Theatre in Wales

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

Y ddrama gerbron y rheithgor

Ganol Ionawr, plygodd Cyngor y Celfyddydau i bwysau gwleidyddol a gohirio rhan o'i strategaeth ddrama. Ond beth yn union ddigwyddodd yn y cyfarfod yn

Ddydd Mercher, Ionawr 19eg o Ionawr, fe ymddangosodd staff ac aelodau Cyngor y Celfyddydau gerbron Pwyllgor Diwylliant y Cynulliad i geisio taflu goleuni ar eu strategaeth ar gyfer y celfyddydau.

Roedd yn gwrdd arwyddocaol. Roedd y cecru ynglyn 'r strategaeth ddrama wedi troi'r hyn a ddylai fod wedi bod yn gyfarfod digon rhwydd yn wrandawiad hynod anodd. Roedd nifer o'r Aelodau oedd yn gwrando tystiolaeth eisoes wedi mynegi eu hanfodlonrwydd gwaith y Cyngor. Ond mewn enghraifft ryfeddol o newid polisi, penderfynodd y Cyngor gyhoeddi gohiriad eu strategaeth yngln theatr mewn addysg ar ddechrau'r sesiwn. Ond nid oedd hynny'n ddigon i rwystro'r juggernaut o feirniadaeth sydd wedi bod ar y Cyngor, gyda Tom Middlehurst yn cyhoeddi y byddai archwiliad annibynnol o'r Cyngor yn cael ei wneud

Un o anfanteision ein democratiaeth newydd lawr yn y Bae yw nad yw'n arfer gan y Cynulliad Cenedlaethol i gyhoeddi Cofnod Swyddogol o'i drafodaethau yn y Pwyllgorau Pwnc. Gan bwysiced y drafodaeth yma i ddyfodol drama yng Nghymru, mae theatr yn manteisio ar y cyfle i wneud y gwaith hwnnw ei hun.

Y datganiad
Sybil Crouch: Dwi'n troi at Saesneg ar gyfer y datganiad yma. As a relatively new Chairman of the Arts Council, I have been listening very carefully to the views expressed about the Theatre and Young People Element of the Drama Strategy. There is certainly concern amongst a number of groups and organisations as to whether we are adopting the right approach both as regards direction and implementation. I believe that the Arts Council has acted correctly and with integrity. Nonetheless, we must listen to what is being said and carry people with us. And I want to achieve the greatest possible consensus for our policies so that we are both accountable and effective. The Arts Council of Wales has actively sought the views of all interested parties and following recent discussions with the Welsh Local Government Association, we propose to suspend the strategy for theatre for young people and maintain the status quo for the forthcoming year. The Arts Council of Wales and the WLGA are mutually committed to provide the best possible service to young people in Wales, and we look forward to holding detailed discussions with the WLGA on appropriate implementation and sustainable high-quality provision. I believe that in taking this action we shall be doing something that is both constructive and likely to yield very positive results for theatre for young people. I believe that it demonstrates that we are a listening council and that we are committed to a partnership approach.

Cynog Dafis: O'n i wedi amau bod rhywbeth felly ar y ffordd. Mi fydd yn haeddu ei le yn y newyddion, does dim amheuaeth, a byddai'r cyfarfod yma yn werth ei gynnal petai ond am hynny.

Dechreuad y strategaeth ddrama
Elin Jones: Os ga i holi yn gynta yngln 'r strategaeth ddrama ei hunan. Mae'n amlwg ac yn hysbys i rai ohonom erbyn hyn mai man cychwyn y strategaeth ddrama oedd diogelu Clwyd Theatr Cymru. Faint o wirionedd sydd yn hyn? A fyddwch yn fodlon olrhain dilyniant y digwyddiadau a symiau ariannol oedd yn y fantol yn y cyd-destun hynny?

Joanna Weston:If I could just make one comment first, that the point of the Drama Straegy was to safeguard the whole of professional drama production in all of its variety and range.

Michael Baker: Chairman, before I do so, may I just note that I do have an interest in Theatr Clwyd. My brother works for the company. However the Council looks to me for strategic advice, although I take no part in decisions on grants. To answer the question specifically, the recent developments of Clwyd Theatr Cymru really began with local government reorganisations. At the time, there was some publicity given to the financial crisis which faced the then Theatr Clwyd as the new Flintshire was so much smaller that the old Clwyd, which for twenty years had funded Theatr Clwyd with a sum latterly of 1.5 million to which the Welsh Arts Council gave 0.5 million. The reorganisatioon made the sustainability of that level of local authority support impossible and we were asked, together with the then Welsh Office, to assist in preserving the facility which was then unique in Wales, which was our main English-language producing company. The Council decided, and not without considerable discussion, to increase the grant by 200,000 to 700,000, accompanied by a new vision for the company, which was that it should mean more to the rest of Wales. Around the same period, the theatre and Flintshire County Council employed Terry Hands as Artistic Director and the stakes were raised [...]

