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Guys and Dolls star Sophie Thompson blames ‘idiotic’ government for marginalising arts in schools

Sophie Thompson (centre) in Guys and Dolls at the Savoy Theatre. Photo: Paul Coltas Sophie Thompson (centre) in Guys and Dolls at the Savoy Theatre. Photo: Paul Coltas
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Olivier award-winning actor Sophie Thompson has criticised the “off-the-scale idiotic” government for marginalising the arts in schools.

The performer, currently starring in Guys and Dolls in the West End, said the government was failing to recognise how important the arts are to young people, particularly those who are less academic.

She said the arts was “marginalised” in all areas, but most notably in schools, which she said left less academic students feeling as though studying the arts was not a viable option.

“To underestimate what the arts means in any cultural space is madness. It makes me very angry, actually,” she said, adding: “It happens in schools. There is this stripping away – they say ‘that’s not important’ and that we need maths and we need this and that, so the arts get marginalised all the time.”

The actor, who won an Olivier in 1999 for her performance in Into the Woods at the Donmar Warehouse, said she was not very good at school and claimed others like her were being made to feel that drama was less important than other subjects.

Speaking to The Stage at the opening night of Guys and Dolls at the Savoy Theatre, she said: “For people like me who were rubbish at school, and left as soon as possible, and couldn’t do school or work that way – and there are thousands upon thousands of them – they feel marginalised too, as the arts is made to feel less important than anything else. And it isn’t.”

Thompson added: “It’s equally as important, and a government that doesn’t recognise that – and this government doesn’t – is off-the-scale idiotic. It makes me incredibly full of rage. It’s madness. They’re idiots.”

Thompson’s comment comes as campaigners continue to call for the inclusion of arts subjects in the main curriculum.

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