Letter calls for Senedd committee to intervene in National Theatre dispute

(Title Image: Wales Arts Review)

A request has been sent to the Senedd’s Culture Committee for them to hold a session with the Chair and Board of National Theatre Wales (NTW) following a serious breakdown in the relationship between the theatre and Welsh playwrights.

The letter from theatre critic Adam Somerset (pdf) references another letter published in Wales Arts Review co-signed by 40 of Wales’ leading dramatists in September – which claimed NTW lacked “scrutiny, transparency and openness” and despite receiving £1.5million from the Arts Council for Wales, their website listed just one project each for 2018 and 2019, one of which was a photography exhibition.

The 40 called for a number of reforms after NTW commissioned a play called “English” (pictured) by a company from Manchester, with a non-Welsh director and was judged to have completely failed to address the relationship between the Welsh and English languages. This was described as “a final straw”.

The suggested reforms include NTW only producing shows with a Welsh or Wales-based primary artist, only commissioning works from outside Wales if they’re “world-class” or support Wales-based artists and re-focusing on theatre, not music and comedy.