‘We rise together’

Children celebrate Wrexham's City of Culture 2025 bid
04 May 2022

In the third of our series profiling the shortlisted candidates for City of Culture 2025, Ian Bancroft reveals Wrexham as “one of the last punk places in the UK”.

Opera leader accuses Arts Council Wales of 'maladministration'

Mid Wales Opera's production of Beatrice & Benedict
30 Nov 2023

Mid Wales Opera has claimed that Arts Council Wales' latest funding round showed prejudice against conventional opera and classical music. 

Arts leader calls for boost to Welsh arts funding

21 Nov 2023

Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre, Graeme Farrow, has warned of a “crisis” in the Welsh cultural sector and urged politicians to consider a 10% boost in arts funding to "steady the ships".

Speaking to BBC's Politics Wales, Farrow said there was "panic" throughout the industry amid cuts to the arts. "We've got Michael Sheen in a big show next May about Nye Bevan, and I'm genuinely thinking 'How are we going to sustain talent like that into the future in Wales?'

"People are going to be making less shows, there's going to be less opportunities for young people to be creative and gain skills, there's going to be less opportunities for people to participate in the arts, and gradually that's going to erode what the culture of the nation is."

In 2023-24, the Welsh government committed £33.3m to Arts Council of Wales, making up 0.2% of the government's total budget.

Farrow said the yearly cost of "just opening the doors and running” Wales Millennium Centre has increased by £1m since 2019.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, Tom Giffard, said: "We are known as the land of song, our people go on to be world-famous actors - we should be nurturing and growing this talent, not throwing it away."

The Welsh government said: "We are committed to working with the cultural sector during these challenging times and recognise the valuable contribution culture makes to the economy and wellbeing of people in Wales."

Buying a ticket shouldn’t be a performance

Exterior of Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, Wales
07 Nov 2023

Andrew Miller recently spent hours trying to book a ticket but, with the rollout of a new access scheme, he hopes his travails and those of other people with disabilities will soon be over. 

Museum Wales pay off 'may have breached law'

Exterior view of Cardiff's National Museum
16 Oct 2023

Auditor says a £325,698 settlement with former Director General may have breached the requirements of charity law.

National Theatre Wales appeals over funding cut

Circle of Fifths - photo credit
04 Oct 2023

National Theatre Wales has said it will contest Arts Council Wales' decision to remove its core funding, warning the company faces closure within six months.

National Theatre Wales 'deeply shocked' over funding loss

28 Sep 2023

Acclaimed theatre company says it will have to rethink its future plans after having its core funding cut by Arts Council of Wales.

Cardiff music venue plans redevelopment

22 Aug 2023

Cardiff’s long-running music venue Club Ifor Bach has submitted a planning application for a redevelopment project that will expand and upgrade the existing site.

The grassroots music venue, currently in its 40th year of operation, is on Womanby Street in the Welsh capital. 

The plans would see it take over the neighbouring derelict building, expanding and transforming the space into a fully-accessible multi-room venue.

Club Ifor Bach has 18 months to raise the funds needed to implement the plans, which would enable it to stage larger-scale performances and events in the new 500-capacity space. The larger venue would also house a 200-capacity room to ensure continued support for emerging musicians.

The venue registered as a charity in 2019 and these plans aim to help it meet its charitable objectives, supporting creatives including aspiring technicians, promoters, performers and photographers, as well as furthering community development.

“It’s been a long time since we released the concept designs for the redevelopment in early 2019 and finally being able to submit the planning application feels like a big step forward,” said Clwb Ifor Bach Chief Executive Guto Brychan.

“We’d like to extend our gratitude to Cardiff Council for their help in securing the premises next door, which was a key factor in progressing the plans,” he added.
“There is still a long road ahead especially in terms of securing sufficient funding, but we’re confident that our plans to improve Clwb Ifor Bach for the artists and audiences of the future will be a cornerstone of the city’s live music infrastructure for years to come. ”

Wales resumes arts, health and wellbeing funding

22 Aug 2023

The Arts Council of Wales (ACW) has announced the reopening of its lottery-backed Arts, Health and Wellbeing Fund.

From the autumn, the fund will have a new focus. It will prioritise projects which aim to improve people’s health and wellbeing by connecting them with nature.

Partnerships between arts, health and nature organisations are encouraged to apply through the Creative Nature Programme, a collaboration between ACW and Nature Resources Wales.

