Theatre in Wales

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Report on 'A Kick up the Arts'     

IT was his first public appearance since he was appointed chief executive of the Arts Council of Wales and yesterday Peter Tyndall held a captive audience as he addressed a conference on the future of the performing arts.

ACW is currently being reorganised and Tyndall vowed that the newly decentralised quango would deliver the goods.
"A new Arts Council of Wales for a new era of arts in Wales - we will change where change is needed," he told delegates at the conference, entitled A Kick Up The Arts, which was held at Cardiff's Chapter Arts Centre.

He was addressing more than 100 delegates from performing arts organisations across Wales who met to forge a five-year plan for Welsh arts.

It was, many of them said, time to draw a line under what had gone before and start again. It was a time for pride in Wales, a thriving hotbed of artistic talent - and a time to be sheepish.

As English broadcaster Peter Allen pointed out, Wales was the nation which apparently wanted a rugby stadium more than an opera house.

"A rugby stadium or an opera house? Only a society who hadn't grown up could let that happen."

Allen said the English arts community recognised its Welsh counterpart for its trademark rows on funding and not-yet-realised vision of the Wales Millennium Centre.

"I sometimes wonder if anyone in the arts community in Wales has enough self belief to get on without first kicking a rival," he said.

Culture Minister Jenny Randerson announced that funding for the Arts Council of Wales this financial year is £17m, a £1.2m increase on last year. Ms Randerson assured delegates that she had made a strong case for further funding and urged everyone to "watch this space."

"Wales does not have the strength in terms of infrastructure to maintain its reputation far into this century," she said, before outlining how the National Assembly's cultural strategy would turn this around.

Delegates expressed concern over the continued discrepancy between subsidies for shows in England and Scotland compared to subsidies in Wales. ACW chairman Sybil Crouch said the matter was "under consideration."
Western Mail  
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Tuesday, October 09, 2001back



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