Carmarthenshire County Council

Arts Strategy 2018-22








1.  Introduction


2.  Context


3.  Current position


4.  Vision, Mission, Values


5.  Strategic Priorities, Aims, and Action Plan


6.  Key Milestones


7.  Monitoring & Ownership



1.         Introduction

Carmarthenshire County Council recognises the importance of arts and culture; we believe that the arts should touch everyone's lives and be a part of our work, leisure, education and environment. A vibrant and diverse arts and culture scene is essential for economic, social and personal wellbeing.

We also recognise the importance of the local authority’s role in developing the arts, and that public funding of the arts enables citizens to access quality arts activities, to become more creatively active, and to benefit from a higher quality of life. 

The introduction of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015 places a duty on all public bodies in Wales to demonstrate a commitment to seven wellbeing goals, one of which being a Wales of vibrant culture and a thriving Welsh language.  The arts, however, have the power to make a difference across all seven goals. 

We pride ourselves on being a pro-active and high performing Council, providing high quality services that make Carmarthenshire a better place in which to live, work, and visit.  Carmarthenshire has a rich culture and is fortunate to have a portfolio of excellent local authority run arts venues and a rich history of local voluntary and community arts.  The Council has a good track record of supporting the arts, and has been leading the way as one of the most culturally-committed local authorities in Wales, as we continue to value and invest in the arts despite the challenge of austerity and public funding cuts. 

This strategy sets out the vision and objectives required to make a positive impact on health and cultural wellbeing in the county, and Wales as a whole.  Through this strategy we aim to continue putting Carmarthenshire on the map.

However, public funding continues to decrease and it is anticipated that pressures on local services will continue to be challenged over the lifetime of this strategy.  Therefore it’s important for us to focus on diversifying and increasing income to continually improve our services, to collaborate effectively, and to reflect and keep abreast and ahead of developments, to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible arts service on the allocated resources. 



2.         Context


2.1      The Current Arts Services

The arts service sits within the Leisure Division of the Communities Directorate under the Cultural Services section of Carmarthenshire County Council, and comprises the Arts Development service and Theatres services, sitting alongside Libraries, Museums, and the Archives. 

The main aim of the Leisure division is to get More People, More Active, More Often, in whatever their interest – whether that’s sport, artistic or any other cultural activity. Success is currently measured through a departmental performance management framework looking at attendances and participation, Income generation and the quality of our services whilst we are also moving towards demonstrating and measuring benefit through preventative health interventions.

2.1.1 Arts Development

The Arts Development Section oversees community participation and engagement within the Arts. It financially supports the Arts Council of Wales Night Out scheme to enable professional performances in the community.

The section line manages three very different venues which contribute different cultural experiences for residents and visitors to Carmarthenshire, these are

·      Dylan Thomas Boathouse & Writing shed.

·      Oriel Myrddin Gallery

·      The Gate Craft Centre

The Arts development section employs 1 FTE Officer plus the facility based staff and has a controllable budget of £66,732 (2018/19) with  visitor numbers to the three facilities of 86,000 per annum and arts participation numbers in the region of three hundred and thirty thousand based on outreach work and events hosted by Crafts from Carmarthenshire.


Dylan Thomas Boathouse

The Boathouse in Laugharne is where Dylan Thomas lived for the last 4 years of his tragically short life. The facility offers a museum/tourist destination and gives an insight into the life of Dylan Thomas and the parlour has original artefacts. It also houses a small bookstore and an award winning tearooms.  It is operational for 51 weeks of the year and is open daily. It attracts in the region of twenty three thousand visitors per annum from around the globe.

The facility operates with 3.26 FTE with additional seasonal staff. Income of £97,312 (2018/19 budget) is generated from the tearooms, admission charges and retail sales. Expenditure is £147,898 giving a net controllable budget for 2018/19 of £50,586.  

The writing shed sits off Dylan’s walk overlooking the estuary and allows visitors to view through a window off the walkway.

The Gate

This facility in the heart of St Clears has been developed into an evolving arts facility and rural community hub attracting around thirty seven thousand visitors per annum. It compromises of 3 floors:

a)  Top Floor – 4 artists’ studios and kiln room. It operates on a 100% occupancy rate with a waiting list.

b)  Middle floor – accommodates a community hub with offices for St Clears Town Council, Police and local library. It also has two meeting rooms available for hire.

c)  Ground Floor – houses a retail area showcasing Welsh arts & crafts, an exhibition area programmed to develop emerging and established artists in a variety of mediums as well as a tearoom.

The facility operates on 3 FTE. Income of £33,733 (2018/19 budget) is generated from arts activities at this venue which is currently the subject of discussions around improving sustainability. Expenditure is £85,009 giving a net controllable budget for 2018/19 of £51,276.


Oriel Myrddin

Oriel Myrddin Gallery is run by the Oriel Myrddin Trust with primary funding and operational support from Carmarthenshire County Council.

Oriel Myrddin Gallery is the main publicly funded art and craft gallery for the south-west Wales region. It presents ambitious contemporary programming and is highly regarded within the sector. Located in a listed Victorian building in the centre of Carmarthen, the gallery is pivotal to the cultural energy and identity of the town.  As a member of Arts Portfolio Wales, the Gallery receives a recurrent grant from Arts Council Wales for core activities.


