Theatre in Wales

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St Donats Arts Centre may close in six months as Arts Council of Wales announces grant withdrawal     

St Donats Arts Centre may close in six months as
Arts Council of Wales announces grant withdrawal St Donats Arts Centre has been given six months notice by the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) that its annual grant of £45,379 will be removed.

This decision could close St Donats Arts Centre by the end of July 2008. It could also mean the end of Wales’ International Storytelling Festival, the only one of its kind in Wales and the largest in the UK as well as an annual programme of educational events in schools, colleges, prisons and community venues in disadvantaged communities throughout Wales run by the arts centre.

Janet Smith, General Manager of St Donats Arts Centre said, “The reasons ACW give refer to St Donats Arts Centre’s relevance to the strategic objectives and priorities of ACW, and its location.”

She went on to say, “St Donats Arts Centre fully supports ACW’s need to invest in arts organisations that put its strategic priorities into action. The reasons given concern us greatly, therefore, given that ACW’s decision comes at a time when St Donats Arts Centre is delivering ACW’s strategic priorities more than at any time in its history.”

“The arts centre has never been more buoyant and dynamic and our work, particularly in the last two years has led to unprecedented success in the history of the arts centre in both the quality, popularity, breadth and access of our events, our festival, our education and touring work, and in our financial management. One example of this out of many is that St Donats Arts Centre is the only venue in Wales to successfully negotiate with the prestigious Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to perform, this summer, its unique style of open-air performance in the grounds of the arts centre and provide associated workshops for students.”

One of ACW’s overarching strategic priorities is that the arts are accessible and are taken to people, or involve people, based in either ‘Communities First’ areas or areas of acknowledged deprivation.

St Donats Arts Centre fully supports this strategic objective and since the mid 1990s, the Arts Centre has been working throughout Wales to provide an annual programme of educational, touring and outreach storytelling events with a focus on geographical areas of disadvantage.

Last year, St Donats Arts Centre ran 111 educational and outreach workshops to 3,995 children, young people and elderly people in Wales including the south Wales Valleys, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr, Newport, Barry and Swansea. This year the arts centre will be working closely with the Vale of Glamorgan Council on an innovative project to encourage storytelling skills among pupils in six Barry primary schools. Many of these locations are areas of acknowledged deprivation and some are designated as ‘Communities First’ areas of deprivation.

This work is part of the arts centre’s International Storytelling Festival which is the only one of its kind in Wales and the largest in the UK. In July 2007, the festival attracted over 1,600 people from Britain and beyond and comprised over 80 storytellers and performers from around the world. The touring work was funded, in part, by the Arts Council of Wales and the festival itself is supported financially by the National Assembly of Wales and a range of other partners for its ability to attract tourists to Wales, for the boost it provides to the south Wales economy, for the international attention it brings to Wales as well as the quality and scale of its educational and touring work.

For further information, contact Janet Smith, St Donats Arts Centre 01446 799095
st donats arts centre  
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Janet Smith
Wednesday, January 30, 2008back



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