Theatre in Wales

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2m investment for regional theatre     

Culture minister Alun Pugh today detailed a £2million package of investment in Welsh arts.

The money will be spent on projects outside Cardiff in response to the £37million being ploughed into the capital's Wales Millennium Centre by the Assembly government.

Mr Pugh told Ams most of the new money would be spent on staging more, high quality productions in medium-sized theatres.

The rest will go to support smaller venues across Wales.

In a statement to the Assembly, Mr Pugh said: "While we have some first rate performance venues in Wales, in fairness the picture is not entirely rosy.

"Some of our theatres try to present a reasonable face to their customers. A closer inspection shows they are rapidly ageing, structurally unsound and offering a limited appeal to the public."

Mr Pugh said he wanted to increase access to the arts.

"With realistic ticket prices, the minimum of travel, focused marketing and a compelling product I believe we can bring the performing arts to an audience that has previously been excluded," he said.

The money will be channelled through the Arts Council and will be ring-fenced. Mr Pugh said £250,000 would be made available in the first financial year.

Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats questioned the funding. They said they had been led to understand there would be £2million a year.

Shadow culture minister Owen John Thomas urged Mr Pugh not to "spread the butter so thinly" the impact was minimal.

Mr Pugh said it would be "reasonably concentrated".
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