Arts Council of Wales Statement

Arts Council of Wales Statement


As some of the lockdown arrangements are relaxed the arts industry throughout the UK faces an uncertain future with little sign of there being an early return to live performances. Many theatres are heavily dependant on their Christmas pantomime season within their annual budgets and the Stiwt at Rhosllannerchrugog is no exception. The venue of course is also heavily used by local groups and choirs but having to maintain 2 metre social distancing makes meetings difficult. The suspension of practices and meetings adds to the reduction in revenue faced by the Stiwt.

The Stiwt is run by a charitable trust managed by volunteer trustees who had to take the difficult decision at the outset of the outbreak, and a week before lockdown, to close the venue and furlough all but one of the theatre’s staff. The theatre had experienced an 80% reduction in ticket income in February compared to the previous year as anxiety surrounding the outbreak increased as it spread throughout countries in Europe. During February and early March the theatre’s reserves were almost entirely depleted as wages and other outgoings were met in the face of this significant reduction in income.

The Stiwt were able to react quickly to events as they unfolded and made an immediate application under the Welsh Government’s Business Continuity Fund. This was successful and has ensured that some of the on-going costs can be met whilst the building is closed.

Aled Roberts, Chair of the Stiwt Trust said:

“The Covid-10 outbreak has had a devastating impact on our revenue and we are thankful for the ongoing support from Wrexham Council and Rhos Community Council. We have also been very fortunate to have been awarded an additional grant from the Arts Council of Wales‘ Arts Stabilisation Fund. These monies are part of the £600 million made available by the National Lottery to support communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis. These funds will provide us with a degree of security over the coming months to meet outgoings whilst measures are put in place to ensure activities can once again take place”.

Volunteers at the Stiwt have also launched a Just Giving campaign where supporters are invited to buy a ticket for a virtual event being broadcast on July 20th showing a compilation of the Stiwt’s acitivities since 1990. Mr Roberts added: “Over £1,800 has been raised so far for through our Just Giving appeal and we are grateful to those locally who continue to support us. Many of the shows which were to have taken place during lockdown are now being re-arranged and details will be posted on the website shortly. A decision will also be taken as to whether the popular Panto will go-ahead once the guidance is issued for theatres in Wales.”

Arts Council of Wales