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Gwent Theatre loses appeal against funding withdrawal

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Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain | 16:44 UK time, Thursday, 26 August 2010

Gwent Theatre has lost its appeal against the Arts Council of Wales' decision to withdraw its funding.

The decision to end the annual funding of £250,000 was announced in June, and is likely to spell the end of the Abergavenny-based organisation. Michael Sheen was among those pledging their support for Gwent Theatre, which works with more than 20,000 young people a year.

The theatre's chairman Gregg Taylor said in a statement: "Our argument is with the substance of the Arts Council's decision. Far from being advocates for the arts they are cutting public funding to those communities where it is most needed.

"Their decisions will destroy two theatre companies serving the south Wales valleys - the most economically and socially disadvantaged areas in western Europe - and also Powys, a large rural county whose children have little or no access to high quality theatre.

"The Arts Council says it has to take tough decisions. Yes, tough on the children and communities denied the creative arts; tough on the people who will lose their jobs; and tough on present and new generations of writers, actors and designers. Tough decisions are always tough on someone other than those who make them."

The appeal was rejected on the basis that the ACW had followed its own procedures during the decision-making process. Mr Taylor said the campaign would continue on behalf of the arts in Wales.

"The fate of Gwent Theatre raises a much bigger issue and the public need to be able to make their views heard in response to the expectations they have of the role of the Arts Council."


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