to their skillset."


Royal Shakespeare Company becomes an official research body

11 Oct 2021

It is the first time a performing arts organisation has achieved the designation, opening opportunities to investigate issues of importance to the sector.

Safety inspectors shut down Manchester theatre

11 Oct 2021

Manchester’s Grange Theatre has been closed with immediate effect after safety inspectors found faulty electrics and wiring in the building.

A statement from the theatre says it will remain closed until it is deemed safe to reopen.

All events in October and November have been cancelled, with ticket holders set to be refunded.

Located on Oldham College campus, the theatre’s annual pantomime has been transferred to nearby Queen Elizabeth Halls.

BAME students struggle to find creative role models

06 Oct 2021

Two-thirds of Black, Asian and minority ethnic students struggle to find inspirational creative role models.

Research commissioned by software brand Adobe surveyed 3,000 students and early career creative professionals, finding BAME students were most likely to be deterred from making creative career choices.

52% said their parents advised against creative careers and 40% of BAME people employed in the creative industry said they'd been discouraged by others several times.

Rapper Little Simz said the findings show ethnic minorty groups need better reputation "to show the next generation that they can make it".

Adobe's Senior Director of Marketing Simon Morris added: "We risk missing out on incredible talent if – as parents, role models, careers advisors, teachers and industry – we don’t equip our young people with knowledge of all the opportunities available to them."

Levelling down London’s HE sector

University of East London Docklands
06 Oct 2021

Universities in the capital are set to lose nearly £80m in funding for arts courses. Diana Beech fears this will further widen inequalities in sector training.

Female performing arts graduates earn more after five years

05 Oct 2021

Female performing arts graduates' earnings outstrip their male counterparts' after five years.

The average salary for a female performing arts graduate is £21,900, rising from £14,200 in the first year after finishing their studies.

Whilst men earning more in the initial stage of their careers with an average salary of £14,300 in their first year, women earn more on average three years in - £18,300 compared to £17,500.

The opposite is true of creative arts and design graduates: females earn less than males from the get go - £16,400 on average compared to £16,800 in their first year working.

The gap grows with time, with men earning £23,400 on average after five years, £1,900 more than female creative arts graduates.

Creative arts, where 60% of graduates are women, provides the lowest financial returns of any course of study, analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows.

Xiaowei Xu, a Senior Research Economist at IFS, said women disproportionately chose subject with lower-paying career options.

"Of course, money isn’t – and shouldn’t be – the only factor when it comes to choosing what to study. But more needs to be done to inform young people about the financial consequences of degree choices, and to overcome gender stereotypes, so that women are not locked out of high-paying careers by choices at a young age.”



Aberdeen commits to digital music teaching

04 Oct 2021

Aberdeen City Council has approved plans to provide online instrumental lessons for pupils.

It first introduced digital music lessons during the pandemic, when Aberdeen City Music Service began uploading instructor videos for pupils to access between classes.

The provider says students have made "good progress" during digital lessons, prompting council officers to consult with pupils, parents and instructors to determine the scope of the offer.

The initiative will support an expected increase in the number of pupils taking lessons as Scotland becomes the first UK nation to mandate free instrumental music tuition.

"Our council has been pioneering in its use of digital technology - and there is a great opportunity to harness its power in delivering content to support those who engage with the music service," Councillor M Taqueer Malik commented.

Scotland hires freelancers as arts tutors

27 Sep 2021

Up to 50 freelancers will be employed as arts tutors in some of Scotland's most remote and culturally distinctive communities.

Creatives and artists who have lost work due to Covid-19 or Brexit can apply to work with primary schools in the Scottish Islands of Na h-Eileanan Siar, Orkney, Shetland, Argyll and Bute, Highland and North Ayrshire.

Gaelic arts body Fèisean nan Gàidheal will deliver the programme whilst the University of the Highlands gives tutors support and accreditation. The tutors in turn will support the development of assistant tutors to continue delivering arts education.

Fèisean nan Gàidheal CEO Arthur Cormack said training will increase freelancers' "resilience" and better equip thme to work in schools in the future.

The programme is funded by the National Transition Training Fund and through the Scottish Government's Islands Programme.


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