Director John Tiffany has said the UK is “catastrophically denying” opportunities to young people by cutting the arts in education.
The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child director also slammed the introduction of the English Baccalaureate as a “total disaster”.
He was speaking at an event in London run by the campaign organisation Art School, which aims to improve the links between the arts industry and education.
“I’m absolutely obsessed with this notion of what opportunities we are catastrophically denying [by cutting arts education] in society,” he said.
Referring to the time he spoke at a House of Lords inquiry on the subject, Tiffany said: “Jack [Thorne], Jo [JK Rowling] and me all went to state school, and I was able to very clearly say to them if you’re not going to listen to the moral argument here, the piece of theatre that is probably going to make the country more money than any other piece of theatre in its history would not exist if we were graduating today.”
Tiffany argued that it is a “social crime” to deny children the arts, as this prevents them from reaching their full potential.
He added: “EBacc is a total disaster, how on earth are we not in the streets rioting about that?”
The director also spoke about cuts to government subsidy for the arts, arguing that the UK is moving towards a similar model to the US.
He said: “That’s a terrifying prospect because when you see the writers and directors that bubble to the top, it’s because they can afford to work for [very little money] for 15 years because they’ve got daddy’s credit card.
“It’s the case here with directors and actors; writers have a little bit of an easier job, because we’ve still got the sense that we want authenticity, but it feels fetishistic if the people commissioning them are all from a homogenous [section of] society.”