Russell George & Craig Williams, MS & MP for Montgomeryshire, have expressed their shock and concern over news that The Hafren theatre and Mid Wales Opera are to have their multi-year funding cut by the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) from 2024-25.
The ACW will not be granting revenue funding to both The Hafren and Mid Wales Opera when the new scheme comes into practice in April 2024; ending decades of support for both organisations.
The new scheme will see Powys get the second biggest arts funding cuts within Wales; with the county losing more than a quarter of this year’s equivalent funding.
Russell and Craig have expressed their shock at the ACW’s decision, and have written to ACW Chief Executive Dafydd Rhys, Welsh Government Minister for Arts Dawn Bowden MS and Powys County Council Leader Cllr James Gibson-Watt to seek urgent discussions.
Russell George MS said:
“I am shocked by the ACW’s decision to cut multi-year funding for The Hafren and Mid Wales Opera, ending decades worth of support for both organisations.
“Arts and culture within Wales must be offered not just within the main cities such as Cardiff but across the country. It is vital that settings such as Mid Wales continue to provide this for the locality and wider areas. Audiences attend The Hafren not just from across Montgomeryshire, but also from West and North Wales and across the border into England; all bringing significant spending into our area.”
“Craig and I are very keen to meet with the ACW and Welsh Government Minister as soon as is possible.”
Commenting, Craig Williams MP:
“This is an extremely disappointing decision for both The Hafren and Mid Wales Opera, as well as for arts and culture within Montgomeryshire as a whole.
“Both organisations are an integral and invaluable part of Montgomeryshire, and Mid Wales. At a time when we are seeking to increase people’s access to Wales’ rich and glorious tradition of music, arts and culture, the decision to cut decades of funding is not only detrimental to both The Hafren and Mid Wales Opera’s futures, but also to the future of arts and culture being readily available throughout Wales.
“The ACW have themselves admitted they are aware there is a funding gap in North Powys. The decision therefore to cut arts funding for the region by more than a quarter from last year is outrageous and will have deeply worrying and long-lasting repercussions.
“Both Russell and I are seeking urgent discussions with the ACW, Welsh Government and Powys County Council to address this situation”.