The programme generally includes exhibitions of 50% craft and/or design and 50% fine art. Approximately 50% of exhibitions will represent Welsh artists and makers, with at least one originated by the gallery. The gallery works in partnership with other established and prestigious organisations to research and develop exhibitions or to present existing touring exhibitions.


Oriel Myrddin Gallery offers exciting artist led opportunities for schools to engage with the exhibitions programme which link with a range of cross-curricular subjects and are often applicable to cwricwlwm Cymreig (Welsh curriculum). Tailor-made projects and guided visits are promoted to support creative learning, literacy and oracy, visual literacy and other transferable skills.


Community participation is vital to the life of the gallery, which also offers a range of workshops, events and off site projects for all ages and abilities to complement the exhibition programme.


The gallery houses a retail space which reflects and compliments its ethos of stocking and promoting the work of local, national and international makers of quality. Beautifully designed and made, the items on sale are unique, desirable and collectable.


The gallery trust receives a net annual grant from CCC of £88,206 (2018/19). The Gallery is also an Arts Council Wales revenue funded organisation attracting a grant of £47,762 per annum (2017/18).  

Ambitious proposals for the expansion of the Gallery taking into consideration the opportunity to house exhibitions of national standards, broaden the education program and improve access to arts and creativity are in development. The plans will also consider the opportunity to expand income generating opportunities to secure a sustainable future for the gallery which lies at the corner of the Cultural Quarter in Carmarthen.

2.1.2 Theatres

The theatres service comprises three performing arts venues which are all major cultural assets to the local community.  These being:

      Y Ffwrnes, Llanelli

      Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen

      Miner’s Theatre, Ammanford

The service’s aim is to bring to the people of Carmarthenshire and beyond a varied programme of high quality arts and entertainment events across all theatres.  The theatres also encourage people to get involved in arts participation whether as part of a local performing amateur company, classes or workshops.

Each theatre is very different in nature; Y Ffwrnes is a modern state-of-the-art venue opened in 2013 in a prime town-centre location.  It comprises two adaptable multi-function performance spaces; a main house seating up to 504, a studio theatre seating up to 100, and the Ffwrnes Fach, a listed chapel which has been developed as a social enterprise centre occupied by clusters of cultural social enterprises, arts organisations, and practitioners.

The Lyric, originally a 1930’s art deco cinema which was repurposed as a traditional proscenium arch theatre in the late 1980’s, seats up to 665.  And the Miners’, which was originally a miners’ welfare hall built in 1935, seating up to 144 with fantastic acoustics. The three distinct theatres give the service the flexibility to put on a varied programme that appeals to all. 

Through the theatres we enjoy an opportunity to further develop the work of the Council in supporting the development of the Welsh language where we are committed to attracting and promoting the Welsh language and bilingual performances within the county theatres.

The theatre service work under one umbrella: Theatrau Sir Gâr / Carmarthenshire Theatres, and employs 30.5FTE. Income of £687,920 (2018/19 budget) is generated from the ticket sales, theatre hires, booking and conference fees and secondary retail sales. Expenditure is £1,535,968 giving a net controllable budget for 2018/19 of £848,048.    The theatres service attracts around one hundred and eight thousand visitors per annum.

2.2 Council Priorities

2.2.1 Carmarthenshire County Council Corporate Strategy 2015-2020

The Corporate Strategy sets out the Council’s strategic priorities and aspirations and outlines what the Council plans to do to achieve its vision for Carmarthenshire over the next five years. The vision is for a Carmarthenshire that enables people to live healthy and fulfilled lives by working together to build strong, bilingual and sustainable communities.

The Corporate Strategy, in line with the current Annual Report and Improvement Plan, outlines the core values, overarching themes and strategic objectives, which are:

·      Making better use of resources

·      Building a better Council

·      People in Carmarthenshire are healthier

·      People in Carmarthenshire fulfil their learning potential

·      People who live, work and visit Carmarthenshire are safe and feel safer

·      Carmarthenshire’s communities and environment are sustainable

·      Carmarthenshire has a stronger and more prosperous economy.

2.2.2 Moving Forward In Carmarthenshire: The next 5 Years

In addition to the Corporate Strategy the Council published Moving Forward In Carmarthenshire: The Next 5 Years in February 2018 which confirms a commitment to the review and re-development of the Council’s Theatre services provision focussing specifically on participation, community engagement and the development of the Welsh Language program.

2.2.3 Carmarthenshire County Council Strategic Equality Plan 2015-2020

This plan describes the Council’s legal duties and its commitment to equality and diversity as an employer and a service provider, and its key actions in promoting tolerance, understanding and respect within the wider community.  It also refers to the need to have regard of the Welsh Language, which ties in with the Welsh Language Measure 2011.

