Cwmbran's Congress Theatre makes £100k appeal
10:01am Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
APPEAL: Assistant manager of the Congress Theatre, Cwmbran Town Centre, Richard Williams. He is trying to raise £100k for refurbishments.
A CWMBRAN theatre is embarking on a fundraising drive to raise £100,000 for its first major refurbishment since it opened in the 1970s.
The Congress Theatre was built in 1972 and its manager of nine years, Martyn Redwood, explained that a project to revamp the auditorium, foyer, toilets and lounge will be the biggest that it has ever undertaken.
The theatre, which currently has 78 volunteers, had running costs last year of £160,000, and the refurbishment payment will have to be raised on top of this.
Its regular stage groups include the Cwmbran Woodland Players and the Congress Youth Theatre, as well as numerous dance schools.
The Congress Theatre was originally built as a conference centre, but it soon evolved into a central entertainment attraction.
It prospered until the mid-eighties, when local government cutbacks began to take their toll resulting in a reduction of staff, difficulties with budget control and maintaining an affordable programme.
The culmination of this was the withdrawal of support by the local council, just 23 years after opening.
But it was saved by the community, when a trust took control in 1992 to run the theatre for local community groups.
Mr Redwood said: “The Congress Theatre today is considered to be doing well, its main source of income being theatre hires, both amateur and professional which together with daytime business and private functions means that the theatre is kept fairly busy.”
Performers on the theatre's stage include Jim Davidson, Max Boyce, psychic Colin Fry and Owen Money.
The most expensive part of the refurbishment will be the new seating that will cost £67,600.
The auditorium consists of 312 seats where 134 seats are capable of being pushed back.
Deputy manager, Richard Williams, explained: “Its takes two men half an hour to push the seats away so that the space can be used, so the new seating would mechanically move into place making the space easier to access.”
The Foyer works will costs £7,800 for new lighting, decoration, carpet, seating and a display stand.
The toilet refurbishment will cost 12,800 for new cubicles, windows, flooring, lighting and hand dryers.
While new carpet, lighting, tables, chairs and decoration for the lounge and bar will cost £16,800.
Barclays Bank has already donated the first £500 to the fund and pledged to send some of its staff to help during the refurbishment.
To donate call Richard Williams or Martyn Redwood on 01633 868239.
You can donate by text: Choose the amount you want to give and text CONG33 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 for example (just change the figure to alter the amount you give).
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