Schools arts provision to be debated in Birmingham

Steve Orme

Leading figures from the worlds of theatre and education will discuss arts provision in schools in a debate at Birmingham REP.

James Graham, writer of This House which will play at the REP in April as part of a UK tour, said the disappearance of arts from state education was “the most urgent conversation we should be having as an industry”.

He added, “it’s been vanishing quietly by stealth for the past three years and it’s in all our interests to have a healthy and open debate whereby we interrogate and remind ourselves and others about its benefits to all. The Big Arts and Education Debate is just the start.”

Steve Ball, the REP’s associate director, commented, “since 2010 there’s been a 28% drop in the number of children taking creative GCSEs, with a similar drop in the number of creative arts teachers being trained. These diminishing opportunities for children and young people are a real concern and I look forward to bringing together the worlds of theatre and education to discuss the issues.”

Also taking part in the debate will be Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of Tricycle Theatre; Cassie Chadderton, head of UK Theatre; Ammo Talwar, chief executive of Punch Records; Christine Quinn West Midlands regional schools commissioner; and Tim Boyes, chief executive of Birmingham Education Partnership. Steve Ball and media and learning specialist Carl Woodward will chair the debate.

The Big Arts and Education Debate will be open to teachers, practitioners, educators and young people. It takes place at the REP on Friday 20 April from 2 until 5PM.