Clwyd Theatre Cymru
As detailed in the recommendations.
Councillor Shotton welcomed the recently appointed Artistic Director of Clwyd Theatr Cymru (CTC), Tamara Harvey, to the meeting.
The Chief Executive said progress reports on CTC had previously been reported to Cabinet alongside the Business Plan and this was a timely opportunity to provide a progress update. The Organisational Change Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 28 September 2015 had a positive discussion about CTC and the Chief Executive provided information on its governance arrangements explaining that it was wholly owned by Flintshire County Council. However, CTC had a vast amount of freedom to operate artistically. It had a Board of members, consisting of a number of Councillors, which was a Sub-Committee of the Council. CTC had seen, along with all other services, a budget reduction which resulted in a decrease of £0.200m funding in 2015/16. However, CTC remained in the top group of theatres to receive funding from the Arts Council for Wales (ACW). The level of future funding levels from the ACW was awaited.
The Chief Officer (Organisational Change) provided details of the short / medium term (2015/16 – 2016/17) aims of CTC which were outlined in the Business Plan, which were:
· Appointment of a new Artistic Director with a new artistic vision;
· Deliver on reduced funding by £200k in 2015/16 through a robust and financially sustainable business framework;
· Examination of the corporate structure of CTC;
· To find creative solutions through new ways of working and initiating new partnerships and collaborations in all area of work, pursuing the Welsh Producing Consortium initiative;
· To develop the Celtic Festival of new writing in collaboration with theatres and companies from the other Celtic nations;
· To develop an Annual Report to reflect and promote everything CTC did;
· To extend community links to a bigger and broader range of people; and
· To progress the building refurbishment project on to its development stage.
Tamara Harvey thanked Cabinet Members for inviting her to the meeting. She said CTC was a unique theatre as, along with only one other, it was owned by a County Council. It was her vision to broaden the repertoire of CTC and build on the varied range of visiting work, film and visual art. It was hoped the Youth Theatre would be re-launched in 2016, working with a wide range of community organisations to provide opportunities for artistic engagement.
A new marketing plan was being developed to enable CTC to reach out to different and more diverse audiences with a more varied programme of work with a greater number of collaborations. She emphasised her desire for CTC to have a holistic approach with the building being transformed into a crucible of creativity with longer term plan to revitalise the foyer spaces in terms of both the entertainment on offer and the food and drink available.
The Chief Officer (Organisational Change) explained that consideration needed to be given on future governance arrangements at CTC and whether they should remain as they were or whether alternative governance options should be considered. A different legal model needed to be examined which could be a more flexible and cost effective approach for operating the productions. In particular this should address the best method for accounting for tax issues.
Councillor Kevin Jones asked if match funding was required from the Authority on any funding that may be received by CTC for renovation works. The Chief Executive said match funding was not an option due to the budget pressures faced by the Authority. A case had been made to the ACW and Welsh Government (WG) saying that costs for any sizable renovations would need to be met from national funding.
Members welcomed the report and the work being done by the Artistic Director commenting that the vision for CTC would inspire and encourage attendance at CTC.
The Chief Executive concluded that any issues which were considered to have an element of risk would be reported to Cabinet, such as the staff restructure.
(a) That the Business Plan be endorsed and Members assured by progress; and
(b) That the Chief Officer (Organisational Change) and the Chief Officer (Governance), in consultation with the Leader, be authorised to prepare and report back on a corporate structure. This to include consideration of a new legal company for effectively managing the delivery of productions at the CTC including the best way to account for tax issues.