Ceredigion theatre's anger over funding cuts proposals
- 9 January 2014
- From the section Mid Wales
A theatre's management team has criticised a council for a lack of consultation before proposing a grant cut which they claim could lead to job losses.
Ceredigion council wants to end a £56,000 grant to the Mid Wales Entertainment Circuit (MWEC).
The council claims the move will impact less than cutting individual grants.
But bosses at one of the eight theatres affected claims the authority has been "misinformed".
The plan to withdraw funds from the MWEC is part of its proposals to save £9.6m during the next financial year and £20.85m over the next three years.
MWEC has been in existence since 1982 and is a consortium of eight theatres in Ceredigion, Powys and Gwynedd.
The venues employ a part-time worker to develop capital and revenue projects for the theatres.
In December a report to Ceredigion council's cabinet said "withdrawal from this partnership would generate savings with limited impact on provision or standards".
The council's plan would mean the three theatres in the county at Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, and Theatr Felinfach, would each lose about £16,000 in funding in 2014/15.
But Theatr Mwldan chief executive Dilwyn Davies has questioned the council's understanding of the cuts' impact.
He has sent an e-mail to the council's director for learning and lifestyle Eifion Evans, asking for a meeting between the Ceredigion venues, the MWEC, the Arts Council of Wales, and the council.
Theatr Mwldan's general manager, Ryan Davies said: "We believe the council doesn't understand the role of the MWEC.
"It played an instrumental role in providing seed funding that resulted in levering the £7m capital investment made in Theatr Mwldan in 2004.
"I am also worried because the council has incorrectly told us that Powys council has also decided to withdraw their support of the circuit and this was one of the major reasons for the withdrawal of funding.
"We need the council to explain the basis for this plan and how they have been misinformed about Powys council's intentions."
Powys Council directly funds the four venues in the county and they in turn are responsible for funding the MWEC.
A Powys council spokesman said: "There is nothing in the current budget proposals which will impact on theatre provision in Powys during the next financial year."
A Gwynedd Council spokesman confirmed that MWEC would receive £16,000 from the local authority in 2014/15.
Gareth Lloyd Roberts, director of Aberystwyth Arts Centre, said: "We appreciate that arts funding is under great pressure in the current financial climate and we'd be concerned to hear of any proposed cuts to our funding or to that of other arts providers.
"We hope to discuss any proposed reductions at an early opportunity in order to minimise their impact on the services to the public."
A Ceredigion Council spokesman said it already financially supported the county's theatres.
He added: "Even though cutting funding to the MWEC will have an effect on theatres due to less grant funds obtained from the circuit it was considered this would have less of an impact than cutting individual grants to the centres."