Theatre in Wales

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Merger talks for theatre company     

A new theatre production and touring company in south Wales could be created if merger talks between Cardiff's Sherman Theatre and Sgript Cymru, the national company for new writing, are successful.

Eighteen months ago the Arts Council of Wales embarked upon a review of English language theatre provision in Wales and brought in an expert, Peter Boyden, to do the work.

He had looked at the state of theatre in England and found it wanting, and his subsequent report led to a £25m cash injection for the sector.

Putting English language theatre in Wales under the microscope, he found low investment and a talent drain out of the country.

He also stressed the need to create a building-based, main scale company in south Wales.

Merging the Sherman and Sgript Cymru could fill that perceived gap.

The Arts Council of Wales thinks that talks between the two boards could lead to better provision for artists, audiences and participants.

Its chief executive, Peter Tyndall, said: "These talks could signal at long last a new theatre production and touring company for south Wales."

The Sherman theatre has already established itself as a centre of excellence for theatre for children and young people.

There are plans for a major National Lottery funded refurbishment of the building and its facilities to start in 2007 with an expected reopening of a new theatre, studios, rehearsal spaces and educational facilities in the autumn of 2008.

Sgript Cymru meanwhile has been encouraging new writing in both Welsh and English, touring plays by writers such as Meic Povey and Gary Owen around Wales and taking them to England.

Ann Beynon, chair of Sgript Cymru said: "We look forward to the imminent merger discussions which should, if productive, create a powerful voice for theatre in Wales and a home for new writing."

David Stacey, chair of Sherman Theatre, is similarly upbeat. He thinks that the talks could "place the merged company at the forefront of Welsh contemporary drama and writing".
BBC Wales  
web site
Jon Gower
Tuesday, December 06, 2005back



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