Local MP Yvette Cooper visited school today to see The Cast’s latest Theatre in Education production .

Following the performance, Ms Cooper commented:

‘Wow, what a performance from sixth form students at Airedale Academy today from some very talented students raising awareness of the effects of anti-social behaviour. It was part of a great project backed by Castleford’s neighbourhood policing team and Spectrum Health.

Chatting to the students afterwards I was very impressed by how hard they have worked to get places at drama school or university. But the extra costs they face – including fees for auditions, travel costs and lack of student finance are deeply unfair.

Labour MPs Tracy Brabin MP and Gloria De Piero MP wrote an important report last year about lack of diversity in performing arts and about the unfair extra barriers still faced by northern and working class communities. They called for urgent action to widen access, just as the students called for today.

The performance at Airedale shows why action is needed – partly to make sure everyone gets a fair chance and partly to make sure that the performing arts don’t miss out on the kind of talent I saw today.’