FANTASY author Philip Pullman is to take part in a discussion on creativity at a theatre in East Oxford

The author of His Dark Materials and La Belle Sauvage will be joined next month at Pegasus Theatre by Nicholas Serota, chairman of Arts Council England, and other luminaries of the arts world.

Mr Pullman is a patron of the Magdalen Road venue and he will welcome speakers with fellow patron Bill Lucas.

Guests taking part in the discussion, entitled The Power of Creativity, will also include journalist and novelist Lyn Gardner, artistic director of Mashi Theatre Trina Haldar, and co-chair of the Pegasus Youth Board Lucy Gibbons.

Mr Lucas who was for 10 years the first chair of the Pegasus Theatre Trust, and is now Professor of Learning and Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester, said: “Creativity is one of the defining aspects of what it is to be human.

“In countries across the world it is increasingly seen as a core role of schools to cultivate it in young people.

“But for some strange reason it is being squeezed out of schools in England. This has to change or we will be left in the slow lane while others race ahead to develop the imagination and curiosity of their citizens.”

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The event is being staged in support of Pegasus’ Change Makers campaign, which helps the theatre to offer outstanding creative experiences for young people from all backgrounds.

Pegasus development director Jo Osborne said: “Many people don’t realise that Pegasus is a charity and needs to raise around £200,000 a year.

“The support of our friends and audiences is crucial to our success. Funds raised support projects including free weekly sessions for young people with challenging circumstances.”

The talk takes place on Friday, February 8 at 7pm. Tickets cost £25. For more visit