Open letter to Cardiff artists.
Gutted to discover, yesterday, that The Gower pub in Gwennyth Street is to be sold, and is no longer taking booking for it's FREE TO HIRE rehearsal space in the room above.
A very sad day for me, having rehearsed there with The Howardians, Inky Quill Productions, The Ghost Room, Shudders Theatre and most recently George Infini Productions over the last 7 years.
It was a haven, an oasis, a room of liberty (provided you didn't make too many screaming noises), and it cost nothing but the price of the obligatory drinks for the cast. Of-course, the reason it is being sold is because the income was too low. This leads me to mixed feelings: guilt for having never paid to use the room (although no charge was ever requested) and also the hard fact: if they had charged, I never would have afforded to rehearse there with any of these zero-budget theatre companies. At least buying drinks was the little we could give.
So, it brings me to the question: Where in Cardiff can a zero-budget theatre company go to rehearse? - every one of us a serious and dedicated artist, who is making their art against all odds, with no pay for it, but a compulsion too strong to throw by the wayside.
Could it be that our theatres can find a way to offer one space, at no charge, openly and publicly and measure time so it is spread fairly across all comers: a utopian ideal? (If you do, and I'm unaware, and your read this, please holler back).
Could they perhaps agree, by way of long term investment, to allow the use of charge-free space based on a percentage of future income. Surely there is a decent sized cupboard in every one of these vast buildings. Clear out the stationary, let the artist reside on the broadest shelf, for a two hour slot and maybe one day he'll be bringing in the crowds for you.
I would love to hear from everyone who feels these issues are relevant to them, where in Cardiff can we rehearse for free? (particularly if none of your team live there).
PS. I need a space for Monday.