2.2.4 A Curriculum for Carmarthenshire

The New Curriculum for Wales has been warmly welcomed in Carmarthenshire as we strive to ensure that we support our pupils to become both well qualified and well educated. A practitioner-led design approach and the flexibility to interpret the architecture of the curriculum (Subsidiarity) permits flexibility for school leaders and teachers to design learning activities according to specific needs and local circumstances. This will assist with developing an authentic and relevant curriculum for our learners, which is consistent with the high level design principles of the new curriculum.

These ideals assist us in developing a local curriculum for Carmarthenshire – a curriculum which is firmly referenced within the national framework, with an added emphasis on incrementally building young peoples’ global citizenship and sense of place and historical context, by drawing upon the attributes of school localities, Carmarthenshire, the Welsh Dimension and further afield.

Within the context of the Arts and other relevant council strategies, there are fertile opportunities for schools to capitalise upon the resources available locally. Pupils’ education can be enriched and extended by interacting with our theatres, arts facilities, museums and libraries, where rich learning tasks and activities can be built around these valuable facilities. The aim, therefore, is that our learners can draw upon, and actively contribute to, the vibrant and evolving cultural scene in Carmarthenshire.


2.3 Regional Context

2.3.1 Strategic Regeneration Plan for Carmarthenshire 2015-2030

The regeneration of Carmarthenshire is well underway and many major developments came into fruition in 2015. The economic landscape is evolving with Carmarthenshire’s position in the new Swansea Bay City Region for which the strategy has been adopted by the Council; by 2030, Carmarthenshire will be a confident, ambitious and connected component of a European City Region.

The Regeneration plan will encourage collaboration by key partners on key opportunities in relation to Sport, Culture & Heritage which raise Carmarthenshire’s profile, nationally and globally, to new and existing audiences.

There are 6 key transformational projects within the regeneration plan: Ammanford, Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire Coastal Belt, Cross Hands Growth Zone, Llanelli, and The Rural Economy.  Notable strategic regeneration sites include Delta Lakes (a ‘world class’ Wellness and Life Science Village), The Beacon centre for enterprise, and Yr Egin. 

The decision by S4C to re-locate to Carmarthen will catapult the county into one of significance for the Creative Industries sector in Wales. ‘Yr Egin – The Creative Exchange’, a new media and culture hub at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Carmarthen campus will be developed with the Welsh broadcaster as the anchor tenant for the site. Yr Egin will also excel in promoting Carmarthen as a gateway to ‘Y Fro Gymraeg’, the Welsh-speaking heartland.

2.3.2 Swansea Bay City Deal

The City Deal is expected to give the Swansea Bay City Region, which includes Carmarthenshire, a permanent uplift in its gross added value (GVA) of £1.8billion and will generate almost 10,000 new jobs over the next 15 years. 

The City Deal programme encompasses 11 projects across 4 key themes of Economic Acceleration, Life Science and Well-being, Energy, and Smart Manufacturing.  An enhanced Digital Infrastructure & next generation wireless networks and the development of workforce skills and talent will underpin each. 



2.3.3 Destination Management Plan

The Destination Sir Gâr Management Plan outlines the future opportunities for Carmarthenshire and how to realise them.  Carmarthenshire has 5 key priorities to achieve economic growth in tourism:

      Priority 1: Raising the profile of Carmarthenshire

      Priority 2: Improving the tourism infrastructure

      Priority 3: Enhancing the tourism experience

      Priority 4: Enhancing the Sense of Place

      Priority 5: Invest in people

Carmarthenshire’s vision for its tourism economy is:

“To develop a prosperous visitor economy in Carmarthenshire based on its unique strengths and character, which generates higher spend and local income, enhances its image and reputation and improves the quality of life for local communities.”


2.4 National Context

2.4.1 Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015

The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.  The Act also establishes Public Services Boards (PSBs) for each local authority area in Wales. Each PSB must improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of its area by working to achieve the well-being goals, and publish a county Well-being Plan by May 2018.

The well-being objectives identified for Carmarthenshire for 2017-18 are:

1. Help to give every child the best start in life and improve their early life experiences

2. Help children live healthy lifestyles

3. Continue to improve learner attainment for all

4. Reduce the number of young adults that are Not in Education, Employment or Training

5. Tackle poverty by doing all we can to prevent it, help people into work and improve the lives of those living in poverty

6. Create more jobs and growth throughout the county

7. Increase the availability of rented and affordable homes

8. Help people live healthy lives (tackling risky behaviour and obesity)

9. Support good connections with friends, family and safer communities

10. Support the growing numbers of older people to maintain dignity and independence in their later years

11. A Council-wide approach to support Ageing Well in the County

12. Look after the environment now and for the future

13. Improve the highway and transport infrastructure and connectivity

14. Promote Welsh Language and Culture

15. Governance and use of resources


2.4.2 Arts Council of Wales

Inspire is the Arts Council of Wales (ACW)’s strategic vision for creativity and the arts in Wales.  Its vision is of a creative Wales where the arts are central to the life of the nation, and is centred around three key principles:




Ten creative challenges provide the focus and drive the funding and developmental decisions for ACW, and for anyone seeking the financial support of ACW.  These are:

1.  Creating the right environment for the artist and the arts to flourish

2.  Being fit for Purpose

3.  Leading from the front – our National organisations

4.  Making more of our Arts buildings

5.  Wales in the world

6.  More people creating, enjoying  and taking part in the arts

7.  Nurturing young talent, lighting the spark

8.  Putting communities first

9.  Making new places

10.            Our Digital Times

Key initiatives of the Arts Council Wales include ‘Creative learning through the arts – An action plan for Wales, 2015-2020’; a joint initiative with the Welsh Government which seeks to improve attainment through creativity and increase and improve arts experiences in schools, and a 3-year agreement with the Welsh NHS Confederation to promote the arts for Welsh health and wellbeing. 


