FLINTSHIRE’S Theatr Clywd is the best in Wales, councillors have been told.

Liam Evans-Ford, an executive director at Theatr Clwyd in Mold, made the claim while presenting the regional art centre’s latest business plan to Flintshire Council cabinet members.

He told councillors: “Nobody in Cardiff, and nobody in South Wales, is as good as what we have got here in North East Wales.”

Theatr Clwyd, which received a council contribution of £697,000, produced a turnover of more than £6 million last year.

The Theatr Clwyd Trust investigates its value to the economy in partnership with ARAD Research.

An economic impact report, based on Theatr Clwyd’s £5m turnover from the year before, found £7.4m per year is generated in the North East Wales economy thanks to the arts centre.

Speaking at Flintshire Council’s cabinet meeting, Mr Evans-Ford said: “For every pound that we get in our funding from Flintshire County Council, we generate £6.91 internally, which is a pretty good return on investment, and another £10.20 is generated externally in the economy of North East Wales each year.

“ARAD Research looked at a turnover of £5 million, which is what it was the previous year –we’re actually above £6 million turnover now. So we’ve made some huge gains, and there’s lots of reasons for that, not least taking on the music services,” he added.

“There are some brilliant theatres in North Wales, but none of them is an exporter as we are. We make the theatre.

“We have the construction teams, the welders, the woodworkers, the people who make costumes by hand, and then we send it out to the rest of the world – unlike Venue Cymru (Llandudno), for example, which receives it in from London.”

Theatr Clwyd has now set its sights on becoming independent of council funding at some point in the future, with Mr Evans-Ford wanting the arts centre to first become even more efficient.

Colin Everett, chief executive of Flintshire Council and a Theatr Clwyd governor, said: “We are exploring Theatr Clwyd becoming completely independent – but still close to us – through an Arts Council study.

“A number of councillors favour that option, but there’s work to be done.

“We’re confident that the model in two or three years could look very different, and maybe less resource demanding of ourselves.”