The Arts Council of Wales has warned that theatre companies and venues face “multimillion-pound losses” because of cancelled projects, as it outlines a series of measures designed to mitigate the impact of coronavirus.
These include ending funding conditions for organisations in its portfolio for at least three months and honouring project funding awards to cover costs, regardless of whether the funded activity is cancelled, reduced or rescheduled.
ACW has also announced its investment review, which is held every five years and decides which organisations will be funded for the next five years, is to be delayed by a year.
The organisation said: “We’re acutely aware of the very difficult situation facing arts organisations and individual practitioners. These difficulties are serious and significant. Arts organisations are facing multimillion-pound losses to income as a result of cancelled and postponed events. Individual artists are trying to work out how they can avoid the financial consequences of cancelled contracts and the loss of work.”
It added: “The scale of the problem is beyond our financial resources alone, so we’re urgently exploring with the Welsh government what financial support might be available to mitigate the effects of closures, cancellations and loss of income.”
It said portfolio organisations will continue to receive funding but “funding conditions that specify types and levels of activity will not apply for at least three months”.
“This comes into force with immediate effect,” it said, pledging advance grant payments to help companies with their cash flow.
“In exchange for our support, we ask you to honour contracts agreed with freelances and artists and to think about what help you can offer to your communities,” ACW added.
Regarding its project funding awards, ACW said it was keen to enable companies to make use of the grant funding they have received to cover project costs that have either been incurred or will be incurred in the future.
“You might wish to explore whether activity can be deferred until later in the year. However, if this isn’t possible, all funding awards already committed to covering your costs will be honoured, regardless of whether the funded activity is cancelled, reduced or rescheduled,” it said.
ACW said it was continuing to assess, and make decisions, on applications already in its system.
“If you’re successful in your application, we’ll contact you to see if you need to amend your plans in the light of government advice at that time. We’ll try and find ways of helping you to realise your plans, but if that’s not possible you can choose to withdraw from your funding award. We’re aiming to take a pragmatic and flexible approach should plans require change as a result of Covid-19,” it said.
Regarding its investment review, ACW said decisions were scheduled to be taken in October, with new funding arrangements put in place from April 2021.
“It’s quite clear that it would not be viable – or fair – for us to continue with the current investment review process. With many organisations involved in an immediate fight for survival, an investment review would be an unhelpful distraction for you and for us,” it said, adding: “We are therefore postponing the investment review for one year and will be in touch later in the year about the new arrangements and timetable.”