2.4.3 New Curriculum for Wales

Wales is embarking upon a major curriculum reform programme for 3-16 year olds, instigated by Professor Graham Donaldson’s Successful Futures Report (2015). The Arts and creativity feature prominently within the overarching architecture of the new curriculum:

·         There are 4 curriculum purposes – one being to nurture ‘Enterprising, creative contributors’ where there are opportunities to ‘express ideas and emotions through different media’

·         There are 6 Areas of Learning and Experience  - one being the ‘Expressive Arts’ – where opportunities will be afforded to young people to ‘ develop their creative appreciation and talent and their artistic and performance skills’ in areas which cover areas such as Art, Music, Drama, Dance, Digital Media and wider creative competencies such as improvisation.

·         Cross curriculum links to other core purposes and areas of learning will be encouraged such as design, literature and creative writing

·         Creativity and innovation feature amongst the curriculum’s wider skills and encompass generating ideas, openness and courage to explore ideas and express opinions

The new Curriculum will be available for feedback by April 2019, and will be implemented for nursery to year 7 from September 2022 onwards. 


3.         Current Position 

The previous arts strategy covered the period 2008-2013, and much has changed since then.  Most notably, the previous strategy called for a strengthened physical infrastructure of cultural facilities; The Ffwrnes has since replaced Llanelli Entertainment Centre with a £15 million investment in Llanelli, the case was successfully made for refurbishment of the Lyric, and restoration of the Dylan Thomas Writing Shed ahead of the Centenary Celebrations in 2014.  Some of the previous strategy’s themes continue to be relevant; the need for more to be done around Welsh language, the scope for collaboration, and meeting national and government priorities.  

Today, it is clear that due to the importance of wellbeing featuring in all local, regional and national strategies, (a direct impact of Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations Act on all public bodies in Wales), that there is a need for this current arts strategy to focus on, reflect, and to support a broad range of wellbeing objectives.  Some excellent examples of work in arts and wellbeing have already been developed within the arts service, such as the theatres’ programme for people affected by Dementia, but there is potential for this to be developed further over the duration of this strategy.   The arts service will need to make stronger links to internal council departments and external organisations to deliver targeted arts and health-based interventions.

The Welsh Government recently revealed its vision for one million Welsh speakers by 2050.  Nearly half of the population of Carmarthenshire speak Welsh, the largest number of Welsh speakers in Wales.   The long term vision within the Strategy to Promote the Welsh Language in Carmarthenshire 2016-2021 is to make the Welsh language the county’s main language. This presents some real opportunities for the authority to take the lead on Welsh language cultural activity.  However, it is acknowledged that there is not enough Welsh language cultural provision, particularly for the bought-in professional programme at Theatrau Sir Gâr, to sustain audience development from the theatres, and demand from audiences.  There is a need for a wider conversation around the Wales-wide provision and support for Welsh language theatre, but this provides an opportunity for the authority’s arts services to take a leading developmental role for culture and the Welsh language, and by working closer in partnership with key partners such as Theatr Genedlaethol, and other Welsh language theatre companies and artists it could make great strides ahead.

The Ffwrnes is the county’s flagship performing arts venue.  Opened in 2013, it is one of Wales’ newest and most modern theatres, and one of the nation’s best technically equipped venues. However, there still lies a challenge of developing it to its full potential.  Some of the social enterprise units for let in the Ffwrnes Fach remain un-occupied at the time of writing this strategy, and the facilities have contributed to a handful of smaller co-productions.   There are exciting opportunities for more partnerships and stronger collaborations between the Ffwrnes and key partners, and the theatres service will need to keep ahead of regional infrastructure projects, e.g. Yr Egin, to ensure it can contribute to and benefit from key cultural developments, and to take more of a leading role as a producing and social hub. 

The Lyric Theatre and the Miner’s Theatre in Ammanford however, under the shadow of the investment in the Ffwrnes, are challenged in finding ways to present a balanced and sustainable programme.  The management of these theatres transferred from local charitable trusts to the local authority in the 2000’s.  The Ammanford Miners’ Theatre Trust continues to exist, to support community and participatory arts and to raise funds to promote the theatre.  There is the potential for stronger partnership working between the arts service and the Miners’ trust, in order to sustain a balanced programme with strong local engagement.  A replication of this model could also be explored for the Lyric.

