The arts magazine for teachers

As we embark on a new academic year, getting to grips with EBacc and 9 to 1’s, there are continued worrying reports on the significant decline in the number of students taking arts subjects and consequently, of course, schools having to cut unsustainable arts courses from their curriculum. The latest set of GCSE results indicate the uptake of Performing/Expressive Arts courses down by as much as 17% and Drama by 9% on the previous year. Unless this trend is halted soon, studying performing and creative arts subjects will only be available to the privileged few. Given the considerable contribution the creative industries make to both the economy – estimated at around £87 billion a year – and to the cultural fabric of society, let us hope the government can be made to reconsider its position, and soon, before the position becomes irreversible. If you would like to lend your support to the campaign for a rethink, check out #baccforthefuture

Set against this backdrop, there are a number of bright spots to report; with new courses opening – such as the Trestle School of Drama, offering weekly classes for 4-21 year olds – apprenticeships at Shakespeare’s Globe, the formation of the Federation of Drama Schools to promote high-quality training and the opening of a new theatre, Bridge Theatre, in London this autumn.

In this issue of Ink Pellet, our Big Interview is with Chris Hocking, as he takes over at the top at ArtsEd, we preview the annual Into Film festival and look at the benefits of Opera in education, plus look at how poetry is taught and highlight a new training initiative for aspiring actors.

If you or your pupils would like to attend a show or event to write a review or feature for Ink Pellet, please get in touch in the usual ways. It is usually possible to arrange press tickets on your behalf, given sufficient warning! If this appeals, please contact me by email, john@inkpellet.co.uk, with an outline proposal.

John

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF… Katy Lipson

 

Katy Lipson, 32, has produced over 50 shows, mostly musical theatre. Few school and college students really understand what producing is and what a crucial part of the theatre industry it is. They could learn a lot from the hardworking Katy, as Susan Elkin discovers.

Book Review: Great Shakespeare Actors

 

By Stanley Wells Published by Oxford University Press Subtitled “from Burbage to Branagh” this book – which manages to be both scholarly and entertaining – introduces us to the finest exponents of Shakespeare across four centuries. I agree with Roy Hattersley that the ever-prolific Stanley Wells is certainly “our greatest authority on Shakespeare’s life and [...]

THEATRE REVIEW: Fiddler on the Roof – Chichester Festival Theatre

THEATRE REVIEW: Fiddler on the Roof – Chichester Festival Theatre  

It’s a pity therefore that this production of a fine musical doesn’t always feel as sparky as it should. One senses that – the dancers in the wedding scene for instance – are still mentally reading their choreography notes. And far too many performers – Tracy-Ann Oberman as Golde for instance – have been cast [...]

Rules of engagement

Rules of engagement  

The Royal Exchange Theatre is an iconic landmark in the heart of Manchester with a strong pedigree of plays and a close link to its schools and communities. Mark Glover spoke to the organisation’s new Director of Learning and Engagement Inga Hirst about reaching out to those beyond the bright lights of the city.

EXHIBITION: Casting shadows

EXHIBITION: Casting shadows  

Graham Hooper looks at the work of award-winning sculptor Rachel Whiteread, whose work is on show at Tate Britain from 12 Sept – 21 Jan

Confidence-boosting Shakespeare for special children

Confidence-boosting Shakespeare for special children  

This term, 99 special schools will be taking part in the annual Shakespeare Schools Festival out of a total of just over 1000 schools of all types. Susan Elkin found out more.

Sunshine through the clouds

Sunshine  through the clouds  

How important is it to teach young people that life isn’t always perfect and what role can fiction play in gently conveying this message? Mark Glover spoke to author Matt Haig about how the bad times in his novels are just as important as the good ones.

Edu-lissimo!

Edu-lissimo!  

Opera companies are engaging with more young people and schools, utilising the varied learning opportunities offered. Susan Elkin extolls the benefits of opera in education.

On the job theatre training

On the job theatre training  

A new initiative offering on the job theatre training for aspiring young actors is starting in January. Susan Elkin found out more and advises you take a closer look.

All change please

All change please  

Karen Latto spent seven years teaching before becoming a subject specialist for OCR, overseeing the new GCSE syllabus for drama which came into classrooms last year. Mark Glover spoke to her about her career, the challenges of instigating a specification and how digital theatre allows more students across the UK to take GCSE drama.