The DTEA calls for MPs to support children in theatre

Join the DTEA, schools, colleges, universities arts centres and theatres across the UK for a celebration of theatre and drama on 18th March, 2022.

The DTEA calls for MPs to support children in theatre

Now, more than ever, we need to get the message about the value of Drama and Theatre Education with children and young people to the Government, MPs and school governors.

Drama in schools and universities in England is in crisis. Between 2010 and 2017 there was a 24% drop in students taking GCSE Drama. The government has reneged on promised funding for arts subjects in schools and slashed funding in higher education. The Covid pandemic has had a devastating impact upon theatres that produce work for young audiences.  

Drama and Theatre with children and young people matters!

On 18th March, we are asking teachers in schools, lecturers in universities and drama schools, youth theatre practitioners and learning officers in theatres and arts organisations to invite their local MP to come and visit them with the aim of involving all 533 English MPs. We are aiming to have one event in each constituency, and we encourage you to tailor the invitation to meet your local circumstances and passions.

The invitation, which would ideally come from the children and young people themselves, could be to attend either new or existing work, such as:

  • A short performance by children and young people in a school
  • A cross-curricular drama project in a school.
  • A drama-centred assembly
  •  A youth theatre performance in a local theatre or community setting
  • A student production (or extract) in a university, perhaps with a local school invited to attend
  • A professional performance for children, young people and families in a theatre, school, library or community setting.
"Children need to go to the theatre as much as they need to run about in the fresh air. They need to hear real music played by real musicians on real instruments as much as they need food and drink. They need to read and listen to proper stories as much as they need to be loved and cared for. 
The difficulty with persuading grown-up people about this is that if you deprive children of shelter and kindness and food and drink and exercise, they die visibly; whereas if you deprive them of art and music and story and theatre, they perish on the inside, and it doesn't show.” - Sir Philip Pullman

Key objectives of the alliance: 

  • The inclusion in the curriculum of Drama as a Foundation Subject with the same status as Art and Music;
  • The entitlement of every child to at least one annual engagement with professional theatre.
  • A drama curriculum and theatre repertoire that is more representative of the UK population.

Get involved

  1. Check whether your MP has been invited.

  2. If your MP is not listed, Invite them to your school, university or theatre. Use this link to find your local MP.

  3. View our template invitation letter in Microsoft word or PDF

  4. Register at Eventbrite. Help us track of your event by supplying as much information as possible when registering.

  5. Invite your local newspaper or radio station.

  6. Post about your event on social media and in newsletters to your community. See our sample social posts template here.

  7. Download and print the Drama, Theatre and Young People Manifesto and petition to hand to your MP 
  8. Film the event and send it to us [email protected]. Please seek the permission of parents of any children filmed. If activities are affected by Covid restrictions, please send filmed drama and theatre to MP’s in lieu of a personal visit.

  9. Let us know how it went by replying to the email we will send you on 21st March.  

  10. After the nationwide events on 18th March, we will work with to create a petition demanding that DTEA’s three objectives are debated in Parliament.

Friday 18th March is timed to coincide with World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People on 20 March.

Header Image Credit: DTEA


Saskia Calliste

Saskia Calliste Voice Team

Saskia is the Deputy Editor of Voice and has worked on campaigns such as International Women’s Day, Black History Month, and Anti-Bullying Week. Outside of Voice, Saskia is a published author (Hairvolution) and has guest featured in various other publications (The Women Writers’ Handbook/ Cosmopolitan/ The Highlight). She has a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism and an MA in Publishing. She is a mentor for Women of the World Global, has guest lectured at the University of Roehampton and has led seminars/panel talks on Race, Equality and Diversity. She was a 2022 Guest Judge for Dave (TV Channel) in search of the 'Joke of the Fringe'. She is 27-years-old, based in London, and loves to cook and explore new places in her spare time.

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