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Josie Lawrence: ‘Cuts to the arts in schools is criminal’

Josie Lawrence. Photo: Ruth Crafer
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Comedian and actor Josie Lawrence has slammed “criminal” cuts to the arts in education.

The performer, whose recent theatre credits include Mother Courage and Her Children at the Donmar Warehouse, said the decline of arts subjects in schools was the issue she would most like to see addressed in 2019.

Lawrence was speaking at the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards 2019, where she presented an award.

“I get very worried when people want to cut funding to the arts in education, because to me that’s where it all began; with my drama teacher,” she told The Stage.

“I also know a lot of young people who, while improvising in school, in their drama classes, learned to open up in a way they wouldn’t be allowed to otherwise.”

Lawrence added: “It’s more than just ‘oh I want to be a star’, it’s about life itself, and to cut the funding to music, to deprive a child of the chance to sing or to speak out is criminal, so I’d like to see more funding put back into the arts.”

Her comments follow similar concerns from industry figures including writer James Graham and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Last year, Prince Charles called for every child in the UK to have access to the arts at an event organised by his charity Children and the Arts, which was attended by arts leaders including Benedict Cumberbatch and Lenny Henry.

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