Funding crisis in arts education may starve talent, warn top directors

London [UK], April 02 (ANI): Few months back, the Britsh stage triumphed with West End's 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'.

But according to two award-winning directors, such a triumphant thing could become a thing of past if full funding of arts education is not restored, reports The Guardian.

Artistic director of the Royal Court theatre in London, Vicky Featherstone, and the Olivier-nominated John Tiffany, director and co-creator of the record-breaking 'Harry Potter' play, fear that a wide range of talent will be lost to the generation, if these current trends continue.

"A director like John would never have made it if he'd been starting out now. He would not become a director and then a show like the Cursed Child would not exist. I feel really strongly about making this clear," said Featherstone.

Both believe that all the potential performers and directors from less privileged backgrounds and from outside London will no longer have access to training and opportunities.

While talking to Observer magazine, Vicky Featherstone shared, "It would be impossible now for someone with a background like John's, near Huddersfield. He was able to take a wide range of arts subjects, as well as Latin, at his comprehensive school and was then able to do classics at university."

She feels the positive impact of an injection of government money into arts education nearly two decades ago would soon end.

Even with the best will in the world, she argued, regional and London theatre companies could not be expected to take up all the work once done by schools.

"I am happy to go into schools and I do fundamentally believe any arts organisation with public funding should have education right at its core. But we should not be doing it just because national funding of arts education is in retreat. The problems come when we are hooked up to education schemes that we haven't created, just to get funded. That is actually outrageous," she said.

In 2000, about 25m GBP was poured into British theatres, followed the publication of a report by Peter Boyden Associates for the Arts Council of England.

"We are still living off that," said Featherstone, but we can't for much longer."

Tiffany gave evidence to a House of Lords inquiry into barriers in education last month. He said he believed the path he took into theatre had now been shut down. Last week his production of the first stage show to be based on JK Rowling's wizard series picked up a record number of Olivier award nominations.

New figures compiled by the House of Commons library for Tom Watson shows that number of art, music and drama teachers has fallen by 3,500 since 2010 and there are now 600 fewer music teachers, 1,200 fewer art and design teachers and 1,700 fewer drama teachers.

The number of hours of art, drama and music taught has fallen by almost 38,000 in the same time.

Yet the creative industries now account for one in every 17 jobs and are thought to be worth 87bn GBP per year to the country. (ANI)