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Drama: Young People

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent steps his Department has taken to encourage young people to participate in (a) drama production and (b) acting. (314736)

Providing access to high quality drama and theatre opportunities is part of the cultural offer, currently being tested through Find Your Talent. Nearly £24 million is being invested into 10 pathfinder areas to test how best to offer all children and young people the opportunity to access five hours of high quality cultural activity a week. Each of the 10 pathfinders are offering opportunities for children and young people to experience and participate in theatre, especially those with least access.

My Department also supported Arts Council England to deliver the £1.8 million national “Young People’s Participatory Theatre” (YPPT) programme. This aims to increase young people’s access to and participation in theatre through improved information on where to find and take part in high quality activities. We have also launched “Open Doors”, a scheme which saw theatres across the country opening up to provide interactive events and workshops highlighting the wide variety of potential careers in theatre.

The “A Night Less Ordinary” initiative, launched by Arts Council England in February 2009 provided 122,000 free theatre tickets to under 26-year-olds in its first nine months. By removing price as a barrier to participation, the scheme enables more young people to experience theatre, and it is hoped will help to create both the practitioners and audiences of the future.