A YEAR IN REVIEW 2018 / 2019
WE ARE WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE FIRE FOR THE IMAGINATION We are a home for the arts in Wales, and a cauldron of creativity for the nation. We kindle emerging talents with fresh, provocative and entertaining pieces of our own, rooted in Welsh culture. We fire imaginations by bringing world-class, critically acclaimed and diverse productions to Wales. And we ignite a passion for the arts in young people with life-changing learning experiences and chances to shine in the spotlight.
1.6 MILLION VISITORS THROUGH THE DOORS
442,654 AUDIENCE MEMBERS
Â£16.3 MILLION SALES
Charity number: 1060458 4
Chair of Wales Millennium Centre
I will never forget the feeling of witnessing a standing ovation from a sold-out auditorium to the cast of Tiger Bay the Musical; a production made in Wales, about Wales and starring the very best Welsh talent. This was a great moment for everyone at Wales Millennium Centre because it was a great example of our vision in action: to Inspire the Nation and Impress the World. Fresh from this success we are creating more innovative work that showcases homegrown culture and creativity. Festival of Voice 2018, our international arts festival, saw three new theatre commissions excite audiences, while Agatha Christie’s A Mirror Crack’d toured the UK and Ireland reaching 28,000 people. My roots are in the Welsh Valleys, but I am passionate about our objective to raise the aspirations of all disadvantaged young Welsh people. Too many areas of Wales suffer from
MATHEW MILSOM Managing Director
child poverty and our way of tackling this is by investing heavily into our learning and education programme which gives young people creative opportunities to improve their confidence, skills and prospects. As the national performing arts centre for Wales and a charity we work hard to ensure everyone can access our programme. We continue to invite diverse audiences to experience the shared joy of a live event, whether it’s attending a relaxed performance of a family show, taking part in a touch tour for the visually impaired or celebrating Black History Month. This review gives you a glimpse of our passion and success in delivering our ambitions. Of course, none of this would be possible without the generous support of our funders, donors, strategic and producing partners, staff, trustees and volunteers. So diolch yn fawr, from me.
GRAEME FARROW Artistic Director
As Wales Millennium Centre gets ready to turn 15 years old in November 2019, we have been reflecting on our role in Welsh national culture and embracing the privilege we have to nurture the hearts, minds and wellbeing of our nation. We aim to fire imagination in every aspect of our work. For example, bringing War Horse to Wales allowed hundreds of school children to see the very best in modern theatre and our young technical apprentices learned to rig the stage on the same production. We take as much pride in having the inimitable Patti Smith rocking out on our stage, as we do in seeing a child from the care community singing each week in a choir. Exercising the imagination improves wellbeing and exposes us all to new, exciting future possibilities. Still, we’ve been asking ourselves, as a world-leading arts centre how can we do more? We want to create life-enhancing experiences that everyone can enjoy, encourage new ideas in local artists and give the next generation the confidence needed for a positive and happy future. As our ambition burns, we feel change in the air. We hope you’ll see the foundations have been set for a bright future… 5
GIVING WALES A VOICE Our vision is not only to present the best touring productions but to become a furnace for new productions; to be the stage where stories from near and far are told with the power to fire imaginations. We want to be a platform for new voices to make themselves heard, and fuel fresh trains of thought. By making our own thought-provoking, entertaining theatre productions we celebrate Wales in all its diversity. Produced in association with Cape Town Opera, Tiger Bay the Musical told the story of Cardiffâ€™s multicultural docklands in the early 1900s. In November 2018 over 26,000 people enjoyed the musical starring John Owen Jones as the Marquess of Bute and local upcoming star Vicki Bebb as the unstoppable heroine, Rowena. The past year has seen a fresh crop of productions made in Wales, for Wales and inspired by Wales. See the full programme: wmc.org.uk/artistic-programme
Co-produced with Wiltshire Creative, our major theatrical production for 2019 was based on Agatha Christie’s classic Miss Marple murder mystery novel, The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side. This was the first time the much-loved novel had been adapted for the stage in English. We were encouraged by the Christie estate to be bold and brave with the adaptation of this rich, psychological drama. The creative team, led by playwright Rachel Wagstaff and director Melly Still, drew on the themes of perception and unconscious bias, coupled with unintentional discrimination against older people and the role of women, to bring us a Miss Marple (played by Susie Blake) like none other.
