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FEATURE FOCUS: CULTURAL EDUCATIONATION FEAT ATURE FOCUS: CULT LTURAL EDUCAT


All the world’s a st age


All the world’’s a stage


T


hismonth, in our first look at the


his month, in our first look at the


importance of cultural education in schools, we hear fromTania Wilmer, Director at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, and previously Sadler'sWells, Arts Council England and The British Council. During her tenure at


importance of cultural education in schools, we hear from Tania Wilmer, Director at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, and previously Sadler's Wells, Arts Council England and The British Council. During her tenure at


the Centre, she has led a period of artistic and financial growth for the organisation. “Much has been written about the transformative power of the arts and the importance of cultural learning in schools; how they support the development of imagination, self- expression and creativity. How they are a route to engaging different types of learners, particularly those who are struggling with language. How they develop the skills that are crucial for the creative industries (the fastest growing sector in the UK economy) and for the future trajectory of our economy.


the Centre, she has led a period of artistic and financial gro wth for the organisation.


“Leading author and educationalist Ken Robinson puts it this way “Cultural learning directly promotes the economic skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers value most,


including creative and critical thinking,


collaboration, communication, social confidence and cultural sensitivity.”


“Stratford Circus Arts Centre is a performing arts centre in east London and situated in a borough with high levels of child poverty and where English is a second language for 70%of the children. Enabling access to the highest quality artistic experiences is at the heart of our mission.We believe every young person has the right to a creative childhood, and that access to arts empowers people, brings joy and supports a cohesive society.


Stratford Circus Arts Centre is committed to working with schools to ensure access to arts and culture is intrinsic to their students’ learning journey particularly at a time when space for creativity in the classroom is increasin gly being squeezed.


“We have recently delivered the fifth year of the Every Child a Theatre Goer scheme in partnership with Newham Council. The scheme allows the chance for every Year 6 child in the borough to see a world-class piece of theatre for free, and over the last five years more than 23,000 children and their teachers have benefited.


“This is an initiative that we are immensely proud of and makes a strong statement that


every child in this borough has a right to access the best art that this country has to offer,


regardless of their circumstances. It has become a flagship project for Stratford Circus Arts Centre, and epitomises our mission of bringing the highest quality work to our local audiences. “We want the experience of visiting our


oj


theatre to impart confidence that it is a place to which they can come back and explore more, or use as a stepping stone to connect with the many other cultural institutions in this city.We want children to feel engaged and entertained, challenged, and welcome in our building. For many of the children who come to Every Child a Theatre Goer, this is their first ever experience of theatre, so it needs to be great! So far children have seen productions including (internationally renowned) Akram Khan Company’s Chotto Des h and the National Theatre’s modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet. This year we commissioned a brand-new piece, Gyre & Gimble’s and Fuel's The HartlepoolMonkey.


“At a time when local government budgets are being slashed and schools are struggling to resource creative education opportunities, retaining a borough-wide initiative like this is significant. It is something that we are committed to making the most of for our audiences -


delivering maximum value for the Council and the schools.


“Building on this belief that every child


deserves access to a rich cultural education, and with the knowledge that schools are often the gatekeepers for children to have creative experiences but equally have a huge amount of other pressing priorities, we have developed the Creative Schools programme in partnership with a number of other east London arts organisations. The programme has built a network of schools and cultural organisations in east London who have an ambition to work more effectively together to reach more children and young people in a deeper way. This includes a brokerage service which works with schools to assess their individual improvement needs and match them effectively with arts projects and organisations in the local area that can genuinely meet these needs. Alongside this we facilitate networking events and symposia for members to come


30 www.education-today.co.uk.co.uk www Decembe r 2017 2017


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