Cultural Learning Alliance

Dance has evolved from being a personal joy in my life to being the vehicle to take me to see the world, meet people, and discover myself.

Taha, National Young Dance Ambassador
ImagineNation: The Case for Cultural Learning



What was your most memorable cultural experience when you were young and how has it stayed with you?

Below is a sample of your inspiring examples of the power of cultural learning. Please see the menu on the right for more videos and stories.

Ashley Walters, Musician & Actor

Ashley Walters, Musician & Actor
“The whole experience left a big impression”
Helen Chambers, National Children's Bureau

My first memorable cultural experience was at 10 years of age when I saw live theatre. I attended a travelling performance of Twelfth Night in a nearby secondary school hall with no stage or lighting, with cut out orange trees providing the backdrop to Tudor costumes of cross-garters and cross-dressing. Suddenly the dry text pages made sense as they were given life, meaning in action and movement. I joined the drama society, was in school and house plays, and sat my Guildhall exams – as well as gaining the school English prize. My second cultural experience was in the 1st form at grammar school when taken to a visiting symphony orchestra playing I know not what at the Palace Theatre in Newark – but sat on red plush seats, next to my best friend Ro. Did those musicians really have to do boring piano and squealy violin practice or were they born like that? I learned that I love music – but didn't have the patience to perfect the art. Ro did and she still is my friend.
Tristan Brady-Jacobs, community artist, digiteyes

As a child, being taken to the Edinburgh Festival in the late '60s provided me with enough impetus and succour to get me through the dark days at school amongst the black landscape of Doncaster's mines. That and visits to see foreign film at the Film club in town gave me the intellectual and moral stimulus to pursue the career I have now – introducing kids in similar situations to arts and culture, fun and thought.
Sir Alan Ayckbourn

A number of cultural experiences have stayed with me from my younger years, the earliest and strongest as a child was seeing The Crazy Gang at the Victoria Palace. This may explain the level of my cultural appreciation today! Cinema in general and the films of Buster Keaton were a huge influence – certainly on much of my playwriting. Music also played a major part. I was under ten when I saw a short film at a news cinema of an orchestra playing Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and going with my mother to a concert rehearsal of a Beethoven Piano Concerto with Solomon as the soloist made an impact. My father was a violinist and one time leader of the LSO and although I was very young when he departed the marital home, music remains a vital part of my life.
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