“THIS WITTILY STAGED, AND BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED PLAY SHOWS JUST HOW GOOD THE QUEEN OF CRIME CAN BE” Wales Arts Review
“I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY A ROLE LIKE THIS MY WHOLE CAREER” Susie Blake who played Miss Marple
Over 28,000 people saw one of 55 performances of the play across the four cities of Salisbury, Dublin, Cambridge and Cardiff.
THE MIRROR CRACK’D 7
“MY RECORD BABELSBERG WAS EFFECTIVELY A FESTIVAL OF VOICE COMMISSION, I COULDN’T HAVE PUT IT TOGETHER WITHOUT THEM; I WAS ABLE TO GET AN ORCHESTRA ON MY RECORD”
FESTIVAL Gruff Rhys
Festival of Voice is Cardiffâ€™s international, multi-arts festival celebrating the voice in all its form. Welcoming international and local voices through a programme of Grammy-award winning acts, one-off events, unique artistic collaborations and community participation projects, the festival features powerful and diverse voices from music and the arts.
In 2018 over 26,000 tickets were sold for the likes of Patti Smith, Billy Bragg and Angelique Kidjo as well as new work from Gruff Rhys performed with BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Other Welsh creatives featured such as Welsh National Opera, National Theatre Wales, Gareth Bonello and Gwenno, along with a rich theatre programme made locally.
OF VOICE Find out more: wmc.org.uk/festival-of-voice 9
NURTURING TALENT IN WALES Central to our role as an engine of culture in Wales, we help develop and support local artists. We give theatremakers space to explore ideas and rehearse, provide feedback on scripts and performances, connect them with industry professionals and help secure funding. This creative and producing mentoring lays the groundwork in preparing artists to make work of quality that can be performed on our stages. We create a range of in-house productions, at differing scales that support Welsh talent and encourage artists to take risks creatively. Over the past year weâ€™ve co-produced new work with Wales-based theatre companies GaggleBabble and August 012. We also supported innovative work in the Welsh language from bilingual company Neontopia and worked with Angharad Lee on The Last Five Years which combined a powerful score with BSL (British Sign Language).
We help artists like writer and performer Carys Eleri tell their story and produce their work. Carys approached us with a fresh new idea for her one-woman show about the chemistry of love and relationships. Her show Lovecraft (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff) premiered at Festival of Voice 2018 and was taken to Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the same year.
It won a Weekly Winner Award for Best Cabaret at the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2019 and was programmed as part of an international conference by the Campaign to End Loneliness. Carys is now creating a Welsh-language version of the show and will be touring across Wales in 2019 as well as returning to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival following an invitation to be part of renowned venue Underbelly’s programme.
“WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE NURTURES HARD-WORKING WELSH TALENT AND GIVES US AN INTERNATIONAL STAGE IN OUR OWN CAPITAL CITY” Carys Eleri
As a home for the arts in Wales, we present world-class, critically acclaimed touring productions, from musical theatre and comedy to dance, cabaret and more, in addition to curating and developing experiences rooted in our national culture.
SAW WAR HORSE
A PROGRAMM SAW MATILDA
Our Donald Gordon Theatre is the second largest stage in Europe and welcomes high-quality, award-winning productions fresh from the West End. Having dazzled over seven million people around the globe, War Horse was a hit with audiences as it returned to our stage in July including 50 school groups from across Wales. Wicked cast a mesmerising spell with matinee and evening performances delighting over 53,000 people. And Matilda the Musical proved hugely popular with over 80,000 people of all ages. Welsh National Opera presented a programme of outstanding quality to over 25,000 ticket buyers, including War and Peace, The Magic Flute and La Traviata. National Theatre brought their production of Macbeth while Music Theatre Wales and National Dance Company Wales performed Passion melding dance and opera.
