Torchwood star in YouTube fight to save Gwent Theatre

Natalie Woolman

Embattled Gwent Theatre has hit back at Arts Council of Wales’ decision to withdraw its funding by launching a campaign film on YouTube featuring Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd.

The theatre, which plays to schools and community groups throughout the area, has launched four YouTube adverts as well as the short film in an attempt to save itself. The videos ask viewers to sign Gwent’s e-petition to the Welsh Assembly.

The film includes short interviews with several local residents as well as David-Lloyd, who was a member of the youth theatre.

He said: “I was a bit of an outcast, I didn’t have that many friends. When I came to Abergavenny to Gwent Young People’s Theatre, I met a whole host of new friends – a real family atmosphere.”

Last month, Gwent Theatre presented evidence to the Welsh Assembly Government’s community and culture committee after ACW said its grant – the equivalent of 78% of its budget – would be cut from next year.

Gwent artistic director Gary Meredith explained that the idea for the campaign videos had come from students of the Newport Film School, who presented the idea to him.

He said: “I think they have raised the profile of the campaign and there is a link from them to the Welsh Assembly e-petition we have set up, so obviously we are hoping they will have some impact in encouraging people to sign the e-petition on our behalf.

“We are hoping that the powers that be will recognise the breadth and depth of support that we have. It does make a point.”

The WAG community and culture committee is expected to publish its findings on the accessibility of arts and cultural activities in Wales on January 20, 2011.

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