Theatre in Wales

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Arts venues in Wales to be audited     

Every arts venue in Wales is to come under close scrutiny - to make sure they are not overshadowed by the new Wales Millenium Centre.
The audit by the Welsh Assembly follows lobbying by theatre managers worried that that the new showcase for the arts being developed in Cardiff Bay will harm their businesses.

"I have made it clear right from the outset that the development of the centre should not be at the expense of artistic provision elsewhere in Wales"
Arts and Culture Minister Jenny Randerson

Over the next few months, each venue will be checked to see what facilities they have and the type of productions they are capable of staging.
The report will provide detailed information about the condition of buildings, the kind of audiences being catered for, and possible future uses for the venues.

The assembly's Arts and Culture Minister Jenny Randerson has been keen to strike the right balance between provision for the arts in the capital and the rest of Wales.

"This work is vital in the context of the development of the Wales Millennium Centre," she said.

"I have made it clear right from the outset that the development of the centre should not be at the expense of artistic provision elsewhere in Wales.

"This was why Edwina Hart announced that up to an additional £2m would be available to support provision outside Cardiff."

The minister added that details from the report would help identify ways of boosting the arts.

"It will ensure that we have a thriving base of arts venues throughout Wales capable of supporting productions of all types and sizes," she said.


"We need to ensure that people in all parts of Wales are able to benefit from the artistic impetus which will be provided by the WMC."

Last month, Kathryn McDowell left her post as chief executive of the WMC, after two years in the post overseeing the ambitious £92m arts project in Cardiff Bay.

Assembly Members had been concerned that the bill for constructing the centre had soared from £75m to £92m.

The appointment of Sir David Rowe Beddoe as the new chairman helped quell fears, but questions remain over the centre's business plan dismissed by some as "unrealistic".

'Help arts flourish'

The arts council team will present its findings to Mrs Randerson later this year.

ACW chairman Sybil Crouch said serious consideration had already been given to a full review of venues.

"This will be an excellent opportunity to find out what is on offer throughout Wales.

"One objective is to increase the accessibility of the arts and to help local and regionally-based arts to flourish for the benefit of every individual."

She added: "The arts are important in helping from local identity, and effectively celebrate the diversity of cultures within each and every community in Wales."
BBC news online  
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: news.bbc.co.uk/low/english/uk/wales/newsid_1316000

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