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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"

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

Jorge Lizalde

An independent panel has upheld an appeal bought by National Theatre Wales (NTW) that contested Arts Council Wales's (ACW) decision to strip the organisation of all its funding.

NTW said the panel found ACW had “not followed its own procedures in fairly and transparently assessing our application”. 

Its application is now being referred back to the ACW board to be reassessed tomorrow (13 December).


NTW learned in September that it was not included in the 81 creative organisations making up ACW’s forthcoming portfolio, losing all its £1.6m annual investment.

After the decision was revealed, NTW said it was “deeply shocked”. The company later wrote to ACW outlining its intention to appeal the decision and calling for "urgent conversations" before the appeal concluded, warning of closure within six months if funding was not reinstated.

The company has previously faced criticism for performing in English and claims it favours English artists over Welsh ones. The Welsh language is one of the six principles that arts organisations must respond to in their submissions to ACW, and the funding body has committed to a review of English language theatre in Wales.

In its open letter, NTW challenged the "decision to dismantle Wales’s English-language national theatre before this review takes place".

Added uncertainty

Following the news that its appeal had been upheld, NTW said: “We look forward to having a constructive conversation with Arts Council Wales as soon as possible about ways forward.

“This situation has been very challenging for our charity and the many partners, artists and theatre-makers we work with. We are also aware that it brings added uncertainty for the many brilliant and vital arts organisations who have provisional funding offers from Arts Council Wales.

"We will continue to advocate for more support for the arts in Wales.”

ACW told the BBC that it had received 15 appeals against the outcome of its investment review, 14 of which were rejected by the reviewer "on grounds of eligibility or failure to demonstrate sufficient grounds for appeal".

It added: "The appeal by National Theatre Wales was referred by the reviewer to an independent appeal panel for full consideration, in line with our published appeals process.”

Mid Wales Opera was one of those organisations to appeal, claiming ACW's appraisal “fundamentally misunderstands and misrepresents the question of how we pay artists”. An independent assessor agreed with the company that there had been some errors in the appraisal, but it did not find the mistake sufficient to justify advancing the appeal to a panel hearing.

A headshot of Mary Stone