The threat facing humanities and the arts
As a retired drama teacher of many years’ experience, I wholeheartedly agree with all that Dr Geoff Readman says (Letters, 6 May). Over the years many parents questioned the place of drama in the curriculum, saying: “I do not want my child to go on stage.” I would then explain that the purpose of drama in schools was not to produce the actors of tomorrow, but rather to give every student the opportunity to explore a wide range of issues. The hope and intention was to help young people to grow in self-confidence and to enable them to express their opinions in a thoughtful, articulate and challenging fashion. Perhaps it was this aspect that worried the authorities.
All the world may be a stage, but there are those who are only happy if we stick to an acceptable script; they do not want too many hecklers.
• Dr Readman (quoting Mark Rylance) was so right regarding the teaching of drama in schools. It should be noted that the favouring of Stem subjects to the detriment of humanities in our universities is also cause for concern. Staff in various English, history, theology and archaeology departments have recently been threatened with redundancy. Lecturers feel that it is only a matter of time before these departments close for good and non-Russell Group institutions revert to technical colleges.
Many vice-chancellors come from a business background and run their universities as such, preferring to spend money on property rather than on scholarship and deny working-class students (who may have a limited choice of universities) the opportunity to study the arts. You don’t need an Eton education to appreciate Homer and Virgil.
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