As we've started to see, however, it isn't always as easy as that. It seems that half a decade of being told by our government that the arts aren't worth a jot has managed to engrain within our education system that 'our funding won't quite stretch that far, as much as we'd like it to'. Subsequently, what is often the only theatre many children ever get to experience is denied to them. And whether it's 'AndOn Theatre or any other arts organisation that's being turned away, it just isn't on.
Don't get me wrong, we have a number of schools booked up over the coming months, and plenty of others that I'm sure budget Theatre In Education (TIE) into their annual budget, but it seems to me that when tightening the curricular purse-strings, the arts are time and again the first to go.
'And it becomes rather a vicious circle. We would happily offer (and have in the past) workshops and performances to schools and arts organisations for free, or else in exchange for an opportunity to hear some feedback on our work, but as a small business, we can only offer so much. We then find ourselves in a position where we are only able to deliver our work in some schools with the help of organisations such as Arts Council England, who are under pressure from cuts themselves. We've been lucky so far, and grateful to be so, but a few years down the line, are we still to be in the same position? Unable to grow our business for want of sharing what we have with those young people who would otherwise never have it? Or do we give up on education all together? Or perhaps only engage on an extra-curricular level? All valid proposals, I suppose, but how do primary school-aged children up and down the country gain access to creative expression while we all figure it out? Or perhaps their PlayStations and X-Boxes are enough to tick that box? Who knows.
Fairly Tales was explicitly created to engage with young artists and creative minds UK-wide. We may have reached somewhat of an impasse on a local level, but we 'll keep looking and asking as far afield as we can. We just love what we do, and want to share what we love. It just seems the politics of it all is stopping us from doing so.