‘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”.

Welsh arts organisations share £675,000 grant

20 May 2024

Arts organisations in Powys are set to benefit from a share of £675,000 of grant funding from the government's Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF),

The successful bid from Powys County Council's Arts Service focused on supporting resilience, sustainability and transformation in the county's arts and creative industries.

Part of the funding will be used to bring the organisations together in a collaborative peer-learning network for the remainder of 2024 to support each other in delivering their projects.

Organisations to receive a share of the grant include Mid Wales Opera, which last year warned it may be forced to close after losing its core funding from Arts Council Wales. The company will receive £75,906 for SPF to redefine its mission, business model and future funding prospects.

Creative hub Carad will receive £66,071 to implement a new business plan, provide training and support for volunteers, develop new partnerships, and develop a refocused arts programme, while dance company Impelo will get £106,842 to support redefining, remodelling, and testing its business plan and operations.

Also receiving funding are Gregynog (£52,153), The Lost Arc (£68,000), Mid Wales Arts Centre (£56,000), Peak Cymru (£78,401), Presteigne Festival(£51,400), The Welfare, Ystradgynlais (£75,129) and Wyeside Arts Centre (£45,098).

Councillor David Selby, Cabinet Member for Prosperous Powys, said: "The cultural sector in Powys plays a vital role in delivering creativity, education, well-being and cultural tourism as well as strengthening the economic life of the county's communities.

"We recognise the difficulties that the reduction in public funds is having on the arts and we are actively seeking ways to continue to support the sector during these challenging times. The Shared Prosperity Funding that we have successfully secured will enable us to support the arts sector in Powys."

Equity vows to fight 'reckless' cuts to WNO’s chorus

14 May 2024

Performers' union Equirty has voiced its opposition to Welsh National Opera's (WNO) plans to cut the salary of its chorus members and threaten compulsory redundancy.

WNO, which has warned of financial difficulties after having its core funding cut, plans to reduce the full-time contracts of its chorus members to 45 weeks with a salary cut of at least 15% a year.

Equity says that recent “opaque proposals” for changes to its members' terms and conditions have been tabled, which would “fundamentally undermine the job security of this highly skilled professional ensemble.” 

The changes mirror those put forward for the orchestra at WNO and follow contract renegotiations for the chorus and orchestra at English National Opera earlier this year.

The union said it has “always been open to the [negotiation] process” and “believed that despite the challenging financial situation the company faced, [WNO] would protect the chorus.” 

“[We] will not accept compulsory redundancies or the desire of WNO management to make contracts ‘flexible’ solely to their own advantage while adding the precarity of an unsustainable cut to chorus members’ basic earnings,” said the union.

“ Equity’s resistance to the current proposals cannot, and will not, be contingent on the decisions of funders.” 

WNO receives National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding from both Arts Council England (ACE) and Arts Council Wales (ACW), but its ACE funding was reduced from £6.24m to £4m a year for the 2023-26 period, a 35% reduction, while it receives £4.1m a year from ACW.

Last June, an open letter from former members of the opera warned that a strategic review would reduce the number of full-time orchestra and chorus members to meet funding conditions imposed by ACE.

Royal Welsh College plans cuts to junior school

Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
13 May 2024

College says its current junior school limits its ability to reach “young people from diverse backgrounds” and to “embrace the Welsh language”.

Michelin star chef to open restaurant at Welsh theatre 

07 May 2024

A theatre in Wales has said it hopes to become a destination for food, drink, and culture after announcing that an award-winning chef will open a restaurant at the venue.

Theatr Clwyd said Bryn Williams, a Michelin award-winning chef and restauranteur, will open a restaurant at the venue next year following the completion of a redevelopment project.

Liam Evans-Ford, Theatr Clwyd’s Executive Director, said, “We are deeply excited to be working in partnership with Bryn on our food and drink offer at Theatr Clwyd, including restaurants, bars, and all our event and retail spaces. 

"We always aim to work with people who are world-class at what they do, who share our values, and who have strong links to our locality. Bryn delivers on all these, and we look forward to working with him to make Theatr Clwyd known as a food and drink destination, as well a venue for world-class culture and communities work.”

Williams said, “I am thrilled to be returning home to my native Wales to work in partnership with Theatr Clwyd, an organisation I have known and loved since I was a child growing up locally."

Theatre Clwyd boss calls for breakdown of UK funding borders

Liam Evans-Ford
29 Apr 2024

Arts leaders from the devolved nations have called for the establishment of an arts fund dedicated to UK and international touring.

Welsh Culture Secretary pledges to keep Cardiff museum open

Exterior view of the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff picture in 2021
22 Apr 2024

Welsh Culture Secretary tells Senedd that crumbling infrastructure and a lack of funds will not force National Museum Cardiff to close.

