Singer Charlotte Church among creatives calling on Welsh Government to use £59 million 'in full' on arts sector

Welsh celebrities like singer Charlotte Church, harpist Catrin Finch, actor Carys Eleri and actor Mark Lewis Jones have all backed the letter. Credit: BAFTA Cymru and PA Images

Welsh singer, Charlotte Church and harpist Catrin Finch are among dozens to have signed a letter to the First Minister urging him to use money from the UK Government "in full" to support the arts sector.

UK Government announced that Wales would be receiving £59 million as part of a £1.57 billion UK-wide fund intended to support arts and culture businesses.

The letter, led by Plaid Cymru, calls on Welsh Government to use "solid leadership" and to carry out three specific "urgent interventions" to help save jobs.

Businesses like theatres, cinemas and music venues have expressed concern over their futures as the coronavirus pandemic has meant shutting their doors. The Wales Millennium Centre has been one of the prominent venues to announce 250 jobs could be at risk there.

The Wales Millennium Centre said they will not be able to reopen until 2021 and 250 jobs could be at risk. Credit: PA Images

The letter is from Plaid Cymru's leader, Adam Price MS and Shadow Culture Minister Sian Gwenllian MS. It has also been signed and backed by prominent figures in the Welsh arts like singer Charlotte Church, harpist Catrin Finch, actor Carys Eleri and actor Mark Lewis Jones.

The letter warns that we could soon "witness a catastrophic chain of events" as the sector may collapse "within a month" without urgent action.

It gives examples of the issues facing several venues like Theatr Mwldan in Cardigan where redundancies are already being discussed and the Wales Millennium Centre, who have lost £20 million in revenue and will not be able to open its doors until at least April 2021.

The letter calls on Welsh Government to use the money being given by Westminster "in full" and on three "concrete and urgent interventions". These include establishing an emergency taskforce and investing as part of a Covid-19 recovery plan.

The three interventions the letter urges Welsh Government to enact:

  • An emergency taskforce: A group of representatives from theatres, arts organisations, freelancers, artists and community practitioners who should inform Welsh Government actions in relation to saving the industry.

  • Investment as part of a Covid-19 recovery plan: The letter also says that the "workforce must receive financial support because without them there is no industry."

  • A roadmap (with a clear plan to recovery): They want Welsh Government to work with the sector to create a roadmap specific to Wales that contains detailed timeframes on how organisations will operate in the near future.

Theatr Clwyd in Mold say in a best case scenario, they will lose £2 million in income as a result of the pandemic.

Adam Price MS, leader of Plaid Cymru said: "Having spoken to members of the arts sector, it is clear that they have been shouting from the rooftops for help, support and leadership during this crisis.

"Redundancy consultation periods are happening today across the country and in a few weeks, that process will be irreversible. Many freelance workers who fell through the gaps have not received a penny since this crisis began and are already facing losing their livelihoods and homes.

"The Welsh Government must now show leadership by working with the industry to  create a clear, safe and responsible plan that will guide the industry and the workers affected out of the crisis."

When cinemas and theatres in Wales are allowed to reopen, it is likely that two metre social distancing will need to be adhered to. Credit: PA Images

In Monday's Welsh Government press conference, Mark Drakeford said he will wait until more details are known about the funding package before he commits to saying where or how the money will be spent.

He added that "the small print is important in all of this."

Full list of letter's signatories:

Adam Price MS (Leader, Plaid Cymru)                                      

Sian Gwenllian MS (Shadow Minister for Culture)

Adele Thomas (Opera director)

Angharad Lee (Freelance director)

Bethan Marlow (Writer and director)

Carys Eleri (Actor)

Catrin Finch (Harpist)

Charlotte Church (Singer)

Dafydd James (Writer/Composer)

Daniel Evans (Actor)

Elen Bowman (Producer and director)

Gary Owen (Playwright)

Geinor Styles (Artistic director)

Glesni Price-Jones (Freelance theatre producer)

Huw Davies (Actor)

Jalisa Andrews (Actor)

Lee Lyford (Artistic director Theatr Iolo)

Kiri Pritchard Mclean (Writer and comedian)

Liz Gardiner (Actor)

Manon Eames (Writer)

Mared Swayne (Director)

Mark Lewis Jones (Actor)

Olwen Medi (Actor)

Rhian Hutchings (Director)

Robert Bowman (Actor and producer)

Siân Lloyd (Presenter)

Stifyn Parri (Producer)

Terry Victor (Actor, writer and director)

Vivien Care (Course manager)

Dan Seidler (Tramshed)

Glyn Rhys-James (Musician)

Daniel Jones (Globetrotters music venue)

Adam Roy Whitmore (Promoter and band & tour manager)

Zac Mather (Musician and freelancer)

Joshua Sinclair (Tour manager and sound engineer)

Dic Ben (Musician)

Griff Lynch (Musician)

Robyn Gruffydd Hughes (Musician)

Richard Hawkins (Promoter)

Georgia Ruth Williams (Musician)

Kevin Ford (Musician)

Gwyn Eiddior (Art director)

Ed Truckell (Sound engineer)

Kris Jenkins (Producer)

Benjamin T Mainwaring (Musician)

John Rea (Composer and musician)

Richard Huw Morgan (Performer)

Alison Woods (Chief Executive NoFit State Circus)

Dr Firenza Guidi (NoFit State Circus)

Steffan Donnelly (Invertigo Theatre Artistic Director)

Ifor ap Glyn (National Poet of Wales)

Abdul Shayek (Fio Artistic Director)

Elen ap Robert -(Arts consultant)

Catherine Young (Dawns i Bawb Artistic Director)

Mari Pritchard (Musician and conductor)

Ian Rowlands (Playwright and director)

Rhian a Cefin Roberts (Ysgol Glanaethwy Co-director)

Iwan Williams (Ffiwsar Director)

Yvette Vaughan-Jones (Arts consultant and Chair of Welsh National Opera)

Dr Gwawr Ifan (School of Music and Media Bangor University)

Nici Beech ( PhD student and festival producer)

Daloni Metcalf (Broadcaster)

Geoff Cripps

Gwyn Roberts (Galeri Caernarfon Chief Executive)

Lisa Jên a Martin Hoyland (9Bach)

Jennifer Lunn (Freelance writer and producer)

Deborah Keyser  (Director)    

Guto Brychan  (Clwb Ifor Bach Chief Executive)

Dafydd Roberts (Sain Chief Executive)