HC Deb 01 March 1999 vol 326 c532W
10. Mr. Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures he proposes to (i) extend access to the performing arts and (ii) reduce the costs of(a) performances and (b) tuition. [72098]

Mr. Alan Howarth

My Department regards increasing access to all artforms as a key objective. The Arts Council's New Audiences programme is already funding a number of pilot projects which reduce the cost of performances, and further grants have recently been announced.

My Department is setting up the Youth Music Trust which, as an early priority, will wish to review the issue of charging for music lessons. New arrangements were also announced in November to provide more equitable funding support for professional dance and drama students.

11. Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to improve the accessibility of the productions of national theatre, opera and ballet companies for those living outside London. [72099]

Mr. Alan Howarth

The Arts Council of England encourages the national companies to ensure the widest possible access to performances. Many of the national companies, including Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre, tour extensively across the country. In addition, the Arts Council announced last month a range of initiatives under the New Audiences programme which will cover the whole of England.