Eddie Izzard and Kevin Spacey promote free theatres tickets for young people

Contributed by editor on Feb 12, 2009 - 02:00 AM

The Prosser Perspective.... a weekly column from Dover and Deal MP Gwyn

12 February 2009

Just about all of our secondary schools in Dover and Deal have
some sort of specialty status nowadays but long before it became
part of the Government’s education policy some schools – good
schools like Astor were already concentrating on their special
subjects and celebrating their pupil’s talents.

Astor can be proud that it was made Kent's first specialist College
for the Visual Arts and this recognition by the Government allowed
them new opportunities to further hone their specialities in the
visual and performing arts. You’ve only got to view their gallery or
watch the enthusiasm of their stage performances to appreciate how
much local talent we’ve got in Dover.

Amongst the myriad of new initiatives revealed at the Labour Party
Conference was an announcement by Secretary of State, Andy Burnham
that he was encouraging theatres to offer free tickets to young
people. At the time I imagined he was planning a small scale program
confined to the capital but this week he has announced that over 200
theatres up and down the country have signed up to the new scheme
and they are offering 618,000 free tickets for under 26 year olds
over the next two years.

Theatres from Sunderland to Southampton and from Blackpool to
Barnsley are taking part in the scheme but the good news for us in
East Kent is that our own Marlow Theatre in Canterbury is

I have seen myself how positively young people respond to the
theatre, and the Marlow has a really good reputation for putting on
first class productions. This scheme will allow young people in
Dover & Deal who might ordinarily be unable to visit the theatre or
who might never have considered doing so to experience some of these
brilliant productions.

To help promote our scheme we have the wholesome support of top
celebrities like Eddie Izzard and Kevin Spacey and they’ve made a
great little video clip which can be downloaded from website below.

Labour has always believed in making the best in life available to
everyone. We all know how a visit to the theatre can be a
life-changing experience, and it’s incredibly exciting to imagine
our theatres full to bursting point with young people.

Free theatre tickets is a great idea, and especially welcome during
these tough financial times. We have a great British theatrical
tradition and I very much hope that young people in my constituency
take advantage of this offer.

This scheme allows us to unlock seats that might otherwise have
remained empty, giving us good value for money, as well as ensuring
we open up theatre to as many people as possible.

In the same way we opened up and provided free access to our great
museums and galleries, we are now extending this principal through
to the performing arts, and I recommend people view the video clip
and contact the Marlow Theatre as soon as possible to get their free