Theatre and Education
Can the professional theatre industry do more to support the education sector?
Do theatres and companies have a responsibility to support schools more?
Theatre and Education is a new initiative launched by the DTEA. Current areas of discussion and exploration include:
Young people as audience
Young people becoming practitioners
Can we work with local authorities to re-introduce and subsidise youth clubs and creative programmes for young people?
The global perspective
Advocacy for children and the arts
Coventry, the UK city of Culture 2021 was the birthplace of the Theatre-in-Education (TiE) movement at The Belgrade Theatre in 1965, and teams attached to theatres sprang up across England.
The work of these teams was payed for by local councils and offered freely to schools, often providing children with their first experience of theatre and many young actors, their first acting job.
It dared to share the great problems of life with children, and allowed them a safe space to ask questions, share emotions and form opinions. It was to become a movement which has spread around the world.
Small pockets still exist in, alongside specialist companies offering theatre workshops, and performances in schools, but the TiE team has mostly morphed into the Education Officer, and/or Outreach Team, linking schools and communities through the medium of Theatre.
When funding is low, they are often the first to lose their jobs, so the outlook is not good.
Specialist Theatres for Children and Young People, such as Hullabaloo, The egg, Half Moon, Polka and Unicorn, may well find it difficult to survive unless schools dare to take pupils out on visits, and pretty soon.
At a time when the mental health of our young people is in jeopardy, the role Drama can play in schools, and the experience of visiting and creating Theatre, has never been more important.