The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 28 August 2018
Missing Out - The number of GCSE students sitting creative subjects this year has slipped by 10% on last year, prompting yet further warnings that young people are missing out on “essential” life skills. GCSE drama uptake has fallen by 5.3% on 2017, according to this year’s final figures, released by the Joint Council for Qualifications on GCSE results day.
The 10% decline in entries for creative subjects in England comprises statistics for drama, art and design, design and technology, film and TV studies, music and performing / expressive arts. This is a further 10% on the 9% decline recorded between 2016 and 2017.
Those taking performing / expressive arts fell by 45% - from 15,641 to just 8,646. As of 2017, this course is being phased out of the curriculum, which accounts for the dramatic decline, but the numbers are not being made up elsewhere. The drop in creative subjects contrasts with an increase for subjects that are part of the English Baccalaureate.
The chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Deborah Annetts, who also founded the Bacc for the Future campaign, said the decline is set “against a backdrop of the government claiming that the EBacc is not detrimental to the take up of arts GCSEs. This is simply not true”.
Charlotte Jones, chief executive of the Independent Theatre Council, said: “Now more than ever in this terrifyingly uncertain world, it is essential for young people to have the opportunity to express and develop their creativity. This year’s GCSE results show a worrying downturn of take up of creative subjects. Our young people are not being prepared for the world they will have to inhabit. The government has to take action on this. Our education system has to be inclusive and relevant.”
Regional Drama - Five regional theatres are to share more than £20,000 in capital grants from the Theatres Trust. The awards, made through the UK Small Grants Scheme - part of the trust’s Theatres Protection Fund - are intended to help theatres in need and at risk improve their buildings.
Grants of £5,000 have been announced for four theatres. Alnwick Playhouse’s award will be spent on improvements to auditorium access and seating, while the Plaza Theatre in Romsey, Hampshire, will use the money to replace its broken stairlift.
The Oswaldtwistle Civic Arts Centre and Theatre in Lancashire will upgrade its heating system, and heat-retaining air barriers on the entrance doors of Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre will be installed. They are expected to reduce the venue’s annual energy costs by about £2,000. Other grants include £2,500 for Peterborough’s Vivacity Key Theatre to go towards the installation of a hearing loop.
Audio Education - Following its successful premiere at last year’s NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, the Audio Engineering Society has announced the return of AES@NAMM Pro Sound Symposium, Live & Studio, in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Held concurrently with the 2019 NAMM Show on 24-27 January in the Anaheim Hilton Hotel’s NAMM U Education Centre, the symposium will offer a combination of hands-on training, technical presentations, and expert presenters and panelists for four days of in-depth onsite experience in the fields of sound reinforcement and recording studio technology. The call for contributions is out for those looking to get involved as a presenter at the upcoming events in a variety of areas within the realm of audio engineering. Submission information is available at
Soul Legacy - Aretha Franklin died without leaving a will, according to reports. The late singer died on 16 August, aged 76. According to court papers obtained by celebrity news website TMZ, she died "intestate," which means she did not have a will. Her four sons, Clarence, Edward, Ted and Kecalf, will have equal shares in her estate according to Michigan law, the website reported.
Farewell - Former Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King, who helped write the hit Sweet Home Alabama, has died of cancer aged 68. King joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1972 when the band had a distinctive three-guitar sound. He played on their first three albums and is credited with writing several of their songs, including Saturday Night Special. King left the band two years before a plane crash killed singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines.
(Jim Evans)
28 August 2018

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