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Third of secondary schools sign up to National Theatre’s streaming service

The National Theatre. Photo: Philip Vile

A third of all secondary state schools in the UK have signed up to a free National Theatre initiative that allows students to watch the venue’s productions in a classroom.

The news comes as the NT rolls out the scheme to primary schools in the UK.

On Demand in Schools [1] is an initiative that provides screenings of the NT’s curriculum-linked productions free of charge to schools. Productions are recorded in high definition in front of an audience and made available for schools to stream for free.

The first phase, On Demand in Schools Secondary, was launched a year ago.

Alice King-Farlow, director of learning at the NT, said: “On Demand in Schools Secondary has seen over a third of state schools across the UK sign up to the initiative in just one year. That success has confirmed our belief that teachers across the UK are passionate about giving young people access to inspirational theatre and embedding the arts as a vital part of the curriculum.”

On Demand in Schools Primary begins with Treasure Island [2].

Actor and NT board member Lenny Henry has launched the scheme and said: “The National Theatre was founded with a mission to educate as well as entertain, and many of us working in the arts can remember an experience at school as the ignition to their career or enduring passion for the art form.”

He added: “If we can engage schoolchildren in the arts from an early age, the evidence tells us that they will have an interest in, and desire to, engage in the arts throughout their lifetime.”