Sunday, 17 October 2010


As the ConDem cuts begin to hit home, all of our public funded bodies are going to be under pressure to make savings and under threat of reduced budgets. In Wales, the Arts Council of Wales is already planning to withdraw funding worth £3.6m from 32 arts groups in 2011.

Locally, in the former county of Gwent, the cuts are going to hit home hard. One of the casualties of funding cuts could be Gwent Theatre which was has worked hard over the last three decades taking amongst other things live theatre in many of our schools. Gwent Theatre which has previously received £250,000 a year from the Arts
Council of Wales, may be wound up as a result of the loss of funding.

The Theatre's small company of six people: actors, stage manager, educational and administrative staff who will all lose their jobs as the impact of the loss of funding begins to hit home. It's worth remembering that Theatre Gwent's staff have worked with the Theatre company for over twenty years and have consistently delivered work of the highest quality throughout the former county of Gwent.

There will also be a knock on effect with a further reduction in employment opportunities for actors, script writers, musicians, poets and storytellers all of whom will now lose out when the cuts begin to bite. Gwent Theatre provides employment opportunities for up to 40 people in any given year.

The jobs loses and loss of opportunity are bad enough, but, they are only part of the story. Probably the most significant impact of the loss of Gwent Theatre is going to be the loss of its role in educating countless pupils and young people in Gwent's schools. In 2009 – 2010 alone, Gwent Theatre was able to deliver 220
performances to some 14,000 + young people in some 219 schools.

Gwent Theatre held 81 theatre workshops with over 2500 participants. The highly acclaimed Gwent Young Peoples Theatre put on seven productions, with 5183 youth theatre attendances and audience figures of 1,794. This is a pretty good if not an outstanding delivery of work in a single year from a small theatre company.

Gwent Theatre has worked hard over the years to establish itself as a highly successful company which regularly takes its excellent work into our schools and our communities across Gwent – something that more than than fulfils the aims and objectives of the Arts Council of Wales to put the experience of live theatre into
individuals and communities lives.

This may on the surface appear to be an easy hit, but, it is a cut that is far too deep - Gwent Theatre has successfully and faithfully served individuals, schools and communities across Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Newport and Torfaen, and has worked solidly for years to build up good working relations across the greater Gwent area.

It's time to think again funding wise, Gwent Theatre does not deserve this fate and neither should our communities be culturally deprived of the important future contributions to could and should made by Gwent Theatre in future years.

Follow this web link to sign the petition to Save Gwent Theatre.

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