Join leading figures from UK theatre and education to debate the urgent issue of creative arts provision in schools.


About this event

Starts: Friday 20 April 2018 2:00 PM

Ends: Friday 20 April 2018 5:00 PM

At: Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EP

Organised by: Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Following a BBC survey revealing widespread cuts to arts subjects over the past few years  across UK schools, leading figures from the worlds of theatre and education are meeting at The REP to debate this important issue. Taking part in the Big Arts & Education Debate is This House playwright James Graham; Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director of Tricycle Theatre; Cassie Chadderton, Head of UK Theatre; Ammo Talwar, CEO of Punch Records; Christine Quinn,West Midlands Regional Schools Commissioner; Pauline Tambling CBE, CEO of Creative & Cultural Skills and Tim Boyes CEO of Birmingham Education Partnership.

The event will be open to teachers, practitioners, educators and young people. It will be chaired by Steve Ball, Associate Director at The REP, and theatre practitioner, Carl Woodward.  

“The disappearance of arts from state education is the most urgent conversation we should be having as an industry.  It's been vanishing quietly by stealth for the last 3 years and it is in all our interests to have a healthy and open debate whereby we interrogate and remind ourselves and others about its benefits to all. The Big Arts and Education Debate is just the start.”
James Graham

“Since 2010 there has been a 28% drop in the number of children taking creative GCSEs, with a similar drop in the number of creative arts teachers being trained. These diminishing opportunities for children and young people are a real concern and I look forward to bringing together the worlds of theatre and education to discuss the issues.”
Steve Ball

Book for this event and save £5 off tickets for This House on 20 April. (Subject to availability.)

The Panellists

  • Tim Boyes, CEO of Birmingham Education Partnership
    Formerly the first Chair of the Birmingham Education Partnership, Tim has been an NLE and a Birmingham Headteacher from 2003 to 2016. At Queensbridge School his leadership yielded a rich legacy of innovative curriculum contributing to it being one of the first Character Award winners in 2015, specialising in visual and performing arts and leadership. Tim has also led on the setting up of an alternative provision Free School, serving 14 secondary schools in the south of Birmingham.
  • Cassie Chadderton, Head of UK Theatre
    Cassie grew up in Birmingham, and started her career in publishing, working with a wide range of artists and authors. As Director of Media and Stakeholder Relations for Arts Council England she led communications and engagement programmes that made a difference to our cultural landscape. She is a Trustee for Future Talent, a charity that supports gifted young musicians from low-income backgrounds. She is also on the Board of the National Campaign for the Arts.  
  • James Graham, Playwright
    James Graham is an Olivier Award nominated playwright, his most recent theatre work includes Labour of Love(Noël Coward Theatre), Ink (Almeida Theatre and Duke of York's Theatre), This House (National Theatre and Garrick Theatre), and Monster Raving Loony (Theatre Royal Plymouth and Soho Theatre). James was Writer in Residence at the Finborough Theatre and his first feature film X+Y was released in 2015.
  • Christine Quinn, Regional Schools Commissioner for West Midlands
    Christine Quinn was appointed Regional Schools Commissioner for West Midlands in October 2016. Before her appointment, Christine was CEO of Ninestiles Academy Trust, having previously worked as a headteacher and a National Leader of Education.
  • Indhu Rubasigham, Artistic Director of Tricycle Theatre
    Born in Sheffield to Sri Lankan Tamil parents in 1970, Indhu Rubasingham began her career as a director, assisting Mike Leigh at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. In 2012 she became the first non-white woman to run a major London theatre when she took over the Tricycle in Kilburn. Successes during her tenure include Lolita Chakrabarti's Red Velvet, Moira Buffini's Handbagged and Florian Zeller's The Father.
  • Ammo Talwar MBE, CEO of Punch Records
    Music entrepreneur Ammo Talwar started Punch as a specialist record shop and a hub for local DJs. His leadership and vision built the company into an award-winning music agency; working internationally and in partnership with leading private and public sector companies to support music and innovation. He received an MBE for contributions to music and young people.
  • Pauline Tambling CBE, CEO of Creative & Cultural Skills
    Pauline is Chief Executive of Creative & Cultural Skills, the UK sector skills council for craft, design, cultural heritage, music, performing arts, literature and the visual arts. Creative & Cultural Skills runs the National Skills Academy, a national network of Further Education Colleges working with the creative industries. Previously Pauline set up and ran the Royal Opera's Education Programme and worked in senior roles at Arts Council England. She is a trustee of the Roundhouse. Pauline was awarded a CBE for services to education and training in the cultural sector. 
  • Steve Ball, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Birmingham Hippodrome
    Steve trained as a teacher and taught in Essex and Barcelona before training as an actor at the Welsh College of Music and Drama. He worked for a number of children's theatre and theatre in education companies before coming to Birmingham in 1986 and founding Language Alive! and Catalyst, two of the region's leading  educational theatre companies. He has also worked as a writer and producer and was previously Head of Arts for Birmingham City Council, before moving to Birmingham Repertory Theatre to head their Learning and Participation team.
  • Carl Woodward
    Carl Woodward has an established history of working in youth theatre and education settings delivering inclusive creative learning for all ages. Over the years his writing has appeared in publications like Arts Professional, The Stage, The Big Issue, UK Theatre Magazine and The Independent. He is a lecturer in theatre at University of Chichester and teaches in media and community theatre studies.

For further information please contact Clare Jepson-Homer on 0121 245 2072 /[email protected]

Notes to Editors:
The findings of the BBC Survey of schools can be found here:


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