Stratford’s Theatre Royal played host to the night, which was presented by comedian Rob Delaney, and saw performances from Emilie Sandé, Clean Bandit, and Grime4Corbyn organiser Saskilla, as well as speeches from Dawn Butler, John McDonnell, and Corbyn himself. Lily Allen and actor Mark Rylance shared videos voicing their support for Labour’s manifesto, while Ash Sarkar was joined in conversation with Maverick Sabre, Billy Bragg, Jaime Winstone, and M.I.A.
The night was organised to launch Labour’s new charter for the arts, which promises to “radically expand access and increase funding” for the arts. According to a press release, the policy will see: £1 billion of new investment in a renewed cultural strategy, upgrading and building new libraries, museums, galleries, and arts venues across the UK; an investment of £175 million a year to give primary school students access to creative experiences; £1 billion for youth services; and the launch of a ‘Town of Culture’ competition.
ART should be accessed by EVERY1!! My council paid for my fees. freelancing should not just be for the privileged, who can afford time to experiment. Broadband for everyone will empower kids in council flats to educate themselves and create economy.#ArtForAllhttps://t.co/zK7X75T6dc
Arts for All will also see Labour maintain free access to galleries and museums, introduce greater transparency in lottery funding, and ensure grants are shared equally between communities.
“The arts are a common inheritance that make our society culturally richer and put a smile on all our faces,” Corbyn said in the press release. “The government I lead will ensure that every child has the opportunity to access the arts, learn a musical instrument, and develop their creativity. Proper funding for the arts will be central to Labour’s commitment in government to enable people to leave more enjoyable and fulfilling lives.”
Speaking at the launch, McDonnell gave a moving speech about how art shouldn’t be a luxury, especially when it comes to learning an instrument, while Corbyn discussed his love of poetry and music.