It’s not all about the big numbers; our wider programme also reflects our diverse nation.
During the spring we launched Performances for the Curious, a seasonal programme of experimental and celebrated work from the very best in contemporary theatre and performance. This programme of comedy, cabaret, music, spoken word, scratch nights and pay what you feel evenings was held at Weston Studio and our cabaret venue Ffresh. Accessibility and diversity are at the heart of the programme; that’s why the first season saw 30% of bookers being first time attendees. Seasons welcome performers from local, bilingual and LGBTQ+ communities as well as ensuring the needs of specific groups are met through BSL interpretation, relaxed performances and audio description. Find out what’s on: wmc.org.uk/whatson
ME TO INSPIRE
PROUDLY BILINGUAL As the national performing arts centre, the Welsh language and culture are at the heart of what we do. We were honoured to host the National Eisteddfod of Wales, the biggest cultural festival in Europe. In August 2018 hundreds of performances, competitions and ceremonies took place in the Welsh language on our stages and at the free festival site just outside our doors. We welcomed over 300,000 visitors and saw regular
Eisteddfod goers, Cardiff locals and inquisitive tourists come together to celebrate our nation’s language and culture. We’re passionate about offering a highquality, bilingual experience to all of our customers, visitors and staff. Employees are offered free Welsh courses at varying levels and 60% of all staff speak some level of Welsh.
“I LOVE HELPING THE ENORMOUS VARIETY OF CUSTOMERS WE WELCOME EVERY DAY. I WANTED TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE A SERVICE IN ENGLISH AND WELSH AS I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE CAN ACCESS THE ARTS IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE” Kirsty Alexander, Customer Relations Manager who has completed the intensive Welsh course 14
Enabling artists to create new narratives and tell their story in their first language is vital to the cultural life of Wales and core to our artistic vision. Over the last year these have included Tuck by Neontopia, which opened our 2018 autumn season of Performances for the Curious. This bilingual blend of comedy and sorrow delved into the Cardiff Drag scene and the production continues to be developed by our producing team.
Festival of Voice 2018 featured a strong line-up of work by artists performing in Welsh, including a newly commissioned work by multilingual artist Gwenno, and Epilog – a show based on the remarkable Welsh-language rock-operas of the 1970s and 80s. We are also proud to support Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s New Playwrights’ Group. This training programme for new or emerging playwrights seeks to nurture future talent in Welsh-language theatre writing, enabling new and diverse voices to flourish.
Our mission is to broaden horizons and offer every young person in Wales access to the arts. We believe culture has the power to raise the aspirations of those who have had a tougher life than most and create life-enhancing experiences. Wales has over 75,000 children living in material deprivation and low income households, with an education gap that is rapidly growing. Therefore, we focus our work on the communities that face challenges. Our interventions help to unlock potential and change the course of young lives, encouraging self-belief and a positive outlook. We do this through creating digital learning experiences, practical skills workshops and courses, partnering with nationwide youth-led festivals and giving young people the opportunity to take part in world-class theatre productions.
UP LIVES Find out more: wmc.org.uk/learning 17
PUMPING UP THE VOLUME Radio Platfform is our youth-led radio station and training programme that gives those aged 14-25 years a platform to build their confidence, find their voice and express themselves. The radio station is operated by and for young people including everything from the producing and presenting of live shows to the marketing of the station. The bilingual, six-week, accredited course is delivered in partnership with Promo Cymru. Due to a successful fundraising campaign In November 2018, we were able to take Radio Platfform training courses to specific marginalised groups in the community. Thank you to all our supporters for donations towards this project.
Listen in: wmc.org.uk/radioplatfform
“THE STUDIO IS A POSITIVE PLACE,WHERE IMAGINATION IS ENCOURAGED AND FRIENDSHIPS LIKE FAMILY CAN FORM” Asha
Asha has gained confidence, friends and employment from taking part in our youth-led radio station and now works part-time at the station as Head of Music.
