The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre have launched the ‘Theatre for Every Child’ campaign ahead of the next general election, asking politicians to commit to a funded scheme that will help every child attend the theatre before they leave education.
SOLT and UK Theatre agreed that all children have the right to experience the UK’s world-leading theatre sector, with benefits for attendees including wellbeing and educational attainment, and further advantages such as addressing the skills shortage within the sector and boosting the economy.
The theatre organisations added that access is unequal, and children from low-income families often miss out because they are less likely to have access to cultural experiences outside of school. The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated this, with teachers and parents also reporting a reduction in school trips – which can include trips to the theatre – of up to 68% compared to last year.
Ahead of the next general election in 2024, the ‘Theatre for Every Child’ campaign is asking all political parties to commit to fund a theatre visit for every child before they leave school.
“We believe every child has the right to experience and enjoy our country’s world-leading theatre. Despite the amazing work that theatres do up and down the country, access is not equal. This is not right. Which is why we are calling on all political parties to support our call for every child to attend the theatre before they leave school,” said Claire Walker, co-chief executive of SOLT and UK Theatre (pictured).
Fozia Nisar is the deputy head at Montgomery Primary Academy and member of The Birmingham Hippodrome Education Network, which is made up of 44 of the most economically and culturally deprived schools in the Birmingham region.
Nisar added: “As a mother and as an educator I stand firm that the key to unlocking minds is through artistic exposure: music, dance, acting are all fundamental to a child’s emotional journey and senses whereby they can explore a plethora of feelings in the safety of a theatre platform.”