Elin Jones: Diddorol iawn. Mae'n ymddangos mai cyfres o benderfyniadau ad hoc, ad- drefnu llywodraeth leol, apwyntio Terry Hands ('the stakes were raised', fel wedoch chi), taw hynny oedd yn gyfrifol am y penderfyniad i apwyntio Clwyd Theatr yn theatr genedlaethol cyfrwng Saesneg a nad oedd hynny'n rhan o unrhyw strategaeth nac ymgynghoriad. Effaith gwyrdroi'r Strategaeth ar gwmn•au a enillodd drwydded Elin Jones: So what you've said today will considerably affect the way that the five companies that were successful in these franchise rounds that have been preparing for the last four or five months in terms of their finance, in terms of their employment practices, in terms of their programme development?

Alwyn Roberts: Yes, inevitably. You cannot a reverse a process and not have a cost attached to it. Theatr genedlaethol Gymraeg ei hiaith?

Christine Humphries: Ga i droi at y sefyllfa efo Theatr Gwynedd? Y bwriad ydi i Theatr Gwynedd fod yn bwerdy i theatr Gymraeg. Sut mae model y theatr genedlaethol Gymraeg yn gwahaniaethu oddi wrth yr un Saesneg? Ac ai peth call ydi canoli dwy theatr genedlaethol yn y Gogledd?

Michael Baker: [...]Mae yn wir bod Theatr Gwynedd yn rhan o'r datblygiad, yn yr ystyr ein bod wedi penderfynu canoli'r adnoddau a roddir i'r ddau gwmni, Theatr Gwynedd a Theatr Bara Caws, er mwyn creu sefydliad ariannol i'r cwmni newydd. [...] Mae gwreiddiau'r datblygiad cwmni theatr newydd yn y Gymraeg yn wahanol iawn i'r un rwyf newydd ei ddisgrifio yngln Theatr Clwyd.

Diffyg Cyllideb
Jonathan Morgan: Concerning the strategy, was it driven by a shortage of money?

Sybil Crouch: The short answer is Yes, but the longer answer is Yes, and there are wider reasons.

Joanna Weston: Well exactly. It's one of the conditions under which we are working, and so you can't ignore it. But there were other reasons to do with quality, to do with concentrating resources, to do with looking at the number of companies that had built up in Wales historically, way out of proportion with what was supported in other countries. For example, we had 20 small drama companies on about half the funding compared with 10 drama companies in Scotland. I'm not holding up Scotland as the example of everything perfect, but as a comparison it shows you that we were trying to sustain a huge range of small companies, all of whom were telling us, we're struggling, it's difficult to survive, and it's difficult, very difficult, to maintain quality. So that's a condition as well as the shortage of funding

A ddylid gohirio'r penderfyniad i uno Dalier Sylw a Made in Wales hefyd?
Cynog Dafis: Mae'r penderfyniad i beidio pharhau i gyllido Dalier Sylw a Made in Wales ar wahn yn un go amhoblogaidd. Pan ych chi wedi penderfynu gohirio gweithredu'r strategaeth ddrama mewn perthynas Theatr i Bobl Ifanc, ond wedi penderfynu peidio gohirio mewn perthynas 'r mater yma, sydd yn un ddadleuol iawn iawn? Mae'r syniad o roi cwmni Saesneg a chwmni Cymraeg yn un cwmni yn cael ei ystyried yn un amheus iawn iawn hefyd. Fyddech chi ddim yn fodlon ystyried gohirio hwn hefyd?

Joanna Weston: We haven't specifically considered that question. [...] I think it would be unreasonable to say that we wouldn't be prepared to re-consider.

Cynog Dafis: So, dyw'r drws ddim ar gau ar y mater yma. Sybil Crouch: [...] I must say that if the Council was to respond every time it made a difficult decision and somebody didn't like it and we changed it, that we wouldn't have any strategy at all. [...]

Cynog Dafis: [...] Falle bydde hi'n briodol i chi edrych eto.

author:

original source: Barn
04 March 2000

 

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