The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, has announced new funding to support the re-launch of the Urdd’s national youth theatre, Cwmni Theatr Ieuenctid Cymru.
The Welsh Government will invest £1 million over a five-year period to support the re-launch of the theatre.
Cwmni Theatr Ieuenctid was set up in the 1970s, with the objective of providing opportunities for 14 to 19-year-olds to enjoy and expand their arts experiences through the medium of Welsh, but ceased to operate in 2019.
The Urdd celebrates its centenary this year, with the Urdd Eisteddfod returning for the first time since 2019 in Denbighshire. The Welsh Government has provided funding so that entry to this year’s Eisteddfod is free.
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said:
I’m delighted to support the Urdd with re-establishing the Youth Theatre, which provided stage time to so many young actors for generations, some of whom have gone on to worldwide fame.
The theatre will continue its tradition of providing opportunities for young people from all backgrounds to work with top professionals from the world of theatre, while opening up Welsh-language drama to new theatregoers through the Urdd’s strong community links.
Siân Lewis, Chief Executive of the Urdd, said:
We are extremely grateful to Jeremy Miles for confirming the Welsh Government's continued support to the Urdd as an organisation, and securing the future of our Youth Theatre for the next five years. We are committed to supporting the Government's national strategy to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050 and are determined to maintain and develop the Urdd’s century-long service and provision for the children and young people of Wales well into the future.
Director of the Urdd Eisteddfod and the Arts, Siân Eirian added:
Over the decades the Urdd’s Youth Theatre has offered unique and unforgettable opportunities for thousands of Wales’ youngsters interested in theatre. We see the need today more than ever, due to the impact of Covid, to provide equal opportunities and invaluable training for our young adults who want to pursue a career in the arts, and the re-establishment of our Youth Theatre will offer that at a national level.
Actor Richard Lynch said:
I am delighted to hear of this support to secure the future of the Urdd’s Youth Theatre and look forward to future performances. I had the privilege of travelling with the Youth Theatre twice in the 80s, and I can't explain how important those experiences were to me, and how they triggered my first steps into the world of theatre. Being given the opportunity to practice and then perform on Wales’ main stages as well as making lifelong friends was amazing, and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity.