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Fund to support critics in Wales ends after four years

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A fund to support theatre critics in Wales is to end due to the cancellation of the Wales Theatre Awards [1].

The Wales Critics Fund will be wound down after its current reserves end.

Organiser Mike Smith said this was because most of the financial support for the fund had come from the proceeds of the Wales Theatre Awards, which were cancelled earlier this month and which he also oversaw.

The Wales Critics Fund has been running for four years and has provided more than £10,000 of support for reviewers across theatre, ballet, opera and dance by paying travel, subsistence and accommodation costs.

Additionally, the fund has supported the mentoring of critics in schools and colleges and provided a platform for the work of new critics.

Smith said: “This unique fund has supported critics across our nation, working in Welsh and English.

“It has enabled more than 1,000 reviews to appear in publications and online sites ranging from our national newspaper, regional evening newspapers, magazines, community and youth publications and individual blogs and websites.”

He added: “Such work is crucial for the health of a modern, creative and inclusive nation that rejects exclusivity and the view that the arts and arts criticism is the preserve of a small, privileged group that is often reliant on public funding, that should be used for the creation of performance in Wales.”

The cancellation of the awards followed a row over diversity, which saw an open letter published in response to the 2018 nominations, criticising a “lack of diversity”.