A VENUE in Poole is backing a campaign calling on every child in the UK to go to the theatre before they leave school.

Lighthouse Poole is supporting the Theatre For Every Child campaign to persuade political parties to make it a general election manifesto pledge that every child should visit the theatre.

Lighthouse chief executive Elspeth McBain said: ’The first experience I had of professional theatre was at junior school and it sparked a lifelong interest in the arts.

“Visits to the theatre not only got me out of maths lessons, but they also took to me to incredible buildings where unforgettable shows were performed. The stories presented on these stages told me about things I didn’t know, made me curious about the world, and ignited an interest in the technical aspects of the set, lighting, costume and music.”

She added: “My parents couldn’t afford to take me to the theatre, so without these school trips I would never have experienced it and would not have had a career in the arts.”

The campaign has been launched by the UK Theatre and the Society for London Theatre.

Claire Walker, co-CEO of UK Theatre and SOLT, said: “We believe every child has the right to experience and enjoy our country’s world-leading theatre.

“Despite amazing work that theatres do up and down the country, access is not equal. This is not right. Which is why we are calling on all political parties to support our call for every child to attend the theatre before they leave school.”

Lighthouse said it is committed to providing opportunities for young people to attend the theatre.

Discounts are offered to schools for many performances, but it said these are still out of financial reach for many.

According to research carried out by UK Theatre and SOLT, 84 per cent of parents would support a pledge that every child should visit the theatre before they leave school.

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has led to teachers and parents reporting a reduction of 68 per cent in school trips, which includes theatre visits, compared to last year.