A major source of programming across all three theatres comes from the amateur sector, and Carmarthenshire is fortunate to have a wealth of community and amateur organisation and a rich history of voluntary arts.  This brings opportunities for developing audiences, against the backdrop of a challenge of balancing the programmes and of maximising income.  The theatres’ programme aims to strike the right balance between work that is popular with audiences, (and generates an income), but also by being bold and programming more challenging work which usually requires additional or external subsidy to sustain. There is room to develop the distinct programmes further and build on what’s already been achieved, but also to be proactive in addressing the gaps, and to support the sector to develop the programme that is ultimately going to sustain the theatre industry. 

The Arts Development Section has the responsibility of overseeing Arts networks within the County as well as line-managing three facilities namely The Gate, Oriel Myrddin Gallery and Dylan Thomas Boathouse.

Future developments will focus on delivering arts activities that contribute to the reduction of isolation and loneliness in rural communities and link to social prescribing. Links are being made with local surgeries in order to develop a pilot scheme that focuses on engaging with vulnerable people and groups. Support has been given over the years to Young Carers who have an Arts Break during the Summer holidays and this has always produced poignant results for children who become adults before their time. Crafts from Carmarthenshire remain a strong force – set up by the Arts Development (AD) Unit in 2006. They currently have 20 members who produce Crafts in the County and regularly exhibit and sell their artwork within Carmarthenshire and beyond. During the last year the AD section of CCC (who successfully applied for funding in 2007 for this Project) were gifted back the 9 market stalls by St Clears Town Council. These are now hired out to various groups for Arts events and attendance/footfall figures for this 2017/18 have topped 330k. Llais the umbrella body for Youth Theatres set up in 2001 was deemed no longer fit for purpose and was dissolved in November 2017 as it emerged all Companies are time poor and use their limited resources and man-power to concentrate on their own productions . Individually the Companies remain robust and there have been a number of new Youth Theatre Companies over the last few years so the future seems very bright. One of the Arts Development Unit key objectives during the course of this strategy is to resurrect the Community Arts Fund which support local groups within the Community to champion the arts in whatever genre for the benefit of all within their local Community.

The Gate, Craft Centre in St Clears looks forward to an exciting robust future. It is currently challenged in relation to its sustainability but the current team are lively, energetic, full of ideas and ready to take this facility to the next level. The artists’ studios are all currently full with a waiting list which demonstrates the need. The second floor houses the Community hub of the Library, The Town Council and Police. The conference and meeting rooms’ infrastructure was invested in recently and remains a vital source of income. The customer experience is paramount so staff training remains high on the agenda. Catering at this facility has recently been brought back in house and will be at the forefront of the development of the Carmarthenshire catering brand also providing an exciting opportunity to re-examine the space to ensure arts and craft are at the core of the facility. The Health and Wellbeing agenda and tackling isolation and befriending in a rural community will be worked into the immediate future programming. The ground floor also houses and exhibition area and retail space with emphasis on Welsh Crafts and makers as a high percentage of its offering so it is an important platform to showcase work that otherwise might not have an opportunity to come to market or public view.

Dylan Thomas Boathouse remains as popular as ever with approx. 30k visitors per year. Since the last Strategy it has hosted a Royal visit, was the Anchor leg of the Queen’s Commonwealth Baton visit as well as the Rugby World Cup. DT100 (the centenary year in 2014) saw a surge in visitor numbers and the legacy remains that footfall is strong. The Dylan Thomas mobile Writing Shed commissioned during that year remains available and will be used during the next few years as pop-up spaces for artists and writers. To look at alternative income sources we are applying for the Writing Shed to be a venue for Civil Ceremonies. In future the venue will need infrastructure investment to update the visitor experience sympathetically with technology.

Oriel Myrddin Gallery remains an Arts Council of Wales Portfolio revenue client with an exciting Capital development project in development. The scheme aims to transform the Gallery and enable it to extend the offering to a much wider client base as well as catering on the educational front for those who are less mobile as the Old School of Art building is not wholly DDA compliant. The Oriel aims to remain the main Gallery in West-Wales programming local, national and international work of standard.


4.         Vision, Mission, Values      


4.1    Vision

Our vision is of Carmarthenshire as a place where exceptional arts experiences engage and enthuse our communities and celebrate the unique and bilingual culture of our County.


4.2    Mission

    Our mission is to ensure that the arts make a positive contribution to the County’s cultural output, its prosperity, wellbeing, and sustainable development, and to make Carmarthenshire a place where people want to live, work and visit. 


4.3    Values

We believe that…

·           Attending and participating in the arts enhances the quality of life of local citizens.


·           The arts have a positive impact on the physical and mental well-being of people and the environment in which they live.


·           Quality arts practice can be used to create a healthy local economy, provide local job opportunities and contribute to where people choose to live and work.


·           The arts are a good way for local authorities to deliver key priorities, can help key services run better, and are crucial to the preventative agenda.


·           That everybody deserves to have equal access to high quality arts in the language of their choice. 

Strategic Aims & Objectives / Action plan

Strategic Priority 1:  To contribute to the Cultural Wellbeing of Carmarthenshire; where the arts help support culture, heritage and the Welsh language, and encouraging as many people as possible to participate in and attend high quality cultural experiences.