“I am particularly happy to see this opportunity for the environment, health and cultural sectors to collaborate on projects that improve people’s wellbeing,” said Joe Roberts, a Lead Specialist Advisor at Natural Resources Wales.

“This truly embodies Wales’s unique approach to partnership working and we will learn a lot from the projects that come forward.”

Partnership bids from across the arts, health, social care, nature, environmental and third sectors are invited, as long as the proposed project includes a focus on nature and wellbeing, physical wellbeing, staff wellbeing in the health and arts workforces or tackling mental health and health inequalities.

Grants are for between £500 and £50,000, depending on the stage of the project. Applications are open until 20 September.

Welsh heritage sites receive £4.1m boost

Gwrych Castle with foliage in the foreground
07 Aug 2023

National Heritage Memorial Fund awards money to several heritage sites in Wales that were affected by the Covid pandemic.

Arts Council of Wales denies ditching gendered pronouns

Badges featuring pronouns
18 Jul 2023

Welsh arts body says staff are free to select pronouns of their choice despite media reports to the contrary.

Museum of Cardiff to remain at current site

17 Jul 2023

The Museum of Cardiff will remain in its current location for the next five years although concerns have been raised about its long-term future.

The museum had been at risk of closing as a physical space and being turned into a mobile attraction when the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) moved into the Old Library building last year.

But following a lease agreement between Cardiff Council and the RWCMD, the museum will continue to operate in the building. 

It is hoped the agreement will give sufficient time and stability for the museum, stakeholders and the council to fully examine options and undertake feasibility assessments for any future move.

The Museums Association welcomed the news but said "significant concerns" remain about the museum’s long-term future.

Joshua Robertson, Policy Officer for the Museums Association, said: “We welcome the temporary stay-of-execution and the short-term stability that this provides [...] The Museum of Cardiff is a thriving cultural asset, which has a strong track record of community participation and engagement and is vital to the cultural life of the city.

“However, we have significant concerns surrounding the future of the museum as a permanent venue is yet to be found. We will continue to work with our external partners across Wales and beyond to advocate for a permanent venue for the museum, and a long-term funding strategy to ensure future success for the Museum of Cardiff.”

Wales details plans for its contemporary art collection

13 Jul 2023

The Welsh Government has shared plans to showcase Wales’ national contemporary art collection in galleries across the country.

Arts Council of Wales, Amgueddfa Cymru and the National Library of Wales will collaborate on sharing the work across the network of venues which include Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Newport Museum & Art Gallery.

Meanwhile, a digital platform, featuring around 25,000 images, has been launched to support the initiative, while plans to develop an anchor gallery acting as a prominent public face for the national contemporary art gallery continue.

Proposals for a national contemporary art gallery were first explored in 2018 and committed to in the government’s draft budget in 2021. 

Work is currently underway to find a host for the anchor gallery, with local authorities in Wrexham, Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport and Cardiff being invited to develop their plans for the space further.

“The national collection belongs to everyone in Wales,” Deputy Arts Minister Dawn Bowden said.

“The new model will allow people to explore the collection within their own communities, whilst also ensuring more people across Wales, the UK and even internationally can have improved access to the national collection.”

“It will help to boost the visitor economy, support local businesses and jobs, and put Wales on the map internationally.”

Welsh National Opera 'facing staff cuts', former members claim

26 Jun 2023

Welsh National Opera confirms strategic review is underway after open letter co-signed by former leaders says the conditions of Arts Council England’s funding includes reducing the number of full-time staff.

Cultural transformation programme supports Welsh museums

15 May 2023

Several museums in Wales have received funding in the latest round of the Welsh Government's Cultural Transformation Capital Programme.

Among those to benefit from the £1.7m funding pot is Cyfarthfa Castle Museum and Art Gallery in Merthyr Tydfil.

It has been awarded £146,480 to develop an off-site storage space that will enable the relocation of its art store and provide better access to its collection.

Other recipients include Narberth Museum in Pembrokeshire which has been awarded £120,534 to improve efficiency, while Abergavenny Castle will use its £110,000 to improve energy efficiency.

Rhondda Heritage Park in Rhondda Cynon Taf has received £135,000 towards new interactive history digital displays.

Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden, said that support provided by local museums, archives and libraries "is essential to helping communities in Wales thrive, now more than ever". 

