- children and families’ services at Bournemouth council
- United Kingdom
Jane Portman, executive director of children and families’ services at Bournemouth council, defends the decision to shut down the town’s outstanding Theatre in Education team in a disturbingly bland, tick-box manner (Daily Echo, April 17).
In expecting the service to pay fully for itself, the decision-makers show no understanding of the value of what they are throwing away.
Over many years, this tiny team with a national and international reputation has engaged with countless young people, as well as adults.
A strong ethical dimension has always driven their high quality work: in extending empathy, exploring different perspectives, and educating heart and mind. Director Tony Horitz has set up two disability theatre groups, members of which have surpassed expectations – their own and others – in challenging stereotypes and opening dialogues with young audiences.
Co-director Sharon Muiruri initiated and helped develop the extraordinary Vita Nova theatre group of recovering addicts.
Vita Nova is now self-sustaining and restoring lives while speaking to new generations.
How can we “price” this contribution to our community? Similarly, how do we assess the value of an invitation for a group of disaffected youngsters to perform their play in Latvia?
I have personally witnessed, over 20 years, our Theatre in Education team uphold their commitment way beyond the call of duty.
Instead of celebrating a wonderful record of work, Bournemouth council is dispensing with it, in a manner that is both tawdry and irresponsible.
Dr Beverley Naidoo, Huntly Road Bournemouth
Please do invite all your friends to join sign!