INTO THE VALLEYS For the last two years we’ve been working with the Rhondda-based charity, Valleys Kids, who share our belief that all young people should have a positive and creative future. With the very generous support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Together Stronger programme has been able to nurture young people throughout the Rhondda with activities, events and taster sessions; from radio broadcast training to theatre workshops.
“YOUNG PEOPLE MIGHT NOT EVEN WANT A CAREER IN THE ARTS BUT IT’S MORE ABOUT THEM DEVELOPING SOCIALLY, MAKING FRIENDS AND HAVING FUN” Youth worker, Valleys Kids
CASE STUDY: JENNY As a learning-disabled young person, Jenny has faced many challenges throughout her life and always struggled to engage in the arts, particularly with new experiences which often made her withdrawn and shy.
Upon taking part in the Together Stronger circus skills workshop at her local youth club, Jenny received encouragement and vital one-to-one time from youth workers which helped her gain confidence, leading to her singing and performing in front of her peers.
“TOGETHER STRONGER HAS ENABLED JENNY TO CHALLENGE HERSELF TO TRY NEW THINGS AND DISCOVER THAT THE ARTS CAN BE SOMETHING FOR HER” Claire Hathway, youth arts development worker
“I LEARNT SO MUCH; APPLYING FOR THE APPRENTICESHIP WAS THE BEST DECISION I MADE TO HELP FURTHER MY CAREER IN THE WORLD OF TECHNICAL THEATRE” Rowan recently left us to join the crew of War Horse as a Swing Technician
LEARNING THE ROPES Our technical apprenticeships give young people the chance to learn technical production skills and prepare them for their first job in the theatre or live events industry. Graduates receive a Level 3 apprenticeship accredited by Cardiff and the Vale College and a Bronze Award from the Association of British Theatre Technicians. Many have secured great positions in well-known venues and production companies such as Torch Theatre and Mainhouse Repertoire.
“I CAN’T THANK THE STAFF AND TECHNICAL CREW IN WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE ENOUGH FOR GETTING ME STARTED IN THE THEATRE INDUSTRY’” Lewys graduated in 2018 and now works for Carmarthenshire Theatres
In partnership with The Wallich and Theatre Versus Oppression, Behind the Label works with adults who have experienced misfortunes such as homelessness, trauma, addiction and mental health problems. The programme gives people living on the fringes of society a voice and aims to show that there is more to them than the labels they are given. Over four months the group learned a range of skills enabling them to create, produce and promote their own theatre production from scratch which they performed over two nights.
REACHING THE FRINGES “EVERYBODY NEEDS A HOBBY, NOT A HABIT. MY CREATIVITY AND ART HELPED ME KICK THE HABIT INTO A HOBBY” Heidi, 2016 participant and 2018 peer mentor
“I’VE LEARNED NEW SKILLS, MADE NEW FRIENDS AND BECOME A LOT MORE CONFIDENT AS WELL AS LEARNING ABOUT LIGHTING AND SOUND” Tony, 2018 participant
SING PROUD CYMRU
Sing Proud Cymru is a collaboration with Voices From Care Cymru that aims to give children, young people and families from the care-experienced community an opportunity to express themselves through song. This intergenerational choir brings together young people and those who support them, including support workers, foster families and care leavers.
“THE CHOIR IS A WONDERFUL DISTRACTION AND A GREAT LEARNING TOOL TO GET EVERYBODY TO DO SOMETHING NEW. IT GIVES PEOPLE WITH CARE EXPERIENCE A CHANCE TO MEET OTHER PEOPLE WHO’VE BEEN IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS TO THEM” Ruth Morris, choir leader
IN THE LIMELIGHT We run a series of projects aimed at developing young people’s life skills and wellbeing through performance arts workshops aimed at 11-16 year olds. Mentored by industry professionals, participants work towards putting on a show of their own. In 2018 we partnered with the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of their
Champion School Project. Young people devised their own 45-minute version of Matilda the Musical, working with a variety of practitioners to develop new disciplines such as circus, singing and prop making. Local primary and secondary school children were also supported by us to devise their own take on the musical.
