Community urged to fundraise for Cwmbran theatre

South Wales Argus: Congress Theatre, Cwmbran Town Centre, where assistant manager, Richard Williams, pictured, is trying to raise £100k for refurbishments Congress Theatre, Cwmbran Town Centre, where assistant manager, Richard Williams, pictured, is trying to raise £100k for refurbishments

CWMBRAN councillors are backing the Congress Theatre’s plan for a £100,000 refurbishment - and ask the community to support it.

We revealed the theatre's appeal for help yesterday with an interview with assistant manager Richard Williams - this would be the first major refurbishment for the theatre since it opened in 1972.

The theatre has an annual running cost of £160,000, which is raised by volunteers, and the refurbishment payment will be on top of this.

The chairman of Cwmbran Community Council, Cllr Bill Walker, said: “It’s a very popular venue for those living in Cwmbran and further afield who want to enjoy shows.

“I hope that the community get on board and support them in fundraising.”

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.

But over the years the mechanism has worn and it now takes two men, half an hour to move the seating back, so the new seating will be mechanically moveable.

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.

The venue’s regular stage groups include the Cwmbran Woodland Players and the Congress Youth Theatre, as well as numerous dance schools.

Performers on its stage include Jim Davidson, Max Boyce, psychic Colin Fry and Owen Money.

Cwmbran councillor, Tom Matthews, who is on the board of the Congress Theatre, said: “We hope to raise what we can and the seats are a priority as we endeavour to keep building on the theatre’s existing success.

“It’s important for Cwmbran to retain the theatre as it’s the only place for people of all ages to socialise by watching a show or taking classes in acting and dancing.”

A trust took control of the venue in 1992 to run the theatre for local community groups.

Its main source of income is theatre hires and business and private functions and it is hoped that the refurbishment will increase profits further by making the space more versatile.

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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