Plaid Cymru, along with people across the arts in Wales have written an open letter to the First Minister, calling for urgent support to protect Wales' treasured arts industry.

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Dear First Minister,

We write jointly with members of Wales’ arts sector to request that the £59 Million support package that the UK Government has announced for Wales is used in full to secure the future of the sector. 

The arts and creative industries make a significant contribution to the economy in Wales. The latest figures available suggest that the sector generates an annual turnover in the region of £2.2 billion and employs around 56,000 people.

However, there is a real danger that we are about to witness a catastrophic chain of events. 

With over three months of industry-wide closures due to lockdown measures there has been a total pause in income across the sector and with the Job Retention Scheme coming to an end in its current form, redundancies are imminent.

The Wales Millennium Centre, for example, which is a staple of the Welsh arts and cultural scene, is going through a redundancy consultation period with 250 jobs at risk. Having already lost £20 million in revenue it will not be able to open its doors until at least April 2021.

With a pre-Covid annual turnover of £1.4 million, Theatr Mwldan in Cardigan has also started the redundancy consultation period with all its 26 staff.

Machynlleth Comedy Festival generates over £1 million for the Welsh economy annually. Having faced cancellation earlier this year Little Wander, the Welsh SME behind the festival, is facing the end of the furlough scheme with the inability to generate income placing the organisation in severe jeopardy.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as community theatres and arts organisations across the country are likely to disappear without a trace leaving a huge cultural and economic void.

In addition, freelancers make up 70% of the workforce; they are the creators and innovators responsible for producing the work. Thousands of these workers – from technicians to sound engineers to actors and directors – were not eligible for furlough or self-employed support and have not been supported since lockdown began.  Many are facing losing their livelihoods and homes and are likely to leave the industry in their droves. The impact on job losses, the Welsh language and culture, health and wellbeing and the wider economy will be immeasurable.

The industry has on multiple occasions requested information on recovery plans, but these have not materialised.

With the promise of £59 Million from Westminster, The Welsh Government must now show leadership and assist in creating a clear plan that demonstrates the importance we in Wales place on our culture.

There is really no time to waste. With so many arts organisations entering the redundancy consultation period and the percentage of the workforce not supported, if no action is taken immediately the industry is likely to collapse within a month. Thousands of jobs will be lost and the fallout will be irreversible.

We are calling for three, concrete and urgent interventions from the Welsh Government to save the industry and to prevent countless job losses.

  1. An Emergency Taskforce – Comprised of representatives from theatres, arts organisations, freelancers, artists and community practitioners. The expertise and knowledge of this group should inform the actions of the Welsh Government in relation to saving the industry.
  2. Investment as part of a Covid-19 recovery plan – The workforce must receive financial support because without them there is no industry.
  3. A roadmap (with a clear plan to recovery) The current map offered by the UK Government doesn’t provide any investment, detailed timeframes, nor any reimagination of business models, in terms of how theatres and arts organisations can operate in the near future and pave the way for recovery in the years ahead. Welsh Government needs to work with the sector to create a roadmap specific to Wales.

The arts sector in Wales see this as a critical moment in our history and one which could be viewed as a turning point in terms of how we view the arts in Wales. Beyond the immediate crisis, there is an opportunity here for us to realise an integrated, diverse, arts ecology that would benefit the economy, education, mental health and well-being during and after the recovery period from Covid-19, along the lines envisaged by the Welsh Government when it legislated for the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act in 2015. The Welsh Government must therefore demonstrate clearly how ensuring a sustainable future for the arts and culture in the broadest sense will be at the forefront of its post-Covid recovery framework.

In the meantime, there is a month left to find urgent answers before it is too late and we implore you to work with the sector to find them.

Yn gywir,

Adam Price MS

Leader, Plaid Cymru

Sian Gwenllian MS

Shadow Minister for Culture

This letter is supported by:

Adele Thomas (Opera Director / Cyfarwyddwr Opera)

Angharad Lee (Freelance director / Cyfarwyddwr Llawrydd)

Bethan Marlow (Writer, Director / Awdur, Cyfarwyddwr)

Carys Eleri (Actor, Performer / Actor a Perfformiwr)

Catrin Finch (Harpist / Telynores)

Charlotte Church (Singer, Educator / Canwr, Addysgwr)

Dafydd James (Writer/Composer, Awdur, Cyfansoddwr)

Daniel Evans (Actor)

Elen Bowman (Producer, Director / Cynhyrchydd, Cyfarwyddwr)

Gary Owen (Playwright, Dramodydd)

Geinor Styles (Artistic Director, Cyfarwyddwr Artistig)

