Posted: Fri 13th Nov 2020

Theatr Clwyd boss says Welsh Government ‘has given no reason’ why they cannot reopen

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Nov 13th, 2020


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Theatr Clwyd’s Executive Director has said the regional arts centre has not been given any reason by the Welsh Government as to why they cannot open for live, physically-distanced performances.

Other venues such as bars, restaurants and pubs are now allowed to open as well as cinemas such as the one at Theatr Clwyd itself.

A recent statement from Creu Cymru, the development agency for theatres and arts centres in Wales, talked about how “devastated” they were to learn of the news that theatres were to remain shut after the firebreak lockdown.

The Welsh Government say they will re-publish guidance for the phased re-opening of culture and heritage destinations, which incorporates theatres, and that they are working with the sector to reopen “when the time is right”, a spokesperson said.

Liam Evans-Ford, Executive Director for Theatr Clwyd, said: “We support the Welsh Government approach towards looking after people’s public health as we collectively fight this virus.

“We also enjoyed working with officials in delivering our highly successful outdoor test event season in the summer.

“We continue to work incredibly hard to make sure we provide audiences with a safe, comfortable and, importantly, enjoyable experience.

“It is therefore incredibly frustrating that we are not allowed to open for live, physically-distanced performances while bars, restaurants, pubs, bingo halls, cinemas (including our own), bowling alleys, ice rinks and retail are allowed to open.

“We are yet to be given a reason why this is the case, but we are certain we can look after people as well as any of the other sectors who have been allowed to operate.

“This isn’t about having full capacity gatherings yet, we understand that is unrealistic, we simply want parity with every other sector in Wales.

“The current position makes no sense and we would welcome a proper discussion with Welsh Government about how to resolve this, and ensure we have a roadmap to recovery for theatres and live performance venues in Wales.”

Other theatre directors across the country in places such as Cardiff and Carmarthen agree with Mr Evans-Ford, arguing their teams can put on safe productions.

Test performances, with no spectators, were put on by Theatr Clwyd during the summer but were halted recently due to the firebreak lockdown.

Gwennan Mair, Theatr Clwyd’s Director of Creative Engagement, said: “It was definitely a success in terms of bringing trust and we hope to be able to do the same inside the theatre very soon.

“We’re used to keeping people safe, whether that’s young people coming into our buildings, audiences and performers – it’s our jobs.

“We would love to be trusted to deliver that in future.”

By Jordan Adams

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