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Tuesday, 14 December, 1999, 10:40 GMT
Arts 'a teenage turn-off'

Museum Museums like London's V&A are full of relics, say young


Many teenagers would not be seen dead at the theatre or attending a classical concert, a report has suggested.

The report, Crossing the Line, finds that teenagers believe the arts are for old, rich people rather than themselves.

It says those young people do show an interest in visiting a museum or an art gallery often do not do so because they have no-one to go with.


The turn-offs
Difficulty in getting to the venue, cost, peer pressure and content
Lack of cafes and other leisure facilities
Typical audiences are old or middle aged and affluent
The idea of going alone makes them nervous
A general discomfort about the whole idea of the arts
The report, which was part-funded by the Arts Council, suggests setting up systems of "cultural mentors" who would encourage attendance in part by acting as companions.

The findings are due to be unveiled officially by theatre director Trevor Nunn in central London on Tuesday.

They include excerpts from interviews with 14-18-year-olds who express their apathy towards the Arts.

"I like art places, but it's a bit dull really and they are always quiet, and I am not a person for quiet places," said one 14-year-old girl.

Asked who went to classical concerts, one 17-year-old male said: "It's usually upper class, middle-aged people with money to go and splash out every week on something like that."

'Shorter performances'

The report found that young people from professional backgrounds were seven times as likely to go to arts events as those whose parents worked in semi-skilled jobs.

Among ideas put forward by young people as to how cultural venues could be made more attractive to them was the inclusion of cafes and leisure centres within them.

They also suggested shorter performances, cheaper tickets, and special offers for young people.

Other ideas were the portrayal of issues relevant to the young, and relocating performances to places where young people already went.

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See also:
01 Oct 99 |  UK Politics
Smith touts Net ticket giveaway
19 Jan 99 |  Education
Life-enhancing art
06 Jan 99 |  Education
Drive to make museums 'pupil friendly'

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