A THEATRE company has said it is “bitterly disappointed” with Penarth Town Council after cutting short a three-year project at the Paget Rooms in a dispute over money.

Rainbow Valley Productions tour Wales, taking a variety of pantomimes and plays to various cities, towns and villages. They say they have been working with the Paget Rooms in Penarth after a successful run of Jack and the Beanstalk – starring Owen Money – took place at the beginning of this year.

However, after setting up a three year plan to appear at the Paget Rooms, managing director of Rainbow Valley Productions Jamie Edwards said they have had to pull out after Penarth town councillors demanded a higher cut of the box office split.

Mr Edwards said the group provide their own equipment and financed most of the set, and although they did not make as much money as they had planned, they wanted to continue with the three year project.

The company previously split their box office 80 per cent to 20 per cent with the council, but Mr Edwards said the council decided to revise this and call for a 40 per cent cut of the box office takings.

The managing director said that this split was “just not feasible”, which is why Rainbow Valley have had to pull out.

He said: “We are bitterly disappointed that after a huge amount of work, investment and success on this year’s panto (bringing a professional pantomime back to the Paget Rooms with no financial assistance), and then subsequently including Penarth in next year’s tour; that a committee made up of and chaired by local councillors has decided that Penarth Town Council want a larger financial result which is not physically possible.

“Thus us having to cancel this venue in our tour, and our hard work and dedication on what we were led to believe was a three year running project has been wasted and from the feedback from local people, businesses and visitors to our shows, others will also be disappointed.”

Welsh comedian Owen Money, who had a big role in setting up the project, said he was also frustrated by the situation.

“The councillors don’t seem to realise the cost of all this work,” he said.

“It can cost around £15,000 to set up. The town council wanted 40 per cent of what we would be taking.

“I made the decision to pull the venue which is a shame because the Paget Room staff are all wonderful and lovely. They are as gutted as we are about this.”

The tour will still continue and Rainbow Valley Productions said they may put on their pantomimes in another venue, but they are still frustrated by this outcome.

In response, a spokesman from Penarth Town Council said: “Penarth Town Council looked forward to programming Rainbow Valley’s Pantomime again in 2019 and had requested a negotiation of the box office split for a potential week of pantomime performances next January which would reflect the resources and commitment of council staff in promoting the event and to ensure the council and people of Penarth benefit from the commercial use of a town asset.

“Disappointingly, Rainbow Valley Productions chose to withdraw rather than enter into discussions regarding contractual arrangements.

“Penarth Town Council remains committed to facilitating vibrant events in the town, making best use of public resources, and we look forward to this weekend’s Summer Festival events.”