Key Aims:

a) To use the arts in supporting Carmarthenshire’s aim of leading with the Welsh language, and to be the gateway to ‘Y Fro Gymraeg’

b) To encourage and deliver cultural provision of the highest quality and of artistic excellence

c) To reach as many audiences as possible

d) To develop and support the local arts community








Increase use of Welsh throughout arts programme

To ensure programming in all Arts Facilities features the Welsh Language, and to increase the amount of Welsh language activity programmed and presented.  

% of programmed activity in Welsh language

April 2018 & ongoing

Both Theatre & Arts Development revenue budget

ACW Lottery grants.

Increase use of Welsh throughout arts programme

Theatrau Sir Gâr to take a leadership role in programming, producing or co-producing Welsh language or work made in Wales. 

Increase in % of programmed activity in Welsh language

April 2019 & ongoing

ACW Lottery grants

Officer time

Quality & Excellence

Deliver high quality participatory art sessions in a range of artforms.

Number of participants engaged

April 2018

Both Theatre and Arts Development revenue budget.

External/Internal Project funding

Quality & Excellence

Bold and high quality professional arts programmed and presented in all of the arts venues including the best national and international work

Customer Satisfaction

Increased audience frequency

Increased attendances

April 2019

APW Revenue funding

ACW lottery grants

Quality & Excellence

Maintain VAQAS accreditation in arts facilities

Accreditation maintained each year

April 2018

Arts Development revenue budget

Audience Development

Continue delivering the Night Out Scheme to support professional theatre programming in community venues.

Number of Night Out events supported

April 2018

Arts Development revenue budget

Local arts community

Develop arts facilities as cultural and social hubs and to facilitate networking and co-working opportunities for artists and arts organisations.

Footfall in CCC’s arts venues

Number of units occupied at Y Gat and Ffwrnes Fach

April 2019

Both Theatre & Arts Development budgets

Officer time

Local arts community

Supporting community and amateur organisations to access our quality arts facilities, showcase and celebrate local talent

Number of local artists and arts groups supported

April 2018

Both Theatre & Arts Development revenue budgets

Strategic Priority 2: Ensure the arts contribute to the Health & Wellbeing of Carmarthenshire, encourage people to attend and participate in creative activities to promote good physical and mental wellbeing, and to use the arts as a mechanism for delivering positive health, social, and wellbeing outputs


Key Aims:

a)    To promote and encourage widespread access and regular participation in the arts

b)    To develop arts projects which promote good physical and mental health and wellbeing

c)    To work in partnership with health and social care services to explore the importance of creativity as a tool for improved wellbeing








 Widespread access & regular participation

A wide range of participatory arts provision delivered to promote good mental and physical health

Number of audiences and participants regularly engaged in directly delivered arts activity

April 2018 & ongoing

ACW Lottery and/or Internal and External Project Funding

Promote good health and wellbeing

Deliver and support a range of events and activity targeted at promoting creativity in older age, and for the wellbeing of older people, and tackling isolation and loneliness. 

Number of Dementia friendly events/projects

April 2019 & ongoing

ACW lottery funding

External funding targeted at older people, e.g. Baring Foundation, Gwanwyn / Age Concern

Widespread access & regular participation

Promote increased equality & inclusion across all arts programmes  including Theatres service joining the HYNT scheme

Number of accessible events

Concessions schemes

Number of Hynt card-holders accessing events


October 2018

Both Theatre & Arts Development revenue budgets

Arts as a tool for improved wellbeing

. Ensure a range of targeted arts activity interventions are put in place to support the wellbeing of those who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing health problems and social isolation.

Number of participants in projects targeting arts and health interventions

April 2021

Internal social care budget

External non-arts funding  Arts Development revenue budget

Arts as a tool for improved wellbeing

To work in partnerships with health and social care services,  other internal departments within the Council to develop a framework to measure  health outputs and to advocate for the use of arts to deliver wellbeing outcomes

Arts and wellbeing evaluation framework developed

April 2022

CCC Budget

Officer time
















Strategic Priority 3: Ensure the arts contribute towards the Economic Wellbeing of Carmarthenshire, by supporting the regeneration of communities, supporting local creative and cultural industries, and making the county a more attractive place to visit, live and work.



Key Aims:

a) To be a key contributor to cultural tourism in the county and to support the tourism economy

b) To make Carmarthenshire an attractive place to visit, live and work

c) To contribute to the lifelong learning of local residents, and to promote valid and rewarding career paths in the arts and creative industries








Cultural tourism

Work in partnership with CCC’S Marketing & Tourism Departments and other partners to ensure that arts activity is featured in regional events.

Number of regional events held which include arts activity

April 2019

CCC Events Budget

Officer time

Living & working

To support initiatives for the continued professional development of artists and people working in the creative industries

No of training opportunities delivered

April 2020

ACW Lottery grants or External Lottery Funding

Living & working

To promote the venue’s creative facilities, and to attract and persuade creative individuals and organisations to be based in the county.


Number of units occupied in Ffwrnes Fach & The Gate

April 2018

Marketing budget

Officer Time

Living & working

To develop good working partnerships with Yr Egin, Y Llwyfan, Theatre Genedlaethol Cymru and regional media companies, to ensure the arts service’s contribution to the county’s cultural economy.


