Playwrights fight to keep performing arts in schools.

‘Patrick Marber and James Graham, two of Britain’s most highly regarded playwrights, are calling for drama to keep its place in schools, ahead of a parliamentary debate on curriculum changes.

“We need to underline how dangerous it would be for education if you turn it into a fact-gathering exercise, with no space for children to make emotional or creative sense of their lives,” said Graham, 33, acclaimed for his 2012 play This House, and last year for The Vote, set in a polling station and televised live on general election night.

MPs are to debate the impact of the introduction of the so-called EBacc on the teaching of creative subjects in schools. The EBacc is a general qualification, to be rolled out across secondary schools, that requires pupils to study a basic list of compulsory subjects, including English, maths, the sciences and a language. The two writers said any attempt to separate theatre and acting from the more conventional academic subjects was wrongheaded. The debate was called when the number of signatories to an online petition set up by a former drama teacher, Richard M Wilson, broke through the 100,000 threshold.

Both playwrights believe drama is also a crucial tool for learning and understanding the basics of British social and cultural history. “I am not against promoting the core subjects, but not at the expense of the creative arts,” said Marber, 51. “We need to inspire children from a young age. Performance and storytelling are ancient arts, they provide the oldest kind of education known to humankind.”’ - Guardian


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