I agree with much that Vanessa Hart says (ArtsProfessional issue 43, p16), and especially her point about making sure that the younger generation?s initial taste of live performance is a positive one.
But Vanessa singles out pantomime as being the first experience that children have of theatre, and points out that the quality threshold on these is variable.
Surely a far bigger fly in the ointment is the volume of low-grade rubbish that passes for children?s shows, currently being staged at venues across the UK. These shows often claim to have high educational content and strong links to the National Curriculum; but in reality they offer little more than underpaid actors in sweaty costumes. Teachers who get suckered into bringing a party don?t make the same mistake twice and run the risk of missing out on the good work that's out there. Teachers need more help in deciding what has sufficient merit to warrant bringing children. The site at www.arts4schools.com is a great resource, but we need more information about all companies who create work aimed at schools and young people.