Europe’s largest music & drama education conference is back

Comedian Al Murray and Schools Minister Nick Gibb will be among the speakers at Music & Drama Education Expo | London when it returns later this month

Music & Drama Education Expo | London convenes music and drama teachers for a programme of 80 free, practical workshops. There is plenty to talk about in the sixth year of the event, with changes in assessment, the ever-present need to uphold the value of cultural education for all, and relationships to build with colleagues. And, of course, there are always new ideas to explore.

Comedian and drummer Al Murray leads the line-up of keynote speakers, alongside Schools Minister Nick Gibb, Ofsted’s Mark Phillips, Head of Shakespeare’s Globe Education Georghia Ellinas, BBC Ten Pieces composer Kerry Andrew, and teaching artists from Disney’s Aladdin.

With the EBacc and funding cuts having a major effect on the provision and uptake of arts subjects in schools, the ISM’s head of external affairs, Henry Vann – whose staunch efforts have been behind the high-profile Bacc for the Future campaign – will examine how to make the case for music. Joined by Kevin Rogers, County Inspector for Hampshire County Council’s Music Service, the pair will present facts and figures to support arguments on the importance of music education, as well as providing tips and strategies for advocating to school governors, parents and students.

Nick Gibb

For drama teachers, there’s an opportunity to hear from Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury about the findings of a special 2017 House of Lords Select Committee enquiry: ‘Skills for Theatre: Developing the pipeline of talent’. Witnesses called before the committee spoke about the state of drama education and the need for the UK to support the development of one of our most valuable commodities: our world-class performers.

There will be strategies for tackling the new 9-1 grading system, as the new GCSEs bed in, as well as practical workshops on writing a play, world music and approaching Shakespeare’s language. The brand new Rock, Pop and Tech Theatre will house a stream of contemporary music sessions exploring sound equipment, grime opera, and teaching the new syllabuses for rock, pop and music technology.

Also new for 2018 is Creatives’ Corner, where visitors can meet the authors behind top teaching books and resources, and ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask. The Sharing Lab will host a programme of peer-to-peer learning sessions, bringing teachers and practitioners together to discuss particular areas of practice and pedagogy. And the exhibition floor will be full to the rafters with industry colleagues from over 150 performing arts organisations, to discuss their products, services and ideas.

Say organisers: “In a world where music and drama feel increasingly undervalued by government – even as the UK’s creative sector is a rare economic success story – we need to rely and support each other more than ever. As ever, thanks to the support of the music and drama education sector overall, and thanks to the thousands of teachers who attend every year, this year’s Expo will be an inspiring, practical, and – above all – free opportunity for teachers to look at their own approaches to teaching, share ideas, and come away tired but energised and refreshed, ready to take on the rest of the year. We hope to see you there!”

Music & Drama Education Expo | London takes place on 22 & 23 February 2018 at Olympia London. View the full programme and book your free ticket at

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