Kate Whiting, general manager at the Pegasus Theatre, Oxford, looks at the effect the proposed cuts will have on our youngsters

The proposal by Oxfordshire County Council to cut all cultural funding by 2018 would be devastating, not only to Pegasus and our work with young people, but to our community as a whole.

The opportunity to uncover creativity, to explore emotions with the help of scripts and develop life skills like confidence and team work are a crucial part of growing up. We work extremely hard to create a safe and supportive environment, especially for some vulnerable and disadvantaged young people.

Pegasus provides essential stability through difficult times. This is only possible because our staff dedicate time to those children and young people, and build relationships with strategic hubs and other local organisations.

We believe a society that values the arts is richer and more resilient to any challenges it faces. This has been repeated many times over in the messages of support we have been receiving from parents and carers over the last weeks: At Pegasus, imagination, teamwork, empathy, humour, and insightful reflection are recognised and valued.

This is not only crucial for self-development and self-esteem as a contributing member of society, the Pegasus is also a working example for all the young people who use it of social inclusion and respect.

What worries me if our funding is cut is that many children and families will lose the opportunity to find themselves. They will lose out on the chance to learn life skills that will take them into adulthood; they will lose out on all the colours of the rainbow of opportunity to be who they want to be.

Core funding from the county council also enables us to subsidise ticket prices and fees, allowing us to remain accessible. We are so proud of what we offer, from dance shows for toddlers, to well-known comedians and the best new drama.

To watch an audience’s reaction as the lights come up is the reason I work in theatre, and never fails to inspire me. We are determined to continue our work across the county and continue to meet with the county council and ask the public to respond online and have their say too.

See the website www.pegasustheatre.org.uk