Theatre in Wales

Commentary and extended critical writing on theatre, dance and performance in Wales

Quality Of Work Criticised

Theatrshopwales examined

THE state of theatre in Wales following recent developments at the Arts Council of Wales, was to have been the subject of a two-day debate in Aberystwyth at the weekend.
But last week’s real life political dramas intervened to delay publication of a major report by the National Assembly’s special arts adviser, Ceri Sherlock, who was due to speak at the State of the Nation debate, which was part of the Restless Gravity international performance festival.

Instead the debates simply divided into those who saw the kind of performance-based work on offer as the way ahead and those who had more inclusive views of the future of theatre in Wales.

Simon Harris, associate director of Sgript Cymru, the recently established new writing company, was a lone voice in pleading for script-based theatre work as an important part of Welsh drama. “We need writers in experimental and mainstream theatre,” he said, adding that there should be a venue dedicated to new work.

But the status of the performances on offer was challenged by those who claimed it was too self-indulgent and would not attract audiences. Political support for experimental work was also questioned by Plaid Cymru MP and AM Cynog Dafis, who said from the audience that the emphasis should be on participation.

“The Assembly’s priority for funding is to people in the community to create their own art - we feel it is a bottom-up process,” he said.

But there was also criticism of the quality of work by an officer of the British Council, which advises arts venues abroad on exciting new work from all over Britain. “I have not seen anything that we would recommend to overseas bookers,” said Andrew Jones, a Welshman now with the British Council in London.

author:David Adams

original source: Western Mail
17 October 2000


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