Launch of CDMT’s Manifesto for Performing Arts Education

Launch of CDMT’s Manifesto for Performing Arts Education

On 13 June 2024, CDMT launched its timely Manifesto for Performing Arts Education


Lighting the flame of creativity in support of every young person’s future is essential to building robust, innovative and happy individuals. However, many children and young people today face unprecedented challenges, with those from underrepresented, and often intersecting groups, such as learners from the global majority, low-income families, job seekers, looked after children, young carers and those with disabilities being disproportionately impacted.

The powerful impact that experience of the performing arts can unlock for individuals, and their communities, throughout society is well known. Some will, through that exposure, come to see the world differently, undergoing potentially life-changing and mind-expanding transformations. Others, through dedication and hard work, will go on to pursue their passion at the highest level.


This is the context in which the Manifesto has been framed. Its key messages are that we should:

  • Encourage the development of creativity through dedicated time for children and young people to experience the power of the performing arts
  • Bring together in- and out-of-school performing arts provision across the board, building on existing expertise and enhancing it through collaboration [see note 1]
  • Improve the performing arts progression route, and celebrate achievements at both the institutional and individual level [see note 2]
  • Promote partnerships across the sector, and harness the power of technology to increase access and enhance outcomes [see note 3]
  • Support specialist training institutions to continue contributing to our thriving cultural sector by supporting practitioners and teachers as they develop into the professionals of the future [see note 4]


The Manifesto is sponsored by the Lloyd Webber and Mackintosh Foundations.

‘Proper training for performers, backed with natural talent, is a springboard into our profession. For years the CDMT has fought to maintain standards in an area of education of which Great Britain can be rightly proud. I am pleased to be able to support them in this ongoing endeavour.’ ‘Quality performing arts education for all is critical to support the next generation of talent and can have a transformative impact on young people’s lives. We applaud CDMT’s manifesto and mission.’
Sir Cameron Mackintosh Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation


‘In an age where every profession, sector and aspect of life demands creativity, supported by skilful, agile individuals in the workplace, it is crucial that young people have opportunities to hone these qualities from the outset. The skills learnt through participation in performing arts activities helps them develop as confident, self-reflective individuals, prepared for adult life.’

The Rt Hon. Lord Vaizey of Didcot


‘This Manifesto captures both the economic and emotional value of refreshing performing arts education provision in support of our communities for times to come, and I urge all those interested in creating a harmonious, productive and resilient UK to read its recommendations.’

The Baroness Wilcox of Newport


‘The UK projects itself as innovative, creative, forward thinking, and those that represent us in the West End, TV, and dance performance, play a huge part in enabling us to do that. The specialist providers who train them should be supported to do their jobs to their best capacity.’

The Baroness Benjamin OM DBE DL


‘This is not to ask for charity. As well as improving life outcomes, and giving space to artistic expression of all types, the performing arts industry contributes hugely to the UK economy, and in this context the maintenance of a viable pipeline of talent through to the highest professional levels makes

financial, as well as cultural, philosophical and humanitarian sense.’

Glyndwr Jones, Director of the CDMT



  1. Mindful of the efficient use of school resources, we propose that the education ecosystem could be enhanced through integrating in- and out-of-school provision in primary and secondary schools. This could be done by extending the music hubs model to include dance and drama, as well as drawing upon the expertise of teachers, leaders and arts practitioners who are not based in schools, including those linked with Ofqual recognised awarding organisations in the performing arts, to promote a ‘network of excellence.’
  2. We propose a review of GCSE and A Level provision which recognises young people’s wider experiences of the performing arts, both informal and formal, such as graded exams, acknowledging achievement across all genres. This could be complemented by the full range of Ofqual-recognised creative and performing arts qualifications being included in the evidence used to inform schools’ performance measures, and improved careers information made available for schools’ advisors supporting young people.
  3. We should promote partnerships across the sector by establishing a central convening structure which can facilitate collaboration between mainstream schools and out-of-schools settings, including encouraging the use of digital learner logs to capture the range of young people’s innovative and artistic activities within and outside school. Such an approach would increase access and enhanced outcomes.
  4. Both the UK economy and aspiring future professionals can benefit by government money being used to best effect, focusing on specialist world class providers delivering appropriate contact hours at quality facilities leading to high graduate outcomes. We must ensure that a career in the performing arts continues to be seen by young people as a viable and valuable choice well into the future.


View the manifesto