Representatives from ACA, TEF and Assitej UK (themselves representing the newly formed Drama Theatre Education Alliance ) attended a meeting with Anne Applebaum, Director of Children and Young People, Arts Council England, on Wednesday February 5, to discuss their concerns over declining theatre participation in young people across the country. Coming as it did a few days after the Arts Council published Let’s Create, its new 10 year Arts Strategy, the conversation was a lively response to the vision contained therein. Anne was extremely helpful in guiding the group towards a future-facing action plan, leaning more heavily on data and research and therefore drawing influence from Music Services across England who have had the benefit of years of exhaustive data and tracking.
The group agreed that approaching universities interested in cultural policy and research, for example The Centre for Cultural Value at Leeds, Warwick or Kings could be a fruitful outcome. It was broadly agreed that the sector should come together around a conference where it could address the need for the sector to be more organised about research, evaluation and impact, but for the sake of limited resources and given the upcoming Symposium in Exeter, THROUGH CHILDREN’S EYES; SCHOOL CHILDREN AS THEATRE AUDIENCES, the group thought it could effectively start work off the back of that.