IT IS “highly unlikely” theatregoers will be able to attend performances before the end of the year, according to one theatre manager.

Like many theatres around Wales, the teams at The Congress Theatre and Blaenavon Workmen’s Hall are still in the dark about how the UK government’s announcement of a £1.57-billion emergency support package to help protect the future of theatres, galleries and museums – £59 million of which has been allocated to Wales – will be spent.

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At a press conference on Monday, first minister Mark Drakeford refused to be drawn on when this announcement would be made.

“We will do things the way we have tried to do things in Wales throughout,” he said. “We will consult with those people who work in that sector, we will work with the Arts Council of Wales, we will make a plan and then we will publish what we are going to do.

“The industry is engaged with us in those conversations, that’s why we are taking the time that is necessary in order to make sure that we make the best use of whatever money we are able to provide for them, and that we do it in a way that has taken that industry with us in that decision-making.

“It’s not a matter of the Welsh Government simply making an announcement and the sector hearing all about it.

“In Wales we talk with the sector and then when we make the announcement the sector is well prepared for what it is we are able to provide.

“If it takes a few days, it takes a few days, and that is time well spent.”

But with no sign of an announcement in Wales more than a week after the support package was announced, the industry has been left in the dark.

“We are all still waiting to find out how the further money will be allocated or what the application process will be,” said Congress Theatre manager Martyn Redwood.

“Currently most staff at the theatre are still on furlough apart from myself and another who are working part time for now.

“We have set up our virtual studio where we are live streaming a few bands on our Facebook and YouTube channel.

“It will be highly unlikely that we will be open for an audience this year.

“Once we are given the green light to re-open, we can do within a few weeks, but it will be if an audience has the confidence to attend or not.”

In Blaenavon, the Workmen’s Hall will remain closed to the public until at least the end of the year, and potentially into 2021.

A statement on the Workmen’s Hall Facebook page read: “We have been successful in gaining funding to cover a substantial amount of work to make our beloved building safe and upgrade some of the areas that badly need some TLC.

“This work will take some months, and the Board of the Hall has decided to keep the building closed to negate any health and safety risk to the public as it is carried out.

“This will certainly take us to the later months of this year, and potentially into 2021.”

The Workmen’s Hall board met on Tuesday afternoon to further discuss the improvements and information they had received from the council.

Blaenavon’s Big Pit will re-open from Tuesday, September 1.

“We are working hard to ensure all national museums will be safe spaces for staff, volunteers and visitors when the time comes,” said a National Museum Wales spokeswoman.

“Over the last few weeks, we have been reviewing how we can best support our communities through these challenging times, remotely and when we are able to re-open our museums.

“As a charity, Amgueddfa Cymru’s financial stability is a priority. We are currently losing around £400,000 of income per month we are closed to the public and even when we re-open our museums, we will not be able to recover these losses fully on site due to the current guidelines of social distancing.

“We have therefore actively identified other options to protect the organisation, furloughing more than 40 per cent of our staff through the Government’s Job Retention Scheme and working with our funders to identify other sources of income.”

Torfaen Museum also set an opening date – August 11 – and the reception reopened yesterday to help with inquiries.