Southwark Council has pledged £500,000 to create an arts programme to ensure primary schoolchildren aged between five and 11 get a free visit to the theatre every year.
The borough offers the world-famous venue of Shakespeare’s Globe and has 19 theatres including smaller, experimental venues such as Theatre Peckham and Blue Elephant Theatre, in Camberwell.
It is home to the Unicorn Theatre, designed specifically for young audiences, and the 900-seat Bridge Theatre that opened in 2017 managed by former National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner.
The council’s aim is to provide arts engagement for thousands of the borough’s young people, and is committed to creating a digital platform that will connect schools and theatres to identity free and discounted theatre tickets.
Councillor Rebecca Lury, cabinet member for culture, leisure, equalities and communities, said: “We are extremely lucky to be a borough that benefits so much from its creative community.
“We know that the benefits of a rich cultural environment are significant, bringing together social and generational groups, increasing interactions amongst communities, and providing a way to share knowledge and skills.
“Our programme to introduce a free trip to the theatre for every primary school child embodies our approach and commitment to recognising the importance that culture plays in creating and sustaining our borough.”
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