“I’VE REALLY ENJOYED MEETING NEW PEOPLE, IMPROVING MY CONFIDENCE AND HELPING ME ACHIEVE MY GOAL IN GCSE DRAMA” Holly, aged 16 23
Our access programme creates opportunities for people from all walks of life to experience and enjoy live theatre and entertainment. We programme scratch nights hosted by Disability Arts Cymru, work by the British Paraorchestra and Hijinx, a resident theatre company specialising in casting actors with or without disabilities. We presented several family shows aimed at young children and those with severe learning disabilities. We also hosted a nationwide Deaf
We work hard to ensure our tickets are affordable or free for those who need it most. Last year we gave free or subsidised tickets to around 1,000 community groups and individuals, and 6,500 school children and teachers came to see a show on one of our stages with a discounted ticket. Opening up the building for all to use is an important way for us to attract new audiences and break down barriers. Many who live near the building have never been to see a theatre show, so we
ARTS FOR E Youth Arts Festival with Cardiff Deaf Centre that welcomed children from across Wales.
We are pioneering in our work with disabled artists and want to represent diversity on our stages from working with visual impaired performers as part of Gagglebabbleâ€™s Double Vision to a BSL integrated version of The Last Five Years. Not only do we ensure the programme is inclusive and represents the diversity of our nation, but we offer relaxed and assisted performances whenever possible. In autumn 2018 all productions in the Weston Studio were made accessible through relaxed or assisted performances, BSL interpretation and captioning. Recognising the success of this position in widening opportunities and horizons, we hope, with your generosity, to continue this is in the coming years.
make sure they can use our building in a way that helps them most; giving free rooms that host community groups, welcoming forums and celebrations such as Diwali and Black History Month. Our ambassadors programme helps reach new audiences while our Community Network is developing our new Community Strategy which will launch in 2020. Through around 130 sessions, engaging with over 7,000 participants, our family programme costs around ÂŁ50,000 a year
to deliver a vibrant free programme of activities for families and young people; most Saturdays throughout the year we run craft workshops for the whole family, while Toddler Time is a monthly favourite for new mums, dads and babies. During school holidays we create large-scale ambitious art projects that take over the entire ground floor.
More on our access programme: wmc.org.uk/access
We are extremely proud that our 7.5-acre campus is home to eight other cultural organisations; all of which contribute greatly to the vibrancy, accessibility and artistic impact of the building. Our site employs over 1,000 people across all organisations.
Welsh National Opera creates worldclass productions and believes in the power of opera to transform lives. As a national company with international status, WNO sit at the heart of musicmaking in Wales.
For 90 years BBC National Orchestra of Wales has played an integral part in the cultural landscape of Wales, occupying a distinctive role as both broadcast and national symphony orchestra.
TĹˇ Cerdd is a charity which promotes and celebrates the development of Welsh music though its in-house recording studio, record label and publishing imprint.
National Dance Company Wales (NDCW) creates extraordinary and inclusive dance which engages and resonates with audiences everywhere.
RAL CAMPUS Hijinx is a professional theatre company making provocative, contemporary theatre that tours the world and always casts actors with learning disabilities.
Urdd Gobaith Cymru is one of Europeâ€™s largest youth organisations. It provides cultural and sporting activity for 53,000 young people in Wales aged between 8 and 25 years old.
Working collaboratively, bilingually, and in a wide range of communities, Literature Wales ensures that literature is a voice for all and manages national awards for Wales Book of the Year and the National Poet of Wales.
Touch Trust provides creative, touchbased art of movement and dance programmes for individuals affected by autism, behaviour that challenges and profound and multiple disabilities. 27
Created in 2017, our volunteer scheme now has around 200 passionate people working with us to deliver a unique and uplifting visitor experience. Our volunteers deal with frontof-house queries, show people to their seats, keep everyone safe and raise awareness about our learning projects and membership offers.
