South East Wales

Muni Arts Centre added to 'at risk' Wales theatres list

Muni Arts Centre
Image caption Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd was converted from a church and is a listed building

Council cuts have put the Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd on an "at risk" list of 33 historic theatres in England and Wales.

It is one of five in Wales on the Theatres Trust list, including the Pier Pavilion in Colwyn Bay and Llandudno's Grand Theatre.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council says it is closing the Muni as part of £70m budget savings over four years.

The Muni Working Group is drawing up a business plan to taken on the centre.

The group is made up of people and organisations keen to see the venue continue operating, including Pontypridd Town Council, Artis Community and Cylch Cymreig.

More than 4,000 people have signed a petition calling for the arts centre to become a community-owned venue.

The working group has until 25 September to deliver its business plan.

The trust has added the Muni, opened in 1990 in a Grade II listed former Wesleyan chapel, to its at-risk register just as it has cut the list down from 48 in 2013.

It said: "The venue is a truly multi-functional studio space and its programme includes theatre, stand-up comedy, live music, dances and wedding receptions.

Image copyright Jaggery
Image caption Swansea's Palace Theatre remains on the Theatre Trust's 'at-risk' register

"A feasibility study has been commissioned to assess whether the Muni can be run by the community."

Swansea's Palace Theatre is also on the list, after the trust said it was at risk of collapse without action to save it.

The venue, which has hosted stars like Charlie Chaplin, Morecambe and Wise and Sir Anthony Hopkins' first professional appearance, has not been used since 2006.

Swansea council said "positive discussions" were ongoing with the owners of the theatre in order to save it.

"We hope the building's issues can be addressed through a partnership approach with a grant that's been offered to help fund emergency works there," a spokesperson said.

The fifth Welsh venue on the 2014 list is Conwy Civic Hall.

However, the trust has taken five Welsh venues off its at-risk register.

They are: Theatr Elli, Llanelli; Theatre Royal, Merthyr Tydfil; Pontypridd Town Hall; De Valence Pavilion, Tenby, and Corwen Pavilion.

Image copyright Gerald England
Image caption Llandudno's Grand Theatre is one of five venues in Wales on the 2014 at-risk register
Image copyright Phil Champion
Image caption Conwy Civic Hall has been closed since March 2011

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