No of projects / events delivered in partnership

April 2020

Officer time

Lifelong learning

Develop partnerships with the education department and consortia, local schools, Coleg Sir Gar and UWTSD to link the service’s offer with formal and informal learning opportunities.

Number of formal learning opportunities delivered within or in partnership with arts service.

Arts and education implementation plan developed

Sept 2018

Officer time

Community  Development

Engaging and contributing to the anti-poverty agenda through the Arts

No of participants engaged in arts activities through anti-poverty programme

April 2019

Officer time & Anti-poverty programme funding

Community development

Support community development through the Community Arts Fund

No of events supported via Community Arts Fund

March 2019

Arts Development budget



Strategic Priority 4: To develop and sustain an efficient and effective arts service; to develop innovative ways of working, to deepen public engagement, and to value, understand and celebrate the arts, and the impact they can make to resident’s lives.


Key Aims:

a) To develop effective services, by improving working practices, working in partnership, and ensuring value for money. 

b) To ensure that arts facilities and practices are environmental sustainable.

c) To celebrate and champion the arts, and to advocate for the positive impact they create.

d) To develop efficient services, reducing costs and increasing or diversifying income where possible.








Increasing and Diversifying income

To develop robust business plans for the theatre and arts development service; identification and exploitation of commercial opportunities and increased revenue. 



Number of audiences engaged

Earned income as % of total turnover 

April 2018

Both Theatres and Arts Development Revenue budgets

Officer time

Increasing and Diversifying income

To develop robust marketing & audience development initiatives, and implement a customer relationship management (CRM) approach to engaging audiences.

Customer satisfaction

Number of new audiences engaged

Increased frequency

Earned income as % of total turnover

April 2018

Officer time

Develop strong partnerships

To develop partnerships and collaborations with other organisations and agencies, including other arts services, charitable trusts, town councils, educational establishments, and third sector organisations, by sharing resources, joint projects, and accessing external and non-arts funding.

Number of audiences and participants engaged

April 2018

Officer time

Advocacy for the arts

To develop the arts service’s performance management framework and key indicators, to capture and evidence the impact of our services

Qualitative data collected to evidence impact

April 2019

Officer time

Infrastructure development

To advocate and make applications for capital improvements to ensure sustainability and to reduce environmental impact, and explore capital improvements to develop the viability of the venues, Such as Oriel Myrddin

Reducing energy costs, increasing income, number of new participants / audiences engaged.



April 2020




CCC Capital funding , External funding from ACW                                                                          

Effective service delivery

To invest in the development of our staff and value our staff as the service’s most valuable asset, and to ensure a staffing structure that is fit for purpose. Review of theatres staffing structure.  

Staff satisfaction

Sickness days lost.

No of performance reviews conducted

April 2019

Officer time

Training budget

Effective service delivery

To exploit, utilise and embrace digital and emerging technology, to broaden access, and to deepen public engagement with the arts service.

% of people booking online

Increased visitor numbers

April 2021

External grant funding

Diversifying income

Contribute and mirror ACW strategic priorities and to make applications for arts grant funding

ACW funding as % of total turnover

April 2018

Officer time

Advocacy for the arts

Celebrate local success and excellence, and publicly showcase the richness and diversity of local culture.

Annual regional cultural events (e.g. Culture Awards, Town/Village of Culture)

March 2019

CCC Budget and inter departmental working group.

Officer time


Contribute to council’s efficiency programme.

External income as % of total turnover in order to support reduction in net budget

April 2019/20

Both Theatres & Arts Development Revenue budget.

Environmental Sustainability

Develop an arts service environmental impact action plan and adapting buildings & practices to reduce energy consumption & carbon foot-print.


Reduction in energy use and waste consumption

April 2019

Both Theatres & Arts Development Revenue budget. 

Officer time.

















6.         Key Milestones


Arts Development


Oriel Myrddin

Y Gat

Dylan Thomas Boathouse


Manage and oversee the smooth and cost effective running of  three facilities namely The  Gate St Clears, Dylan Thomas Boathouse and Oriel Myrddin Gallery


Support the development of the Town and Village of Culture and deliver the Cultural awards celebrations


Distribute monies for Cultural activity via the Community Art Fund making a case for the reintroduction of said Fund.


Support and administrate the Performing Arts activity via the ACW Night Out Scheme.


Commission arts activities aligned to various strategies and notable events.


Support and assist the development of Crafts from Carmarthenshire.


Align and work closely with strategic partners and funding bodies e.g ACW, Arts & Business, ADUK. ETC


Arts and education implementation plan developed in partnership with the education department.

At least 8 professional Welsh language theatre productions presented


Submit grant application to ACW for theatres artistic programme support


New theatres staffing structure to be implemented (with new recruitment)


Celtic Media Festival hosted in the county


Theatres part of Circus 250 Festival


Theatres joint the national Hynt scheme


Increase attendances by 7.5%

Present 6 exhibitions – 2 major international exhibitions/3 Welsh artists/1 media installation


Increased attendance by 10%


Develop and strengthen connections, collaborations and partnership with the visual arts sector in Wales


Develop ‘off-site’ programme and partnership with ‘Fusion’


Secure a funding decision on the Gallery Redevelopment

Through a programme of arts activities and exhibitions we will encourage the development of the Welsh Language.