A HELPING HAND “IT’S A GREAT OPPORTUNITY, EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A MASSIVE INTEREST IN THE ARTS. YOU GAIN SO MUCH FROM DOING IT AND IT LOOKS GREAT ON YOUR CV TOO” Morgan Ward, aged 17 28
Last year we were very grateful to receive a generous grant of ÂŁ3.4m (16% of income) from the Arts Council of Wales to maintain and run our iconic building, present our diverse programme of work and contribute to our other activities. As a charity and a social enterprise we also reinvest the profits that we make from ticket sales (64% of income) and our commercial activities such as food and beverage sales, merchandise plus sponsorship and membership (21% of income). A heartfelt thanks in particular to our individual donors, trusts and foundations and corporate sponsors who help us to make a difference to the young people of
Wales or help us to expand our outreach programmes and charitable work. In 2018, partly thanks to their generosity, we were able to invest ÂŁ1.3m in making new artistic work in Wales and ÂŁ0.5m in our learning programme. Thank you for being part of our vision to Inspire our Nation and Impress the World. There are a number of ways to support our life-enhancing work; you can volunteer with us, join our membership scheme or become a valued part of our world-class organisation by giving us a gift. Help us light up lives wmc.org.uk/join-and-give
THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS PRINCIPAL PARTNER
WE COULDNâ€™T DO IT WITHOUT
Sir Donald Gordon
Arts & Business Cymru David Morgan Peter & Babs Thomas David Seligman OBE in memory of Philippa Seligman
LIFE PRESIDENT The Lord Rowe-Beddoe DL
CHAIR’S CIRCLE Dr Carol Bell Lady Mary Clancy Sir David Davies Dame Vivien Duffield DBE Diane Briere de l’Isle-Engelhardt OBE Henry Engelhardt CBE Dyfrig & Heather John Alan & Maggie Peterson Sir David Prosser The Lord and Lady Rowe-Beddoe Mr Peter & Mrs Janet Swinburn
TRUSTS AND FOUNDATION Arts Council Wales The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation The National Lottery Community Fund Clive & Sylvia Richards Charity Ernest Cook Trust Garfield Weston Foundation Moondance Foundation’ Paul Hamlyn Foundation PRS Foundation Ymddiried: Welsh Broadcasting Trust Community Foundation in Wales Ashley Family Foundation Anthem, Music Fund Wales Tŷ Cerdd The Simon Gibson Charitable Trust The Mary Homfray Charitable Trust The Dyfrig & Heather John Charitable Trust The Steel Charitable Trust The Oakdale Trust The Hobson Charity Limited The Derek Hill Foundation The Sylvia Waddilove Foundation UK The Waterloo Foundation The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales Wales Arts International WCVA Welsh Government
PRODUCERS’ ROW Stage Entertainment
PLATINUM MEMBERS Raj Kumar Aggarwal OBE, DL Ms Ayesha Al-Sabah Mr Geraint Anderson Mrs Diana Andrews Dean Barnard Dr Carol Bell Mary & David Beynon Andrea & John Bryant Bob Clark Paul Clark Mr Robert Cross Mrs Janet Davies Mr & Mr J Davies-Burrell Mr Christian Du Cann Mr P Ellis & Mrs V Wood Mrs Sigi Evans Russell Harris Q.C. & Mrs Nicola Harris Andy & Jackie Ismail Mr & Mrs Granville & Sheila John Mr & Mrs William R Jones Mr Hopkin Joseph Mrs Francesca Kitchen Dr Phillip Lane Professor Michael Levi Dr & Mrs Richard Logan Mr Peter Mathias Mr & Mrs Michael McGrane George & Alison Menzies Dr M L Nussbaum Dr Darren Owakee Mathew & Lucy Prichard Dame Anne Pringle & Mr Bleddyn Phillips Julienne Damaris Rowlands Mr David Stevens CBE & Mrs Heather Stevens CBE Claire and Simon Wyatt 3 Anonymous Thank you also to our Gold and Promise Members and other donors for their support. 31