Theatre in Wales

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Alun Pugh promises cultural stability     

Wales's new Culture Minister Alun Pugh today reaffirmed the Welsh Assembly Government's commitment to its 10-year programme to put cultural issues higher on the agenda in Wales. In his first major speech to the Arts Council for Wales's first National conference, the Minister said that Creative Future will continue to provide the framework for taking forward arts activity over the next few years.

The Minister stressed however that whilst the 10-year strategy would be the base for building on the successes already achieved, it would not stifle new ideas or fresh approaches.
"Creative Future was an ambitious undertaking by which the Assembly Government set out to express a vision of a dynamic, creative and all-encompassing culture for Wales," said the Minister.

"I would like to make it clear that I am certainly not going to sweep away all that has gone before. I am quite clear on the guiding principles and I will be looking to develop policies which support the view that culture must not be exclusive to the privileged few. My focus will be on the themes of improving access to all, encouraging participation and promoting excellence."

The Minister said that the new Assembly Government will continue to develop and emphasise the beneficial effects of cultural and sporting activities through the social justice and sustainable communities strategies.

"Music, art and drama will have an enhanced role in our schools, our emerging sports strategy will link closely into our health promotion policies and in the economic development field we will integrate our cultural tourism and national events strategies," he said.

"We will examine the potential for a new National Gallery of Welsh Art and a National Digital Gallery, develop library services with greater use of new technologies and increased opening times, and strive to ensure improved availability of digital channels and TV channels originating in Wales."

The Minister added that the Assembly Government's budget for culture, sport and the Welsh Language has increased substantially over the last two years. "It now stands at £100 million per year- almost twice the budget of two years ago. The Assembly Government's continued commitment to the value of a culture policy is backed by our pledge to increase the funding available from the Culture Fund by 60% over three years," he said.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2003back



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