Theatre in Wales

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Is the welsh cultural strategy 'too vague'?     

Welsh culture minister Jenny Randerson has finally unveiled her cultural strategy for the nation, to mixed reaction from an arts community that fears the document lacks clear-cut priorities.

The 86-page paper, in similar style to the Arts Council of Englands National Policy for Theatre, paints a broad vision for the future. It also proposes a string of action plans for drama, theatre for young people, music, new writing and dance.

Among its aims are better funding for individual artists, more revenue support for building-based companies and equal support for the professional and community sectors. However, many Welsh arts leaders feel the priorities are too vague and numerous to be workable.

Wales Association for the Performing Arts chairman Chris Ryde said: It all looks reasonably positive but it doesnt give you a terrific sense of what the priorities are within her own thinking. You could do anything asthe Arts Council of Wales and claim it fitted in with the cultural strategy.

I think it would help ACW if they were in a position to say what cannot be done in the short-term so they could have a small number of priorities instead of 27, or however many it is.

Among the action plans laid out in the paper are the development of a new drama strategy; a review of grant-in-aid and Lottery funding of individual artists; and the completion, by 2003, of an action plan for dance. An in-depth database of all Welsh arts venues and their demographic reach is also planned.

But Ryde insisted that the Assemblys 3.9 million funding boost for ACW, allocated over the next three years, is not nearly enough to fund all of those priorities.

There is not enough money at all to do anything other than stabilise individual clients. I have written to [ACW chief executive] Peter Tyndall on behalf of WAPA saying the safest thing is to spend next years money evenly among all the clients. I dont see any other reasonable way of doing it.

Randerson, who presented her strategy to the assemblys culture committee last week, also said that funding should go toward increasing companies producing capacity, supporting those with strong links to the community and to children, and allowing the flagship institutions to raise themselves to an international footing.

The document is to be put to the Welsh parliament on December 4 and formally launched in the New Year. Its action plans will be implemented in stages by the culture committee, in consultation with the relevant bodies.
The Stage  
web site
Alexa Baracaia
Wednesday, November 28, 2001back



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