Theatre in Wales

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WNO Bids For Aid Package     

Welsh National Opera general director Anthony Freud has pitched a bid for 1.7 million in stabilisation cash, claiming that the organisation on its present basis is not viable.

The application was made last Friday to the Arts Council of Wales and Arts Council of England, joint funders of the WNO. It has caused some consternation among the Principalitys arts community, who argue that there are other prime contenders for such emergency grant aid.

Currently, ACW is the only arts quango in Britain which has no stabilisation scheme and any decision to alter that would probably spark similar bids from leading organisations such as Chapter Arts Centre and the Sherman Theatre.

Until now, these companies have been told that ACW has other priorities than establishing a rescue fund.

Commentators, meanwhile, have pointed out that WNO was bailed out of around 900,000 of debt by ACW and the Welsh Office during the eighties.

But if ACW and ACE opt not to provide this second aid package, serious doubts could be thrown on the future of the Wales Millennium Centre, whose business plan relies on WNO to provide the bulk of its annual programme.

In a thinly-veiled warning to ACW, Presenting the Arts Group chairman Janek Alexander told The Stage: Many Welsh companies face severe financial problems so it is good news that they are having this rethink. I cannot believe ACW would introduce stabilisation for the opera without introducing a scheme for all clients.

ACW chiefs were due to meet this week to discuss the application, although a decision is not expected until later in the summer.

Freud was not available for comment as The Stage went to press, but a WNO spokeswoman confirmed the figure and said it was part of a joint application totalling around 4 million to ACE and ACW.


BBC radio reports this morning (FRIDAY 1 JUNE 2001) that it is understood that Council decided last friday to give WNO its stabilisation grant.
Jon Gower, the BBC Wales arts correspomdent, said the decision will not be announced until after the election. WNO are to receive £4 M; ACE contributing 60% and ACW contributing 40%.
WNO will have to commit to achieving more sponsorship and revenue income.
he Stage  
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Alexa Baracaia
Thursday, May 31, 2001back



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