The Theatre for Every Child campaign, launched by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, believes all children have the right to experience the country’s world-leading theatre sector.
The organisations said the benefits of a theatre visit for children includes the educational aspects, cultural enrichment as well as promoting wellbeing and highlighting potential creative careers in a growing sector.
The campaign was launched at an event at the London Palladium attended by actors Charlie Russell, Luke Thompson and Nancy Zamit, writer Lolita Chakrabarti, and politicians Baroness Christine Blower and Barbara Keely MP.
Co-CEO of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre, Claire Walker, said: “Despite 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.”
The campaign group references research which suggests that children from low-income families are missing out the most because they are less likely to have access to cultural experiences outside of school.
“I was lucky to be taken to the theatre by my school when I was growing up. It’s an exciting and enlightening experience, which can stay with you for a very long time, no matter what you want to do when you grow up.”
Luke Thompson, actor
Fozia Nisar, deputy head at Montgomery Primary Academy and a member of The Birmingham Hippodrome Education Network made up of 44 of the most economically and culturally deprived schools in the Birmingham region, spoke at the launch event.
She said: “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.”
To celebrate the launch, more than 1,000 pupils were treated to an exclusive pre-show workshop with members of the cast and crew staging Tina - The Tina Turner Musical.
Elsewhere in the UK, 18 regional theatres are offering £10 tickets to schools, with seven unique performances also hosting activities as part of the campaign. More information will be available on the website.
Actor Luke Thompson, known for his role as Benedict in the Netflix series Bridgerton supports the campaign and said: “I was lucky to be taken to the theatre by my school when I was growing up. It’s an exciting and enlightening experience, which can stay with you for a very long time, no matter what you want to do when you grow up.”
Lolita Chakrabarti, actor, writer and campaign supporter added: “Theatre changes lives. It encourages empathy and widens our understanding of ourselves in the world. Every child should experience the transformative effects of going to the theatre.”
How to get involved in the Theatre for Every Child campaign
- Email TheatreForEveryChild@soltukt.co.uk
- Show your support on social media using the hashtag #TheatreForEveryChild.
- Tell the campaign group about any events you are organising which will help promote the campaign.
For more information, including the manifesto, visit uktheatre.org/theatre-for-every-child/