Welsh National Opera cancels tours due to 'financial challenges'

The Marriage of Figaro as performed by Welsh National Opera
17 Apr 2024

Company says it has taken the 'difficult decision' to withdraw two weeks from its previously announced 2024/2025 season in the face of challenging economic times.

Arts Council Wales confirms redundancies and restructure

Arts Council of Wales offices in Cardiff
16 Apr 2024

A combination of redundancies and roles not being replaced will reduce the public body's staff by 13.

National Museum Cardiff facing closure

Yr Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd a'r ddinas / The National Museum of Wales Cardiff and the city
15 Apr 2024

As Museum Wales contends with a £4.5m deficit, it has introduced a rage of cost-saving measures, including the loss of at least 90 jobs.

Welsh National Opera musicians face reduced contracts

An exterior shot of Wales Millennium Centre, home to Welsh National Opera
02 Apr 2024

Proposed cuts would see performers paid less as a result of reduced working hours, with Musicians’ Union saying the  situation is a 'direct result of underfunding and defunding of opera'. 

Welsh Government pushes ahead with arts cuts

28 Feb 2024

The Welsh Government has finalised its budget for 2024/25, confirming a 10.5% cut for Arts Council of Wales and the National Library.

Museum workers from the National Museum of Wales, the National Library of Wales, and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales protested outside the Senedd on Tuesday (27 February) as the budget was published.

Proposals to cut financing for National Museums of Wales by £3m and reduce support for local culture and sport by £1.9m have been maintained in the final budget.

The draft budget explained that because of “protections” afforded to employability and skills, the government had to “take the difficult decision” to reprioritise £16m of funding away from culture, sport and tourism, as well as £2m from Cadw, which works to protect historic buildings, landscapes and heritage sites in Wales.

Cadw and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales will benefit from an amendment to the final budget, with an additional £1.16m going to the former and £243,000 going to the latter.

Plaid Cymru Senedd Member Sioned Williams joined the protest along with her colleagues, writing on X: "The cuts to Wales’ museums and National Library will affect so many people – jobs will be put at risk, and the protection of our historical and cultural legacy will be threatened. I, and my [Plaid Cymru] colleagues stand with unions protesting these cuts."

'In Wales we need to be creative like never before'

Graeme Farrow in front of Wales Millennium Centre
28 Feb 2024

Recent Welsh government budget cuts have created new fears across the creative sector about the impact on our communities, writes Graeme Farrow.

Arts Council Wales consults on voluntary redundancies

Arts Council of Wales at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, Wales.
15 Feb 2024

Chief Executive of Arts Council of Wales, Dafydd Rhys, says the organisation has been forced to make "extremely difficult decisions” following a 10.5% budget cut from the Welsh government.

Welsh government boosts its support for grassroots venues

A man plays guitar at a small gig
05 Feb 2024

17 music venues will share funding of over £700k to help improve facilities and make venues more accessible.

Arts Council Wales chief urges 'national debate’ on value of arts

WNO's La Traviata featuring David Junghoon Kim as Alfredo
24 Jan 2024

Comments follow the Senedd's decision to reduce Arts Council Wales' annual funding by 10.5%.

Scrapping free entry to Welsh museums ‘inevitable’

19 Jan 2024

The introduction of admission fees at all national museum sites in Wales due to “critical” financial pressures has an “air of inevitability”, a government committee has heard.

Deputy Minister for Culture Dawn Bowden told the Senedd’s culture committee that ending free entry was being considered as a way to generate income in the face of budget constraints.

In December, the Welsh government revealed plans for a curtailed cultural budget, handing a £3m cut to the National Museums of Wales and a 10.5% drop in funding to Arts Council Wales, suggesting cultural bodies need to "explore other sources of income".

Speaking at the culture committee, Plaid Cymru’s Llŷr Gruffydd said there was an air of inevitability about the introduction of entry charges.

Bowden told ministers: “It is not something that we would be considering or asking the museum to look at and to consider if it were not in a critical situation.

“The budget situation was such that this was an option that had to be on the table.

“Now, I'm not saying that that's where we will end up, but it would not be responsible of me to rule that out at this stage or to suggest to the museum they shouldn't be exploring that.”

Welsh government cuts culture funding by 10%

Senedd Cymru - Welsh Parliament signage outside the Senedd building
21 Dec 2023

Organisations including Arts Council Wales, National Museums of Wales and Cadw are all facing reduced funding under the Welsh government's latest budget proposals. 

National Theatre Wales appeal rejected

A Proper Ordinary Miracle by National Theatre Wales
18 Dec 2023

National Theatre Wales said it was “shocked and dismayed” at the ruling.

Panel upholds National Theatre Wales's appeal over funding cut

A production shot of two actors from Petula by National Theatre Wales
12 Dec 2023

Arts Council Wales will have to reconsider the company's funding application after an independent panel found it had not followed its own procedures "fairly and transparently"


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