New cinema plan for Pontardawe Arts Centre takes step forward
30 November 2018
A plan to establish an Arts Council for Wales funded cinema in the Swansea Valley’s Pontardawe Arts Centre to help ensure its long term future has taken a major step forward.
Following an earlier Arts Council for Wales commissioned feasibility study, Neath Port Talbot councillors have now approved plans to hire a business consultant to enter into contract arrangements for the cinema plan.
The consultant’s costs will be met 75% by the Arts Council for Wales with the remainder being met by Neath Port Talbot Council, which owns and manages the centre.
As well as granting approval to hire the consultant, members of Neath Port Talbot Council’s Education, Skills and Culture Cabinet Board meeting on November 29th, also agreed a new “more commercial” business plan for the Arts Centre should be implemented.
The Pontardawe Arts Centre opened in 1996 and comprises a 500-seat Victorian style theatre, a 100-seat studio theatre, a teaching studio, café, bar, and associated facilities.
The centre puts on a range of performances including dramas, musicals and dance, and receives an annual subsidy from Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, which owns the building.
It also receives an annual revenue support grant of around £64,000 from the Arts Council for Wales but Neath Port Talbot Council’s subsidy is being gradually reduced as it seeks to deal with a funding gap of just over £12 million next year and approximately £64 million between now and 2023.
In October this year, the Welsh Local Government Secretary announced that overall local authority funding in Wales would be cut in cash terms by 0.3%.
The next stage of the arts centre cinema plan will be a final submission to the Welsh Arts Council’s capital grants panel following a fully costed report – to be approved beforehand by Neath Port Talbot council.
Among the elements of the revised arts centre business plan are commitments to improving profits from the arts centre’s licensed bar, an agreement to undergo a staff review plus a review of marketing activities and for the arts centre to work more closely with the new Arts Centre “Friends” group to deliver key aims.