25 July 2013

We Need To Do Something About Youth Access To Drama

Goldsmith's College, George Wood Theatre, London, SE14 6NW

6:30 - 10:00 pm

An invitation from Danny Braverman (Lecturer Applied Theatre, Goldsmiths) and London Drama:

British theatre faces a crisis.  Our thriving theatre has benefited for generations from a range of opportunities for young people to get involved.  We have great youth theatres, wonderful drama teaching in schools, participatory projects, TIE and other work in schools and trips to see shows. These opportunities have been vital in bringing through the next generation of theatre makers and audiences, as well as being a lifeline for many young people in their growth and development.

This is all now under the biggest threat ever.

Despite the government U-turn, following the Ebacc announcement, 23% of secondary schools stopped drama courses.

There is a massive decline in the training of drama teachers.

Youth theatres are closing weekly, with the National Association of Youth Theatres losing its funded CEO post.

Theatres are closing or dramatically reducing their education provision in the face of cuts.

The result of all this is that the gains of decades will be lost and theatre will be even more the preserve of the well-off.

Drama is not a disposable luxury for young people; the treat to be earned after they’ve been force-fed interminable dry curricula and compelled to sit endless demotivating tests.  The drama our young people experience in their schools and youth groups is very often the one thing that gets them out of bed in the morning.  It teaches so much more than chunks of knowledge (which it does).  It explores feelings, creates confident communicators, makes young people eminently more employable and promotes engaged citizenship.

So, it’s time to do something.  This Open Space calls on theatre professionals, drama teachers and young people themselves to come together to grapple with this issue and come up with ways to work together to make sure that future generations have drama education as a right, not a privilege.

Booking for this event has now closed.