Theatre in Wales

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Wales Theatre Awards and Critics Fund     

Wales Theatre Awards and Critics Fund

The stars will be out at the end of January with a glittering awards ceremony to celebrate opera, theatre and dance in Wales that have delighted audiences throughout the year.

Nominated by critics who have reviewed performances throughout the year, the awards will recognise actors, singers, dancers, designers and writers for performances created and presented in Wales.

What will make the awards evening unique is the launch of a new fund to make sure artists and audiences benefit from the debate, discussion and feedback provided by critics working across Wales by enabling far more reviewing across Wales and by supporting the next generation of reviewers.

Wales Theatre Awards Director Mike Smith said, “After discussions with the arts sector, critics and the media, we have reorganised and restructured the previous Theatre Critics in Wales Awards that had been an initiative of young critics in South Wales into the Wales Theatre Awards. While keeping young people and new reviewers at its heart, the new awards scheme now includes more of our best-known professional critics and is run by a not for profit Cardiff-based company, Arts Awards Ltd.

“The new awards will be more inclusive and open, include more professional reviewers working for newspapers, magazines and online, more geographically broad-based and more specialist reviewers in all of the genres of performance that are included. This has also included having more Welsh language reviewers to ensure our awards are truly representative of performance in our nation. We have also established links with young reviewer schemes in other parts of Wales and they will start inputting into the awards from 2016.”

The nominations for the new awards are from a larger, more diverse group of reviewers working across dance, opera and theatre, in English and Welsh, based all over Wales and having their reviews appearing in print and online. Judges will then select shortlists and ultimately the winners for each category from these nominations. These judging groups will include more professional reviewers but also include young critics starting out in their careers.

He added, “While the new fund is primarily to help facilitate reviewing, we hope to be able to work with the arts sector to build relationships between reviewers and the media, working with them and other like-minded organisations to help develop new reviewers, broaden the base of critical writing and input for their organisation, artists and work being created and performed and also train their own staff in this work.

“The new Critics Fund will work to increase the amount, diversity and inclusivity of reviewing across Wales. Crucially, we have the support of the National Union of Journalists, as we are ensuring the work of the Fund is ethical, non-exploitative and provides genuine opportunity and development for those taking part. We also have the support of Creu Cymru, the development agency for theatres and arts centres in Wales, representing virtually all of the nation's professionally run venues. This will be pivotal in linking reviewers and venues.”

So how will the Fund work? Reviewers, including those wanting to gain experience but who do not have access to other payment or funding, can apply for tickets, travel costs and, where necessary, accommodation costs to attend and review performances across Wales. If a young critic based in Bridgend, for example, wanted to review a play created in Milford Haven or a Welsh language reviewer in Cardiff wanted to review a Welsh-language production in Bangor, or a dance reviewer in Wrexham wanted to review a show in Cardiff then the fund should enable this. We are keen to support not only young critics, students and freelances who do not have funding from commissioning organisations but people from sections of society who have not previously been given a voice.

The WTA and the new critics fund is the UK’s first project to not only include new and established critics in a theatre awards scheme but will work to develop new reviewing capacity, mentor writers, give tickets, travel and accommodation bursaries and help provide platforms for their reviews.

Mike added, “The awards and the new critics fund have already attracted wide support but as we are an independent project the more donations we receive the more work we can achieve. We have a crowd funding campaign with lots of tickets and other goodies from meals at Ffresh at Wales Millennium Centre and show tickets, cinema tickets , meet the media courses, tickets to the awards evening and show tickets at the New Theatre and St David’s Hall, Cardiff. So please visit our new website for more information and the link to the crowd funding campaign.”

The shortlists for the categories that include recognition for actors, singers, dancers, producers, writers and designers will be announced in mid-January at a special event at Aberystwyth Arts Centre and the winners will be revealed at the awards evening hosted by Sherman Cymru on Saturday, January 31.

If you check out our crowd funder it tells you all about it:

web site

Friday, January 02, 2015back



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