Glesni Price- Jones (Freelance theatre producer / Cynhyrchydd theatr llawrydd)

Huw Davies (Actor)

Jalisa Andrews (Actor)

Lee Lyford (Artistic Director Theatr Iolo / Cyfarwyddwr Artistig Theatr Iolo)

Kiri Pritchard Mclean (Writer, comedian)

Liz Gardiner (Actor)

Manon Eames (Writer / Awdur)

Mared Swayne (Director / Cyfarwyddwr)

Mark Lewis Jones (Actor)

Olwen Medi (Actor)

Rhian Hutchings (Director / Cyfarwyddwr)

Robert Bowman (Actor, Producer / Actor, Cynhyrcydd)

Siân Lloyd (Presenter / Cyflwynydd)

Stifyn Parri (Producer / Cynhyrchydd)

Terry Victor (Actor, Writer a Director / Actor, Awdur a Cyfarwyddwr)

Vivien Care (Course Manager / Rheolwr Cwrs)

Dan Seidler (Tramshed)

Glyn Rhys-James (Musician / Cerddor)

Daniel Jones (Globetrotters music venue)

Adam Roy Whitmore (Promoter, Band & tour manager / Hyrwyddwr a Rheolwr Band a Thaith)

Zac Mather (Musician and creative freelancer / Cerddor a llawrydd)

Joshua Sinclair (Tour Manager and Sound Engineer / Rheolwr Taith a Cynhyrchydd Sain)

Dic Ben (Musician / Cerddor)

Griff Lynch (Musician / Cerddor)

Robyn Gruffydd Hughes (Musician / Cerddor)

Richard Hawkins (Promoter / Hyrwyddwr)

Georgia Ruth Williams (Musician / Cerddor)

Kevin Ford (Musician / Cerddor)

Gwyn Eiddior (Art Director / Cyfarwyddwr Artistig)

Ed Truckell (Sound Engineer / Cyhyrchydd Sain)

Kris Jenkins (Producer / Cynhyrchydd)

Benjamin T Mainwaring (Musician / Cerddor)

John Rea (Composer and musician / Cyfansoddwr a cherddor)

Richard Huw Morgan (Performance artist / Perfformiwr)

Alison Woods (Prif Weithredwr NoFit State Circus / Chief Executive NoFit State Circus)

Dr Firenza Guidi (Auteur a Chyfarwyddwr Lexicon NoFit State Circus / NoFit State Circus Lexicon Auteur & Director)

Steffan Donnelly (Cyfarwyddwr Artistig Cwmni Theatr Invertigo / Invertigo Theatre Artistic Director)

Ifor ap Glyn (Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru /  National Poet of Wales)

Abdul Shayek (Cyfarwyddwr Artistig Fio  / Fio Artistic Director)

Elen ap Robert (Ymgynghorydd Celfyddydau  / Arts Consultant)

Catherine Young (Cyfarwyddwr Artistig Dawns i Bawb  /  Dawns i Bawb Artistic Director)

Mari Pritchard (Cerddor ac arweinydd / Musician and conductor)

Ian Rowlands (Dramodydd a Chyfarwyddwr / Playwright and Director)

Rhian a Cefin Roberts (Cyd-gyfarwyddwyr Ysgol Glanaethwy /  Ysgol Glanaethwy Co-directors)

Iwan Williams (Cyfarwyddwr  Ffiwsar  / Ffiwsar Director)

Yvette Vaughan-Jones (Ymgynghorydd Celfyddydau, Cadeirydd Bwrdd Opera Cenedlaethol Cymru / Arts Consultant, Chair of Welsh National Opera)

Dr Gwawr Ifan (Ysgol Cerddoriaeth a’r Cyfryngau Prifysgol Bangor /  School of Music and Media  Bangor University)

Nici Beech (Myfyriwr Phd a Chynhyrchydd Gwyl  /   PhD student and Festival Producer._

Daloni Metcalf (Darlledwr  /  Broadcaster)

Geoff Cripps (Cadeirydd Creu Cymru a Theatr nanÓg)

Gwyn Roberts (Prif Weithredwr Galeri Caernarfon / Galeri Caernarfon Chief Executive)

Lisa Jên a Martin Hoyland (9Bach)

Jennifer Lunn (Ysgrifennwr, Cynhyrchydd, Hwylusydd llawrydd /  Freelance Writer, Producer, Facilitator)

Deborah Keyser  (Cyfarwyddwr / Director)

Guto Brychan (Prif Weithredwr  Clwb Ifor Bach / Clwb Ifor Bach Chief Executive)

Dafydd Roberts (Prif Weithredwr Sain / Sain Chief Executive)


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