Miliband promises arts at the heart of Labour government

Ed Miliband has said that Labour will ‘put policy for arts and culture and creativity at the heart of the Labour government’s mission’ if the party gains power in this year’s general election. The Labour leader was speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre.

‘Britain will be a prouder, richer, stronger country when we give everybody the opportunity to develop their creativity, expand their horizons, enhance their talents and make a life for themselves in the arts and culture: old and young, rich and poor, north and south.’

Despite his backing of arts and culture, Miliband would not confirm that there would be no further cuts to the arts, saying: ‘I can’t make promises about what funding’s going to look like in the future.’

Ed Miliband speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre (Credit: Ian Watts)

Ed Miliband speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre (Credit: Ian Watts)

In his speech, Miliband also quoted from the Warwick Commission’s report, and said: ‘If we care about the opportunities for the young, the findings of the Warwick Commission should worry us all.

‘The next Labour government’s mission is to guarantee every young person, from whatever background, access to the arts and culture: a universal entitlement to a creative education for every child.’

In Miliband’s speech, Labour backed the Warwick Commission’s recommendation that schools will only be able to receive an ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted if they offer creative subjects and cultural opportunities within a broad and balanced curriculum.

Other policies announced during the speech included: strengthening creative education in schools by encouraging afterschool clubs to offer music, drama, dance, art, sport or other creative activities; building better career pathways into the arts and creative industries by increasing the number of apprenticeships; and widening free access to museums and galleries.

New theatre to be built in heart of West End

Westminster City Council has approved plans for a new theatre to be built in central London. The yet- to-be-named venue will be the first new theatre to join the West End in 30 years.

The project is being undertaken by Nimax Theatres, owners of the Apollo, Duchess, Garrick, Lyric and Vaudeville Theatres. Nimax have also recently acquired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Palace Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue.

Chief executive of Nimax, Nica Burns, told the Finical Times about her excitement for the project: ‘I’m delighted that this beautiful theatre has gone on to the next stage of its development. It will add greatly to the potential of London theatre making. I didn’t want it to compete with other theatres. I wanted it to offer a different space for London in a fabulous location for actors and directors.’

The new state-of-the-art theatre venue will be constructed on top of Tottenham Court Road Station, which is currently undergoing redevelopment. Work on the theatre is expected to begin in 2017.

Plans for the interior of the building have also been revealed. The theatre’s design will allow for a variation of performance spaces to be created. There will be facilities for productions to perform in the round and in a horseshoe configuration. The theatre is expected to accommodate up to 500 visitors.