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National Theatre boss Sir Nicholas Hytner has a message for new Culture Secretary Maria Miller and it’s one she doesn’t want to hear.
Hytner will tell her that a Government that slashes arts budgets and demands that that organisations like the NT go cap in hand for private funding, is a Government that is squandering the nation’s theatrical heritage.
He has pointed out that the National and other institutions like the British Museum and Tate are good at finding backers simply because they have the bedrock support of the Government in the first place.
Ms Miller, part of a Coalition that has already cut arts council budgets by 30 per cent, has incensed arts leaders by demanding that they become “better askers” and find private companies and philanthropists to stump up the readies
But the National has already seen a cut subsidy that amounts to 15 per cent in real terms over the past four years. Hytner fears that more cuts could spell the start of long-term decline.
He has a point. Imagine you’re a multi-millionaire do gooder seeking to lavish a large sum of money on a worthwhile institution. I suspect you’d be far more inclined to reach for your cheque book if a place was already endorsed by the Government with a solid cash investment.
Sidelining the arts in the English baccalaureate will damage Britain’s creative potential says Lloyd Webber
Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber – a regular Clive Conway Productions performer – is among leading figures from the arts who are warning that pressures on pupils to attain the English baccalaureate could destroy Britain’s creative economy. They say the Government’s decision to exclude arts subjects from the core qualification for 16-years-olds will have a devastating impact on the country’s cultural life within a generation.
Lloyd Webber, who described the decision to sideline the arts in education as “crazy and bizarre”, lent his voice to the protest highlighted in today’s Guardian. Other vocal opponents of the move include the potter Grayson Perry, National Theatre director Sir Nicholas Hytner, architect Lord Richard Rogers, playwright Sir David Hare and Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota.
They fear that arts subjects will become marginalised unless their importance is recognised and they count towards the Ebacc. At present the qualification which was introduced in 2010 requires pupils to achieve GCSE grade C or above in English, maths, a language, two sciences plus either history or geography. Music, art, drama and design subjects do not count and the take up level in those subjects is already in decline.
Despite an insistence from the Department of Education that the Ebacc does not prevent any schools from offering GCSE’s in arts subjects, the fear is that the arts will become an elitist middle class pursuits less and less readily available to state school children.