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Theatre productions scaled back due to financial squeeze

26 Feb 2024 2 minute read
Theatr Colwyn, Colwyn Bay. Photo by Jaggery is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

A local authority’s precarious financial position is hitting theatre productions, as they are missing out on crucial arts grants.

According to a report due to be presented to Theatr Colwyn’s Joint Management Committee, the council-funded community theatre on Abergele Road is having to take less risks hosting shows.

Conwy is facing a budget shortfall of £22.5m and is consequently about to agree a 9.67% council tax rise to reach a balanced budget for 2024/25.

Service cuts

Widespread service cuts are also set to be agreed at a council meeting at Bodlondeb on February 29, including school budgets being slashed by 5.5%.

These proposals agreed by cabinet include plans to reduce the theatre to ‘three-day opening for cinema weeks’ whilst staff are ‘redeployed to support Venue Cymru on other days’.

The theatre report says Theatr Colwyn is only hosting shows that pose little financial risk, but this also means the venue is missing out on grant-funding.

“Theatr Colwyn has been booking in shows throughout the year. We are aware of the financial situation that the local authority finds itself in and will only accept bookings that are of little financial risk to us, with all live productions on a split box-office deal,” the report states.

“The drawback is that we have not been able to programme some shows which would have been supported by an Arts Council programme support grant.

“The number of companies that used to present small scale opera, ballet, and plays, which may have previously been presented at Theatr Colwyn, has significantly decreased over the past couple of years, presumably due to the cost of living increases and additional transport costs.”

‘Can’t Pay Won’t Pay’

The report concluded: “A planned application to stage an in-house production in association with one of the local producing companies which would have been taken out to neighbouring community centres as well as a performance at the theatre has had to be put on hold. The production of ‘Can’t Pay Won’t Pay’ will have to be postponed for the time being.”

The report also said Theatr Colwyn’s pantomime ‘Mother Goose’, produced by Colwyn Bay-based Magic Light, attracted 7,000 people to the venue last Christmas.

Tickets for this year’s show ‘Pinocchio’ are already on sale.

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Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago

What a sad state our country is in. Very, very sad.

1 month ago

Perhaps if Conwy cllrs donated the recent increase in exoenses – this might help ? 🤔

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