London borough to give every under 11 free theatre trip

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Southwark scheme pledges £500,000.

 Southwark councillors are to provide every primary school child in the borough with a free theatre ticket.

The council has agreed to pledge £500,000 a year for the scheme, which is open to 20,000 children aged between five and eleven.

The scheme will be available at 30 theatres, including 19 in Southwark itself. A digital platform will promote connect schools and theatres to identify and match existing free and discounted theatre ticket schemes. The programme will focus particularly on schools that do not have a history of visiting the theatre and those in areas of higher deprivation, says the council.

Cllr 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. From Shakespeare’s Globe, to The Bridge, Theatre Peckham and The Blue Elephant, the cultural landscape in Southwark is incredibly rich and reflective of the diverse communities they serve. 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.

She added, “It is now widely understood that early cultural interventions, such as this programme, can shape outcomes in later life. It’s highly likely that providing arts engagement for very young children will have a significant impact on their engagement and aspirations in later life.”

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