Tuesday 10 April saw the launch of a brand new agency to promote touring of drama, music and dance in Wales. Based in Aberystwyth, Creu Cymru, meaning Creative Wales, will act as a liaison between theatres and arts centres across Wales and the performing companies appearing at these venues.
Directors of the member receiving venues celebrated the launch of Creu Cymru with the ceremonial cutting of a Creu Cymru cake. The celebrations came at the end of a day long conference, held at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, where members discussed the way ahead for the new agency.
Creu Cymru arose out of the need, felt for many years, that Welsh presenting venues faced a potential crisis facing the availability, provision and diversity of appropriate touring. Although all Creu Cymru member venues are professionally managed, they represent a huge range of capacities, programming, programme needs and management styles. However they have interests in common regarding the future of touring and the promotion of the performing arts in Wales to work effectively together as Creu Cymru.
Creu Cymru will research and develop touring work for its member venues, from within Wales, the rest of the UK and internationally. By co-ordinating tours and guaranteeing work for touring companies, it is anticipated a much larger range of touring work can be made available to Welsh venues. There will also be cost savings to the venues, of multiple buying of tour performances.
The agency also has a specific remit to encourage the development of work of Welsh origin, through the medium of both Welsh and English. Creu Cymru has already started dialogue between Welsh producers and presenters, a relationship which has occasionally been strained in the past.
Creu Cymru also aims to create a new and dynamic forum for communication amongst arts professionals, both in person and electronically. The conference saw the first fruits of this new forum, with members appreciating the opportunity to meet with each other, many for the first time.
Creu Cymru also hopes to raise the profile of the arts in Wales and work with its member venues in creating a significant growth in arts attendances and in providing positive experiences of the arts to new audiences.
Members leaving the agency launch in Aberystwyth were confident, that by working together and using their collective strength, the performing arts in Wales could be revitalised and the choice of product for audiences expanded and improved.
Creu Cymru already has a membership of 31, a figure which is still growing, but already includes all of the country's main theatres and arts centres. Creu Cymru will be representing the views this membership in the national debate regarding future strategies towards the development and funding of the arts. It has already made representations to both the National Assembly and Arts Council of Wales regarding the potential adverse implications for its members of the development of the Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
Creu Cymru has been set up to initially operate for two years to test the need for such a liaison agency. Funding for the body has come from the Arts Council of Wales with money earned from the National Lottery. Member organizations will also pay a small annual subscription to the agency. It is hoped that after the two year trail period, the agency will become a permanent part of the arts scene in Wales, coordinating and supporting the network of venues throughout the country.
Setting up of the agency has created four jobs in Aberystwyth for the agency's staff. Director Richard Hogger was involved in the setting up of a similar agency in the
East of England and brings his experiences of that agency to Wales. Marketing Manager Iain Kempton was formerly Marketing Manager at Newtown's Theatr Hafren, one of the member organizations of Creu Cymru. Yvonne O'Donovan and Nerys Davies, both fluent Welsh speakers, have worked locally in the Aberystwyth area and have been recruited as the agency's administrators. Yvonne and Nerys will ensure the agency provides a bilingual service to its member organisations.
Creu Cymru - Asiantaeth Teithio i Gymru/ The Touring Agency for Wales is a new agency to promote and facilitate tours of drama, music and dance to member theatre and arts centres across Wales.
| Creu Cymru
web site: www.creucymru.com
|Thursday, April 12, 2001|