Prince Charles is “very concerned” about the decline of the arts in schools, the chief executive of one of his charities said, as the Prince attended a conference on the issue, organised at his request.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Wanamaker, and the designer Dame Vivienne Westwood were among those who gathered at the Royal Albert Hall to discuss the issue.
Rosie Millard, a former BBC arts correspondent, who runs Charles’s Children and The Arts organisation, said the event was “the next stage” in a campaign to “increase and stop the general slide of arts and creativity in schools for children and young people”.
Ms Millard, who chaired Hull 2017, the organisation which oversaw its year as City of Culture last year, said: “The prince is very concerned about it and he wanted to have this day to bring together educationalists, politicians and arts leaders, artists and people to whom this matters and for whom arts has been their life.”
Charles founded Children and The Arts to reach young people in communities which may otherwise miss out on creative and cultural experiences.
“The Prince of Wales is aware that he has had an amazing life and because of his position has outstanding access to arts and creativity,” Ms Millard said.
“When he was a young boy he was taken by the Queen Mother to see the Bolshoi Ballet and to see Shakespeare and he said he didn’t really understand it, but he was aware of the magic of arts performance and the magic, beauty and creativity of culture.”
She said that parents needed to be reassured that doing an art or music A-level would not result in their child “starving in a garret”.
Mr Lloyd Webber denounced financial cuts to the arts in education, saying the reduced funding was “ludicrous”.
But he said the issue was also “about the attitude of teachers and about them feeling that they want to empower kids to see and enjoy the arts in the widest possible form.”