James McAvoy has said the government wants “to keep people where they are born” by removing access to arts education.
McAvoy was speaking after being nominated in the best actor category of the 2015 Olivier awards for his portrayal of a mad, messianic toff in The Ruling Class and appeared to suggest that the ongoing row about the dominance of ‘posh’ actors was a distraction from the real issue.
“I don’t think it matters where actors come from and I don’t care if all the actors come from posh private schools,” he said.
“But I do care about a government that doesn’t prioritise arts in education. It is one of the first things that if you take it away, it’s a signal that the government doesn’t care about upward mobility any more.
“Art is one the first things you take away from society if you want to keep them down.”
McAvoy said doing even one year of an arts subject could be life-changing and the government was showing it wanted “to keep people where they are born”.
The comments follow a report by the Warwick commission last month, which revealed how arts subjects are being systematically squeezed out of the education system. Shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant also ignited a public spat with the singer James Blunt after citing him and Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne as examples of the arts becoming a profession for the privileged.
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