Theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber has waived fees for schools to perform School Of Rock, in a bid to bolster musical creativity in the younger generation.
In an interview with The Times, the Phantom Of The Opera composer also vowed to provide resources such as scripts and scores to help schools put on the musical, adapted from the 2003 comedy film.
Breaking with theatre tradition, Lord Lloyd-Webber condemned the rule that schools may not perform musicals until they finish their commercial run on the stage, adding that arts subjects are already being “squeezed”.
He told the newspaper: “It’s a no-brainer – School Of Rock is about kids making music. Let’s get on with it. You have to get music back into everybody’s DNA again.”
The 68-year-old also named New York over London as the world centre of musical theatre, pointing out that Broadway will have opened 14 new productions in the year up to next May, compared with three in the West End.
Citing a drop in music teaching in schools as a possible reason, he said: “I am suddenly thinking, is this because we are neglecting the arts to such an extent in schools? Are things really going backwards?”
In his commitment to boosting arts education, his own foundation has poured more than £3.5 million into projects this year alone.
Adding that the West End has become saturated with “revival” productions, he shared his excitement for next year’s arrival of fresh American musical Hamilton in the capital, which he described as the most original production he has seen in the last 50 years.
But his quest for originality may fall short of writing a musical about a meeting between Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn, as prime minister.
He told the newspaper he was being “facetious” when he made the suggestion after meeting Mr Trump, months before he was elected, adding: “Now I’m not so sure.”