THE Wales Theatre Awards has come to an end amid criticism over a lack of diversity.

In a statement the organisers expressed thanks to those who had contributed to the “inclusive” national event.

The awards programme, which did not receive any public funding, had come under fire last year due to its shortlisting of a production featuring white actors in non-white roles.

After producing The Golden Dragon, Music Theatre Wales had been criticised accused of “yellowface” casting following a decision to cast white actors as Asian characters working in a Chinese takeaway.

An ‘open discussion’ was held, but the subsequent shortlisting of the opera in the Wales Theatre Awards led to an open letter criticising the decision being signed by 40 arts professionals and a boycotting of the ceremony by members of National Theatre Wales.

A statement regarding the nomination of The Golden Dragon said: “Were we to have renounced the nominations, or stayed away from the ceremony, we would have been shirking our responsibility to maintain the open discussion.

“There is no simple or immediate way to respond, other than to continue with renewed energy the work we have been doing.

“Our acknowledgement of the mistakes we made in producing The Golden Dragon is a matter of public record.”

The 2018 awards went ahead and next year’s proposed ceremony was due to take place at Blackwood Miners Institute in February. The nominations were already being considered.

However, the criticism of the lack of diversity in productions arose once more and the subsequent muted response led to those in the BAME community saying that they felt “failed”.

Director Mike Smith said: “In relation to the motives or agenda of the blogger who made an attack on the arts community in relation to the awards on an online literary website, we have no comment to make.

“Our responsibility is to protect the arts community and reviewers from any further hostility.”

The awards were launched in 2013 as the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards, and re-branded in 2015.