Hello and welcome to SLAP November '16 issue, in which we bring you news, reviews and previews from around the three counties and beyond. If you thought for one moment things were going to quieten down around these parts once the festival season had finished, you couldnít have been more wrong. As packed as these pages are, however, itís still only the tip of the iceberg with regards to the sheer amount of activity in local music and the arts.

I for one feel the tide of mood change in the local arts, where more people are working closely together and collaborating with like minded organisations and groups. This, I believe, is key to a successful and thriving DIY scene which thrives despite the lack of arts funding at grass roots level. With such little support locally and nationally, the arts has become a common cause for concern. What is even more worrying - is the attack that is taking place in the education system itself. Owing to a new obsession with league tables and exam results, the creative and collective nature of the arts has become to be seen as invalid, useless, and unbeneficial to children in education.

According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the number of primary school-age children who had visited a theatre in the previous 12 months fell from almost half to less than a third in the last six years. Children and young people are systematically being cut off from a world of creativity; the opportunity to even begin to generate an interest in art subjects is no longer provided or valued and yet, for example, the cognitive benefits of art therapy, music and drama are indisputable. This is why local organisitions providing these services play a vital role in the community.

We believe that art and culture can make life better for everyone and help to build diverse communities and improve our quality of life. Great art and culture can inspire our education system, boost our economy and give art an international stage. We need to support new ways of thinking about the arts and their potential to restore a sense of pride in our communities.

Rant -Ed

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