She added: "This round of funding is supporting a wide variety of initiatives, from transforming spaces to be better used by their communities, enabling greater access and participation, whilst also supporting the health and wellbeing of users, to preserving collections for future generations."

Since the programme was extended in 2017 to include museums and archives, more than £9m has been provided to organisations across Wales.

Welsh cultural organisations benefit from £3m legacy

04 May 2023

A legacy donation in excess of £3m has been left to the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) and Welsh National Opera (WNO).

The organisations have said that the money, left by the late David Seligman, will be used to deliver lasting support to the training of singers and musicians and will also create future opportunities for young artists to perform on a professional scale.

RWCMD Director of Music, Tim Rhys-Evans said: "I had the very great pleasure of knowing David and [his late wife] Philippa for many years and saw first-hand their belief in young people and the power of singing to enrich young lives. 

"Their passion for opera in particular was something incredibly dear to them, and the need for this artform to be made accessible and relevant to young people of every background was a major driving force behind their philanthropy. 

"David knew the impact that legacies of any size can have, and now his exceptional gift will ensure that future generations of artists will continue to be supported for many years to come."  

WNO Youth Opera Producer, Paula Scott said: "We are incredibly grateful for this generous bequest. David and Philippa Seligman were passionate supporters of WNO Youth Opera, and we are delighted to be honouring them both by continuing our work with young artists." 

New skills programme for music managers in Wales

25 Apr 2023

A new programme of education and training for music entrepreneurs in Wales has been given Welsh Government support.

The one-year project delivered by the Music Managers Forum (MMF) hopes to boost the business skills of Welsh music managers.

Funded through Creative Wales, MMF will be working with Welsh partners including music industry organisations Anthem, Beacons and Focus Wales.

The initiative will also build on MMF’s existing partnership with the University of South Wales.

Activities will include a course on the essentials of music management, with training led by Lu Whitting, manager of the Cardiff band Himalayas.

Travel bursaries will be available to attend events and the MMF is keen that individuals from ‘diverse or marginalised backgrounds’ take part in the programme.

MMF Chief Executive, Annabella Coldrick, said: “The music scene in Wales has always been hugely exciting, and we believe this new programme will strengthen networks and benefit both existing Welsh managers and those looking to break into our profession."

Welsh cultural hub receives £36k grant

18 Apr 2023

The Neuadd Dwyfor Arts Centre in Pwllheli has received a £36,000 grant from Arts Council of Wales to develop a new programme.

The funding will allow the cultural hub, situated on the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd, north-western Wales, to offer more live events, including music, cabaret, comedy, dance and theatre.

The theatre and cinema is due to reopen this week following a period of maintenance work to safeguard its historic building, which was built in 1900 and has been an entertainment space since 1902.

Recently completed renovations include re-rendering the external red brickwork, renewing the lead work and installing new windows. 

“This is a new and exciting chapter in the long history of Neuadd Dwyfor, thanks to significant investment to protect this important resource by Cyngor Gwynedd with the support of the Welsh Government,” said Councillor Nia Jeffreys, Cabinet Member for Cyngor Gwynedd's Economy and Community department.

“I am also grateful to the arts council for their support in developing a contemporary arts programme that will attract audiences for this new chapter."

Swansea performing arts schools under new ownership

23 Mar 2023

A performing arts franchise in Swansea is under new ownership following a six-figure funding package from HSBC.

Swansea’s Stagecoach Performing Arts franchise includes eight schools – three main, four early and one further stages school - and caters for around 400 performing arts students aged four to 18.

It is part of the Stagecoach Performing Arts network, which was been operational for 26 years, and is the largest network of part-time performing arts schools in the UK.

The Swansea franchise has been acquired by teacher Kelly-Marie Rosina Williams and her husband Benn.

The HSBC funding will facilitate growth and expansion plans, including the creation of a new school and early-years class.

Williams, Principal at Stagecoach Performing Arts Swansea, commented : “Students are the heart of the Stagecoach Performing Arts school, and it is my goal to ensure they continue to thrive throughout this seamless transition which simply wouldn’t have been possible without the support of HSBC UK.”

AHRC announces new hosts for Creative PEC

King's Walk on Newcastle University's campus, looking towards the Arches with the Student Union building on the left
09 Mar 2023

Centre producing research and policy recommendations on arts, culture and the creative industries will be split across two hubs in England, one in the North and one in the South.


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