Drama should be accessible to all, not just a privileged few | Letter

Mark Rylance’s stance on the inequalities of drama and theatre provision in UK schools needs to be aired more widely (Mark Rylance calls out Tory arts cuts in new Jerusalem programme, 29 April).

Why, when the nation is concerned about the wellbeing and social health of children and young people, does drama and theatre continue to be marginalised? Drama enables children to explore issues of global concern, to develop new perspectives and acquire essential communication skills. Drama is a social art form that is informed by the interests of the participants. It is a collaborative learning experience that is sadly missing from the curriculum of many schools. It has been evident for many years that youngsters thrive in schools where drama is accessible to all.

Drama should have the same curriculum status as art and music, and all children should have the opportunity to experience live theatre. Rylance asks: “If, in modern day England, an institution like Eton deems drama important enough to have two theatres, why are we allowing the government to cut arts education from the life of the rest of our young people?” His question is one that should be addressed urgently by educationists, arts bodies and politicians alike.
Dr Geoff Readman
Chair, National Drama

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