Operate Café in house incorporating Arts activities within the space.


Apply for Brown sign to signpost The Gate off the A40 to divert traffic to the facility.


We will forge links and partnerships to promote the health & wellbeing agenda ensuring arts at the heart within the Community.


We will work on a programme to tackle isolation and befriending and submit grant applications/apply for funding to under-pin.


Maintain VAQAS accreditation.

Maintain VAQAS accreditation


Work to maintain high rating on Trip Advisor.


Align closer with The Gate as a Sister organisation by driving traffic to the facility – one action will be to park the Dylan Thomas mobile shed on a temporary basis outside the Gate for Artists to hire out on a weekly basis.


Launch the Writing Shed as a venue for Civil Ceremonies to a UK and Worldwide platform to drive income.


Arts on referral scheme researched and recommendation report drafted

Submit grant application to ACW for Research & Development grant for new Welsh language production


Submit grant application to ACW for theatres artistic programme support


At least 10 professional Welsh language theatre productions presented


Environmental action plan developed


Increase attendance by 10%


Relationships developed with UWTSD & Coleg Sir Gar

SCENARIO 1. Gallery Redevelopment delivery phase (assuming funding is in place)


Present 2 exhibitions (Jan – March, March – Jul) GALLERY CLOSED FOR REFRUBISHMENT

Redevelopment complete – RELAUNCH


SCENARIO 2. Present 6 exhibitions – 2 major international exhibitions/3 Welsh artists/1 media installation. Increased attendance by 10%


Develop and strengthen connections, collaborations and partnership with the visual arts sector in Wales

Increase substantially through occupancy rates the Conference and Meeting room facilities by ensuring quality offering and great customer service


Underpin the arts offering through grant applications to various bodies through project funding.


Look at the feasibility of setting up a Community Cinema/Film Club

Re introduce a substantial Literary events programme throughout the year with particular emphasis on Schools and Young People.


Continue to promote and establish the venue for Civil Ceremonies.


Arts on referral scheme piloted

Formal learning opportunities offered in partnership with UWTSD / Coleg Sir Gar


Submit grant application to ACW grant for Welsh language production (and national touring)


Submit grant application to ACW for community & outreach work in the Welsh language to support audience and participation development.


Friends of the Lyric Theatre established


Increase participant numbers by 10%


Feasibility study on adaptations for the Lyric to become more suitable for the presentation of drama.


At least 12 professional Welsh language theatre productions presented

SCENARIO 1. Present 7 exhibitions – 2 major international exhibitions/3 Welsh artists/2 media installation.


Increased attendance by 15%


To create relationship across Wales and international with individual artists and artist networks


To be a champion and launch-pad for emerging Welsh artists nationally and internationally


Provide workshop and learning opportunities that develops the skills and understanding of fine and applied art for all


SCENARIO 2. Present 6 exhibitions – 2 major international exhibitions/3 Welsh artists/1 media installation.


Increased attendance by 7.5%


To develop and strengthen connections, collaborations and partnership with the visual arts sector in Wales


To contribute to at least 3 national events seminars, conferences etc. to share learning and raise the profile of the arts in Wales

Look at developing and securing funding for a Rebecca Riots Festival linking both facilities with the legacy being a Heritage trail.


Work with partners across both facilities to strengthen the arts and literary offering.

Build on previous year’s events programme and aim to extend reach and inclusion with a varied programme underpinning the offering with grant funding.


100% occupancy rate in Ffwrnes Fach


Increase participant numbers by 10%


Develop bilingual participatory activity for young people (e.g. bilingual county youth theatre).


At least 14 professional Welsh language theatre productions presented


SCENARIO 1.  Present 8 exhibitions – 2 major international exhibitions/3 Welsh artists/1 media installation/2 contemporary design. Increased attendance by 15%


Engage with education and learning institutions across the region to experience learning and participatory engagement with artists, exhibitions and contemporary art

Expand the reach of learning opportunities to the community in particular young people, elderly and social deprived 


SCENARIO 2. Present 6 exhibitions – 2 major international exhibitions/3 Welsh artists/1 media installation. Increased attendance by 7.5%


To develop and strengthen connections, collaborations and partnership with the visual arts sector in Wales


To contribute to at least 3 national events seminars, conferences etc. to share learning and raise the profile of the arts in Wales

Expand the arts offering through continued partnership working

Look at applying for funding to enhance the visitor experience through the latest technology on offer.




7.0    Monitoring & Ownership


This strategy was adopted by Carmarthenshire County Council on xxxx.

The strategy will be delivered on an operational level by the Theatres Development Manager, Principle Arts Officer and the respective operational arts teams and at a strategic level by the Senior Cultural Services Manager.

It will underpin the divisional annual Leisure Services business plan.

The strategy will be monitored, reviewed, and reported on an annual basis.