A SECOND audience survey being carried out by Cardigan’s Theatr Mwldan to help it gauge community attitudes around Covid-19 comes with an increasing worry over possible job losses.

The initial survey two months ago attracted a huge response, with 874 households completing the questionnaire, representing 2,230 people and providing a wide cross-section of opinion.

“The results of that survey have been invaluable in helping us to plan our path forward, and the results have also been shared across the wider arts and culture sector in Wales, and even with UK film distributors,” said Theatr Mwldan chief executive Dilwyn Davies.

“The survey gives us a really important, realistic and current local snapshot of community feelings and opinion within our West Wales region.

“We know from the last survey results how much most of you are missing Mwldan during this continuing crisis, whether for cinema, live broadcasts, live performance or as a social space to meet friends and enjoy special experiences.

“We are determined that, when the time is right and it is safe to do so, we will once again open our doors.

Our challenge now is how best to ensure that Mwldan survives this crisis as a company, with as many jobs as possible still intact, and that is what we are most focused on right now.

“Apart from a precious community resource, we are also a business and we must take the right decisions to ensure we come out of this crisis and resume operations.”

The company has an annual turnover of around £1.3m, of which 80 per cent is earned through income from ticket sales and our other income generating activities. The remaining 20 per cent is provided by public funders, the vast majority of which comes from Arts Council of Wales.

It employs 26 people, both full-time and part-time posts, with a high proportion of younger people under the age of 40

“Over the years, we have been very successful in generating a very high ratio of earned income relative to public funding,” said Dilwyn.

“However, that entrepreneurial success is now ironically our biggest threat to survival as we have temporarily lost all of that earned income as a result of this crisis.

“We are planning for our business recovery from this crisis to take very many months, but realistically we know that this might take years. We know that we need to take the long view for recovery.

“We also know that it is highly likely that we will not be able to support all 26 jobs when we do re-open, and that it will take a longer period of recovery to get back to where we were before this crisis hit.

“We remain optimistic that we will get there in time. For now, though, we are now having to discuss the possibility of redundancies among our staff while also looking for any creative solution that might avoid this action.”

The UK Government recently announced a £59 million lifeline for the arts and culture sector in Wales. However, the details of this fund have still not yet been revealed and it is unclear if funds will be able to help Theatr Mwldan.

“Despite the fact that cinemas in England have been open since July 4, the reality is that audience numbers have been incredibly low – due in part to safety concerns and also to the lack of new cinema releases,” added Dilwyn.

“The reality is that re-opening cinemas is not economically viable at this time.

“But we are looking forward to when we can re-open, and welcome you back, and we are thinking of creative and safe ideas of how to make this possible. Until then, we will remain closed but hopeful.

“Your ongoing help and support, particularly in completing the survey, are very much appreciated. Understanding how you are feeling helps us to plan for the future of Mwldan.”

Internationally-acclaimed Ceredigion harpist Catrin Finch is among dozens of leading figures within the arts in Wales backing a call for “solid leadership” on leading the arts sector in Wales out of crisis.

In an open letter to Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, MS for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and Shadow Culture Minister Sian Gwenllian MS have warned the sector could collapse without urgent action.

The letter calls on the Welsh Government to use the £59 million “in full” and for three “concrete and urgent interventions” from the Welsh Government - including establishing and utilising an emergency taskforce made up of industry representatives; investing as part of a Covid-19 recovery plan; and providing a roadmap with a clear plan on recovery.