Theatre and arts centre development agency, Creu Cymru, is setting the stage for the performing arts in Wales with an exciting new initiative. This article is also available in Welsh.
Creu Cymru was established by and for the network of professionally-managed presenting theatres and arts centres across Wales in 2001 as the Touring Agency for Wales with a two-year Lottery grant from the Arts Council of Wales.
For 20 years Creu Cymru has supported theatres, the staff within them and wider communities with training, capacity building projects, annual conference, Go & See opportunities and facilitated tours.
From April 2021, they will be expanding their membership remit to include producing companies, and individuals to bring the performing arts sector together to speak with a collective voice, to share resources and expertise and to promote collaborative working.
Creu Cymru is, first and foremost, a collaborative network; they share information, expertise, research, touring, advocacy… and above all, a will to develop programmes and audiences. They work together to support an ever more resilient resource at the heart of communities across Wales.
They are now inviting membership applications from companies and individuals.
The creation of this unified sector through an expanded membership ensures cross-sector representation, new collaborations and aligning of interests, and new partnerships.
In the last year they have:
- Continued to lobby Welsh Government for financial support, reopening road maps and test events, securing regular meetings on behalf of the current membership.
- Advised Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Gov on reopening guidelines.
- Been part of the UK wide Audience Access Alliance, making sure that access is at the heart of reopening plans.
- Developed reopening toolkits that can be used by venues including risk assessments and other templates.
- Offered site visits to professionals to advise on Covid-safe working.
- Worked with theatre bodies around the UK such as UK Theatre, Theatres Trust, ABTT, One Dance UK, FST and Theatre NI on national approaches to reopening and advocacy.
- Provided training for members and non-members including Wellbeing, Mental Health First Aid, Managing Covid Safely, Live Streaming, Social Media, Re-engaging audiences, Unconscious Bias and Allyship in the Workplace.
- Opened our training events and conference to non-member organisations and made the reopening toolkit available for all.
- Created networking opportunities for members to come together, share worries and ideas for recovery.
- Funded nine freelance positions to work with member venues and support their organisation during this time.
- Ran a PR and Social Media campaign on how our current member venues have been closed but not empty. The #WeMissYou campaign – highlighting a year of closure for our theatres. The campaign received support from the public and well-known faces online. The campaign was covered by Wales Online Arts, Dros Frecwast, Radio Cymru, Newyddion S4C, ITV Wales, BBC Cymru Fyw, Welsh Arts Review, Wales Today, BBC One Wales, The National and The Leader.
- Commissioned Lisa Baxter from the Experience Business to run two intensive training projects for members and some non-members (Public Value Accelerator – Igniting fresh thinking and practice and Creating sustainable audience value post-Covid).
- Ran a successful online conference featuring Alan Lane (Slung Low), Alun Saunders (Actor / Writer /Drag performer), Bryan Joseph Lee (Public Theater NYC / Back 2 Culture), Daniel Evans (Chichester Festival Theatre), Kate Fox (MIF), Lianne Weaver (Beam Training), Lisbeth McLean (Menter Iaith Merthyr Tudful), Sita Thomas (Common Wealth Theatre) and Steffan Donnelly (Actor / Writer / Wales Freelancers Taskforce) attended by over 120 online with additional On-Demand content available post-event.
- Have engaged with Artistic Directors, Chief Execs, Technicians, Programmers, Marketers, FOH, Operations Managers, Cleaners and Box Office Staff.
There will be four levels of membership available, with an aim to make it as accessible for organisations and individuals to join.
Full Membership is open to any Wales based professional organisation whose principal purpose is producing, presenting or curating performing arts work. Membership is held in the organisation’s name and all employees can benefit from membership.
Individual Membership is open to any Welsh, Wales-based or recognised as regularly contributing to the performing arts in Wales.
Pay-as-You-Go Membership level is open any to individual Welsh, Wales-based or recognised as regularly contributing to the performing arts in Wales. You can access some of the activity on offer on a Pay-as-You-Go basis.
Associate Membership will be introduced in 2022 and is open to Wales-based professional organisations working within the theatre or dance sector in a supporting or strategic capacity that can also support the mission of Creu Cymru but whose principal purpose is not producing, presenting or curating performing arts work. Membership is held in the organisation’s name and all employees can benefit from membership.
This includes organisations outside of the creative sector who wish to engage with those within the sector.
Full fees and details can be found on the website here.
Interested organisations and individuals can contact Creu Cymru for links to the application forms. All applications must be received by 31st May 2021.
Louise Miles Payne director of Creu Cymru said ‘The last year has been the most challenging the arts have ever faced. We hope that joining the sector together will create a more scene in Wales. It will also strengthen our collective voice outside of our sector, both publicly and with policy and decision makers’.
This article is promoted by Creu Cymru.