Cultural Learning Alliance

The arts fuel children’s curiosity and critical capacity. They are every child’s birthright. It is vital that children engage with the arts early in their lives.

Arts Council England
Achieving Great Art for Everyone, 2011



What was your most memorable cultural experience when you were young and how has it stayed with you?

Below is a sample of your inspiring examples of the power of cultural learning. Please see the menu on the right for more videos and stories.

Ashley Walters, Musician & Actor

Ashley Walters, Musician & Actor
“The whole experience left a big impression”
John Hart, Specialist Schools & Academies Trust

At the age of 17, thanks to the skill of an A-level English teacher and his inspirational teaching of Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, I understood the joy of poetry. As a consequence of this I chose to read English Literature at university and have subsequently thoroughly enjoyed my career as a teacher. This experience taught me that a skilled and knowledgeable teacher can have a long-lasting impact on his or her students. A passionate joy of the arts can enthuse others with quite profound and long-lasting consequences.
Andrew Clover, Writer and comedian

When I was nine, every class at my school put on a play. 300 of us sat on the floor, and we saw Rocky O Leary, the school's smallest boy, who was playing Chicken Licken. Hilarious. I saw loads of short plays culminating in a fine comic turn from Andrew Brown, that I can still imitate. Sure, I'd been on a couple of coach trips to watch big musicals in big theatres, but this was way better. The big theatres didn't have Rocky O Leary.
Sir Alan Ayckbourn

A number of cultural experiences have stayed with me from my younger years, the earliest and strongest as a child was seeing The Crazy Gang at the Victoria Palace. This may explain the level of my cultural appreciation today! Cinema in general and the films of Buster Keaton were a huge influence – certainly on much of my playwriting. Music also played a major part. I was under ten when I saw a short film at a news cinema of an orchestra playing Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and going with my mother to a concert rehearsal of a Beethoven Piano Concerto with Solomon as the soloist made an impact. My father was a violinist and one time leader of the LSO and although I was very young when he departed the marital home, music remains a vital part of my life.
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