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Local funding cuts threaten Pontardawe Arts Centre with closure

Pontardawe Arts Centre. Photo: NPT Theatres Pontardawe Arts Centre. Photo: NPT Theatres
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A south Wales theatre is in jeopardy after the local council revealed plans to cut £120,000 of its subsidy.

Pontardawe Arts 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.

But the local authority is looking to reduce its budget by £11.2 million, and has now proposed to cut the theatre’s funding by £40,000 each year for the next three years. This amounts to 20% of the council’s annual subsidy of the theatre.

If implemented, it is understood the cuts would result in job losses and the immediate reduction of opening hours at the theatre. A source close to the venue claimed the cut would “inevitably lead to closure”.

Local actors have spoken out against the proposals, including Maxine Evans, who stars in Sky1 sitcom Stella and who recently directed The Revlon Girls at the theatre.

She told the South Wales Evening Post that cutting the theatre’s subsidy would be “absolutely the wrong thing to do”.

“It’s a thriving centre and it’s the heart of the community. The people who run it are extremely dedicated, and in my 30 years in the business I have never worked in an environment that is so open and welcoming. Not a single penny should be taken away from them,” she said.

A Neath Port Talbot council spokesman stressed that no final decision had been made on the proposals and that the council was now consulting with the local community until the end of December.

He said: “The aim of this consultation is to gather feedback and explore any additional proposals that people might have. It is important that we know what people think before final decisions are taken and I would urge people to give their views.”

Pontardawe Arts Centre declined to comment.

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