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10,000 children to benefit from new £5m performing arts programme

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has announced that the BRIT School, BBC North and the Lowry Trust will partner with schools in five regions of England in a new Youth Performance Partnerships programme.

Projects in Croydon, Derby, Medway, Plymouth and Salford will offer children the chance to perform drama and dance and learn behind-the-scenes skills including lighting, sound and set design. Rap, performance and creative writing are also part of the £5m programme, which will particularly focus on engaging young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Announcing the programme, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said:

‘As I know from my own experience, performing on stage can be transformative for young people. It can boost self esteem, build confidence and teach skills they will use throughout their lives.

‘While I’ve seen first hand some of the excellent work by schools and theatre groups, too many children around the country still do not have the opportunity to take part either on stage or behind the scenes.

‘Our Youth Performance Partnerships will give thousands of young people the chance to work directly with world-class cultural organisations and inspire the next generation of playwrights, actors or producers.
The Culture Secretary made the announcement during a visit to the BRIT School, Croydon.

Overseen by Arts Council England, one partnership was selected in the North, the Midlands, the South West, the South East and London, chosen from proposals from areas where the level of young people engaging in the arts, culture and theatre are low and where there are fewer opportunities for young people to take part in performance were prioritised.

Darren Henley, Arts Council England CEO, said:

‘Taking part in performances, whether on stage or behind the scenes, has huge benefits for children. They can express themselves, boost their mental health and wellbeing through creativity, and learn about career paths they might never have considered before. We’re very pleased that the government is making these benefits more widely available to young people from all backgrounds through Youth Performance Partnerships.’

Header photo: Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright at the Brit School © Brit School