“Who gets to feel the magic?”

The quality principles reflect a view of ‘quality’ and ‘excellence’ which we encountered among those working with children and young people which is not just about creating great art but also about having an impact on people’s lives, in particular creating opportunities.  Not simply economic opportunities, but opportunities for young people to achieve their full human potential – emotionally, socially, physically and intellectually. And not just for whoever turns up, but targeted at those who stand to benefit most. (…)

Perhaps Matthew Bourne’s dance-theatre production of Lord of the Flies (one of the quality principles pilot projects) offers a glimpse of a new perspective.  The production is transgressive in many ways and deliberately hard to categorise.  The source novel is on one hand a children’s story, yet also a highly respected (by adults) in its own right.  The production mixes a cast of professional dancers with teenage amateurs who perform the roles of the younger boys – having been selected through dozens of workshops held in each of the stops on the tour. In terms of identifying as either a social project or a commercial show Matthew Bourne and his team present the production as no different from any other produced by the New Adventures company; setting the bar at the highest level of technical quality, and artistic appeal.

From Who gets to feel the magic? on the #CulturalValue Initiative blog. Ben Lee of Shared Intelligence reported on a piece of work commissioned by Arts Council England for the purpose of exploring new ways of understanding and assessing ‘quality’ and ‘excellence’, especially in projects that also have a social aim and whose ambition is to have a real impact in the lives of participants yet reject the notion that this requires compromises on the quality front.


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