Closure possible for Welsh arts groups as funding cut

Some arts organisations say their future could be in doubt after the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) announced that their funding is to end.

A spending review by the ACW means that 32 arts centres, theatres and other organisations will not get funding next year.

Some of these say they may not survive if other sources of revenue dry up.

But others said they were optimistic that they could find a "way forward".

Among those whose funding will stop is Theatr Harlech, although it is possible it could apply for money for a specific project.

Spokeswoman Wendy Williams said the theatre's future would be in serious doubt if Gwynedd council also reduced its funding.

Gwent Theatre chair Gregg Taylor said: "From April 2011 the company will no longer receive revenue funding from the Arts Council.

"The company simply repeats what is contained in the ACW letter: 'The council accepts that its decision will be devastating news for Gwent Theatre'.

"The board of trustees of Gwent Theatre will be meeting shortly to discuss the full ramifications of this drastic cut to the company's core funding."

Hay Festival director Peter Florence said it was "vital" that smaller groups' funding was not cut.

"It's a hard time for everyone and there are bound to be cuts," he said.

"ACW have to make tough calls on priorities. In tough times Hay can get going.

"We dropped ticket prices by 25% this year and won 35,000 extra tickets, so we're fairly bullish about the market for culture and entertainment.

'Important centre'

"It's vital that smaller groups without strong bases and international dimensions don't get their core resources cut, and we'll continue to work with all our local arts producers to support them over the next few years."

There was confidence at Wrexham council about the future of Oriel Wrecsam, one of the centres affected.

Councillor Bob Dutton, lead member for communities and performance, said: "Whilst there is some concern at the loss of revenue funded status for Oriel Wrecsam, discussions are still continuing with the arts council about its future.

"Oriel Wrecsam is an important centre for the arts in Wrexham and I am confident a way forward will be established to not only retain this town centre facility but to improve on the service it currently offers."

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