Theatr Brycheiniog Faces a Bright Future Thanks to Further Funding
Theatr Brycheiniog, recently benefited from European Social Funds through WCVA and ACW joining the programme through their capital programmes.
Theatr Brycheiniog serves its community through an outstanding programme of quality professional English and Welsh language productions, and attracts audiences and visitors nationally and internationally, and we are home to the Brecon Baroque Festival and Brecon Festival Ballet. The Gallery exhibits local, national and international artists, with spaces for hire for community and commercial use. The theatre has an additional growing programme of Live Screenings including The Royal Ballet & Royal Opera House Covent Garden and NT Live. Rooted firmly in the community it has served since 1997, the arts centre offers a varied programme of theatre, dance, music and entertainment, in its purpose built 477 seat auditorium and 120-seat studio/rehearsal space.
After a difficult few years, Theatr Brycheiniog, through ongoing support from the stakeholders, was able to appoint a new Director in January 2019, and undertake a full governance and business review. Just prior to the Pandemic, the organisation had implemented the recommendations from the reviews, had redrafted the Memorandum and Articles of Association and was successfully undertaking its exit strategy from the financial difficulties.
Theatr Director David Wilson says “Theatr Brycheiniog has already redeveloped a strong programme in order to ensure that it can meet and serve the needs of the communities that it serves. Our Autumn 2019 season saw increases in attendance and many performances hitting high capacities. New programmes and strategies were being deployed to develop new audiences, re-engage lapsed audiences, crafting a new attractive offer at the venue with a clear programme of quality work and a revitalised customer experience once more. Unfortunately, the Pandemic caused the venue to close, in line with government instructions, and the majority of the staff team needed to be furloughed. We are immensely grateful to the authorities, UK Government, Welsh Government and ACW for developing rescue funding and the cultural recovery programme.
The Trustees and staff team, whilst juggling the challenges of the pandemic, the stay-at-home measures and school closures, attempted to put Theatr Brycheiniog in the best position possible. We have been successful in securing European Social Fund support through Welsh Council for Voluntary Action to invest in visitor services at the Theatr. This project is to be joined by Arts Council of Wales capital programme investment and will see us renovate the public spaces at the Theatr for all our audiences, visitors and customers.
For Theatr Brycheiniog this represents a major capital programme and we will additionally invest donated sums in updating the auditorium seating, so that audiences can be given the very best experience when they come to see a show.
We hope to be poised ready to return for when measures allow, and until performances are allowed we plan to reopen the stage and auditorium as a super-socially distanced café, and tasked Designer Harry Pizzey to curate the space in the building to celebrate our communities and the activities that are missing from our spaces during this time.
Arts Council of Wales were embarking on their next Investment Review, but this had to be necessarily paused, however when we can return we are also preparing for another review, where the Theatr will need to evidence its focus on and increase to the provision we have to engage in greater diversity, inclusivity and accessibility in all our work. We have driven these commitments, but will need to continually develop in response to the ACW corporate plan, a benefit for all, to be successful in retaining a role within Wales as an Arts Portfolio Wales member, which is a revenue client of Arts Council of Wales.
Our Board and enthusiastic, hard working staff team are committed to our vision - working to a future where we strive to be the most successful rural arts centre in Wales, providing a quality artistic programme of both participatory and non-participatory work for the whole community. Our values are to provide a quality artistic experience, which has excellence and sustainability at its core and these are at the heart of everything we do.
We have significant opportunities ahead of us, which with the right Trustees and staff we can achieve, We are eager to get back to (re)establishing our growth through the new business model. We’ll need to widen our funding base, be less reliant on one or two key sources, increase our turnover, develop new income streams and undertake a programme of serious audience development.
Part of this will require us to develop a stronger brand and new approach to our communications in order to increase and improve our income and profile in the coming years. The charity’s trustees and senior management team are fully committed to the charity and its long-term development.
We intend to use our energy, skills and resources to work efficiently and deliver results and we will work to protect and enhance our legacy by valuing long term sustainability and resilience. We want to work hard to attract and keep the best people who share our vision and embody our values.
Theatr Brycheiniog is waiting for further Welsh Government guidance to know when we will be able to open again to the public. Once this is confirmed, we will share our plans with you.”
Theatr Brycheiniog is also funded by the Arts Council of Wales, Powys County Council and Brecon Town Council.