Prospero: a manifesto for drama in in the digital century

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These are challenging times for theatre and the arts in education. For the first time, in the UK, the number of entrants for A Level Theatre Studies has dropped below 10,000. Polling suggests three quarters of parents would prefer their children to study Maths at degree level rather than an arts discipline. Recent Arts Council England research shows that whilst children and young people value the arts (with drama amongst the most popular) societal and systemic pressures are limiting their capacity to explore their creative potential.

By contrast all around us, we are witnessing an explosion of creativity. The digital revolution is driving new arts practices, the creative industries are experiencing exponential growth, levels of public participation and engagement in creativity through social media continue to rise and streaming platforms such as Netflix, Prime, Disney + and Apple TV + proliferate. Drama is all around us.

There is either a deep irony in this mismatch, or a great opportunity for those of us who believe in the power of drama and creativity to inspire, educate and empower. Prospero is about the latter: opportunity.

At Prospero we believe that the processes, techniques and methodologies that are the vocabulary of theatre should help set the course for innovation in this digital century. We want to drive the direction of change, not be a passenger. We aim to do this in three ways.

Firstly, use this blog and podcast as a way of discussing and profiling exciting developments and possibilities in the fields of drama, technology and learning. We will want to show some of the things we are developing and thinking about here at Prospero but we also want to give others a platform too. If you have an idea for a blog post or a story or practice that would make an interesting podcast, please get in touch. We will do our best to make it happen.

Secondly we want to build a community of artists, educators and community facilitators who share our interests so we can support each other in our work, whatever the context or geographic location (we want to be truly global).

Finally - and most importantly - we want to be a place for the creation and sharing of practice. Prospero first and foremost is about making and sharing great learning resources. This is not a place for pure academic reflection - though we welcome such thinking - its a place for exploration, experimentation and discovery. We want Prospero to become a valued and valuable library of high quality theatre, arts and kinaesthetic learning created by practitioners who have something to offer and share. You can use Prospero as a bank of resources to use in your classroom or workshop or you can become an active producer of content, sharing your expertise and interests to our growing community of schools, universities, arts and cultural organisations.

Please join us and become part of shaping the future.

BlogPaul Sutton