A CAMPAIGN to save a schools theatre company from closure was boosted by the launch of a short film and series of adverts on the internet today.

Twenty film students from the International Film School at the University of Newport lent their support to the Abergavenny-based Gwent Theatre by making a film which can be viewed on You Tube.

It follows the Arts Council of Wales' decision to withdraw its £250,000 funding from March. Gwent Theatre takes theatre productions and workshops to 22,000 children and young people in Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Newport, Monmouthshire and Torfaen.

Filming took place on location in Abergavenny and Ebbw Vale last week and features an interview with BBC Torchwood star and former member Gareth David-Lloyd.

In the advert Mr David-Lloyd is seen dreaming of fighting aliens-a dream that became a reality in Torchwood.

He said: "Gwent Theatre works with 20,000 youngsters a year and is a cultural life-line for many of the areas they serve. Coming from Newport I know how much the area needs them. They take plays into sports halls, community centres and schools all over South East Wales. They're an inspiration and irreplaceable."

The film's producer, Peter Watkins-Hughes said: "Gwent Theatre has an illustrious record of producing fine young actors and supporting the creative arts in Wales. It's a jewel in our cultural crown," said Mr Watkins-Hughes.

"To take something so valuable to our community is being reckless with out history and our creative culture."

"We hope this film project will be another little brick in the wall to save Gwent Theatre."

Gary Meredith, artistic director at Gwent Theatre said the support the company has received and strength of feeling has been phenomenal."

Visit You Tube and enter Save Gwent Theatre to view the film.

MORE than 2,000 people have signed a petition to-date to save Gwent Theatre. Members of the theatre's education service Gwent Young People's Theatre have collected signatures in Monmouth, Abergavenny and Ebbw Vale, together with 1,000 letters which will be sent to the Welsh Assembly headquarters. An on-line petition has so far collected 600 names.

Gregg Taylor, chairman of Gwent Theatre, said: "Members took this initiative themselves and the public response has been tremendous."